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What I’m expecting at today’s Apple event

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Apple will hold its “We’ve got a little more to show you” media event today at 10 am (Pacific). Rumors have been swirling about what Apple will announce. Here’s what my crystal ball foresees:

° An iPad mini (d-uh!). The only shock will be if Apple doesn’t announce a smaller tablet between 7-8 inches (7.85 inches is the most likely size). I foresee a device with 1024 x 768 resolution (the same as the iPad 2) with a 4-to-3 aspect ratio but no no Retina display. I think the iPad mini will come in 8GB and 16GB versions for US$250 and $299, respectively. (Though I’m note sure how practical an 8GB device is these days, cloud storage or not.)

° A 13-inch Retina display MacBook Pro. The 15-inch model has been a big hit despite its considerable price tag, so a smaller, less expensive (though still pricey) version is a given. It will be a smaller version of its big brother with a resolution of 2560x 1600. I foresee pricing starting at US$1,499 for a system with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage.

° New iMacs. I think the rumors are correct in that the new iMac — available in, as now, 21-5-inch and 27-inch versions — will sport a redesigned frame with a thinner profile (and no built-in optical drive). It will add Ivy Bridge processors, USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and beefier graphics. I don’t think it will sport a Retina display. I hope I’m wrong on this and that Apple will offer at least one “high end” model with such a screen.

° New Mac minis. Apple’s smallest desktop will be updated with Ivy Bridge processors and USB 3.0 ports. Otherwise, the configurations and pricing will be pretty much the same with two standard configurations and a third that runs Mac OS X Server.

Normally, I wouldn’t expect Apple to mix iPad and mini announcements. However, it’s already past mid-October and the holiday season is looming. If Apple is going to announce and roll out these products, it’s going to have to do it ASAP.

Of course, Apple could tout the iPad mini at the event and just announce the new Macs via a press release. However, all the products in my forecast fi the “little more” category, so I think Apple will uncharacteristically mix iOS and OS X product announcements.

Come back at 10 am (Pacific) and see if I’m right.

— Dennis Sellers

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