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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Here comes the new iPad and MacBook Pro: What to expect from Apple's New York launch

Apple will try to pull laptops and tablets out from under iPhone's shadow

Outside the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, where Apple will unveil  its latest Mac computers and iPads on Tuesday. Bloomberg
Outside the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, where Apple will unveil  its latest Mac computers and iPads on Tuesday. Bloomberg

In a bid to revive the appeal of iPad tablets and Mac computers, Apple is launching a refreshed line-up in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Chief executive Tim Cook is expected to take the stage at Brooklyn Academy of Music to unveil the latest with typical Apple showmanship. The event’s web page carries the tagline: "There's more in the making".

Numbers for iPads have remained flat - sales were up 1 per cent in the third quarter - while Mac sales took a nosedive last quarter, dropping 13 per cent, according to Apple.

Overhauled iPads and Macs are needed to emerge from the shadow of the iPhone. Smartphones that work like tablets, and tablets that can be retrofitted to work like laptops have resulted in some growing pains for the two products.

Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East, said that while updates to the iPad and Mac line-up are expected, "we'll have to wait and see" since no announcements have been made.

Still, he said, "there's a lot to be excited about what Apple could reveal this week".

Ahead of the launch, The National takes a look at some of the anticipated updates from the world's biggest technology company.

iPad Pro, which was launched in 2015 to challenge Microsoft’s Surface Pro, has undergone no significant update in two years - an eternity in tech terms. Market watchers say face ID to unlock the iPad and a new charging port are all but guaranteed in the latest version.

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iPad Pros are popular among users who are looking for a fast processor, large screen, better camera and an option for an attachable keyboard. It was marketed as a laptop replacement and demonstrated in Apple stores with add-on keyboards. Now it appears Apple is taking that a few steps forward.

Adobe recently revealed a full version of Photoshop for the iPad, a barrier for some creative professionals who would not cut the laptop cord without the photo editing software available on their tablet.

“Besides an edge-to-edge screen and face ID, Apple is also expected to add a USB type-C port on the new iPad. This is very interesting as it shows that iPad is going more in the direction of a full-fledged computer,” said Mr Ali.

A USB type-C port, included in the last line-up of MacBooks, is the new standard for charging and transferring data.

The new iPad is also expected to have more squared-off sides like the iPhone 5, while the home button and fingerprint scanner will be removed. An updated Apple pencil is also predicted.

The MacBook Air, launched almost a decade ago, is the company's most successful laptop, but a new one with a high-resolution 13-inch screen could replace the legacy product.

“We might see a replacement for the MacBook Air which laid the foundation for the design of almost every single current laptop. I'd be more than happy if Apple simply upgrades the screen and brings the technology inside to today's standards,” said Mr Ali.

Mac Mini, a small desktop device to power any screen with Mac software, may also be upgraded with a faster processor and features aimed at attracting Apple's core demographic of professionals, artists and designers.

“Mac mini hasn't been updated for five years. It will surely feature the latest in hardware but what's not clear is if Apple will also update the design,” said Mr Ali.

Check in on Tuesday at 6pm UAE-time for live updates.