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Apple Unleashed October 2021 event: what we expect to see

MacBook Pro at an angle under a light
(Image credit: Shutterstock - Nanain)

The next Apple event – titled Unleashed! – is about to kick off, and that means we're about to learn what the manufacturer has in store for fans of its Macbooks, iPhones, iPads, Apple headphones and more.

The Unleashed! event goes live at 10am PDT / 6pm BST on October 18 – or 4am October 19 ACT. To keep up to date with what's announced, you can check out our Apple event live blog for moment-by-moment commentary.

With the event pretty imminent, we're mulling over our prior predictions, ongoing rumors, and scattered hopes for the Apple event – which usually holds a number of surprises for those watching.

Below you'll find a run-down of what we expect for the upcoming Apple showcase, along with our explanation of why these devices are likely to make an appearance.

MacBook Pros with M1X chip 

The one device that we definitely expect at Apple’s Unleashed! event is a brand new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021). The larger MacBook Pro is one of the few devices to not yet receive a refresh over the past year, and multiple rumors have indicated that’s about to change.

In addition, we’re expecting a MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) to be shown off too with many of the same specs as its 16-inch sibling. Not only are the new MacBook Pros for 2021 expected to be larger than last year’s MacBook Pro 13-inch, but both are all but guaranteed to use the long-awaited M1X chip.

Apple’s M1 SoC is a powerful tool that has helped to ensure its latest tech – such as the MacBook Pro (2020), iMac (2021) and iPad Pro (2021) – are the best devices in the brand’s arsenal.

Rumors for the M1X indicate the follow-up hardware will release with 10 CPU cores and either 16 or 32 GPU cores depending on the variation you choose. For comparison, the M1 only uses 8 cores for its CPU and a further 8 for its GPU, so if the rumors are true the M1X will be an even better tool for designers and those in graphics-intensive professions.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) was recently voted the best laptop for creatives at the TechRadar Choice Awards 2021, so the prospect that the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) will usurp it gives us more than enough reason to tune into the event.

Rumors of a notch camera on the new Macbook Pro? Perhaps less so – though it would certainly shake things up.

Apple Mac mini (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Future)

Mac mini with M1X chip 

Fans of Apple’s computers may be in for another treat during Unleashed! as we expect the company will unveil a new M1X-powered Mac mini too. 

When the brand launched the MacBook Pro 13-inch with the M1 chip last year it also announced a new Mac mini (M1, 202), so we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if the company did the same this year.

However, we will admit that we’re less confident about this than the M1X MacBook Pros. For one, we haven’t seen anywhere near as many Mac mini rumors as we have for the two rumored MacBook Pros – a sign that details may not yet be as certain and it’s further from release. 

Additionally, global shortages for silicon chips have had a huge impact on manufacturing new tech – especially in the computing sector. It’s very likely that Apple might want to postpone its Mac mini-plans until next year so it can better meet demands for its new MacBook Pro. We’ll have to wait until the event. to know for sure though.

AirPods 2

(Image credit: Apple)

AirPods 3 

Finally, if you’re not bothered by Apple’s computers you might still want to tune in to see the company unveil the next generation of its wireless earbuds: the Apple AirPods 3.

While we haven’t heard too many AirPods 3 rumors, there’s still a fair amount of evidence to suggest a new entry in the AirPods line is coming soon.

The biggest factor is Apple’s Spatial Audio feature. Apple’s immersive sound technology helps create a 360-degree soundscape for you to be immersed in while you listen to your favorite music, films, and TV. However it’s not supported by the last generation of AirPods – it’s only available on the AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds and AirPods Max over-ear headphones.

It would make sense if Apple finally released a pair of basic AirPods that could take advantage of its best audio tech.

Adding further fuel to the fire are the discounts we’ve recently seen on Apple’s current AirPods; the two-year-old earbuds could be being sold off before the AirPods 3 replace them.

Once again we can’t say for certain that the AirPods 3 will show up on Apple’s stage, but we’d be more than a little surprised if they didn’t make an appearance.

Hamish Hector

Hamish is a Staff Writer for TechRadar, having previously written for the site and Gfinity Esports as a freelance writer. He has been writing about tech and gaming for multiple years, and now lends his experience to cover news and reviews across everything on TechRadar (from Computing to Audio to Gaming and the rest). In his free time, you’ll likely find Hamish humming show tunes while building Lego or playing D&D with his mates.