Apple just announced the date for its highly anticipated Fall 2021 event, meaning that we can see an announcement of a new MacBook Pro 16-inch powered by an upgraded Apple M1X chip as soon as next week. The event is scheduled for October 18 at 10AM PDT, which puts it just in time for Black Friday 2021 product launches.
Unleashed! These next six days are going to speed by. #AppleEvent pic.twitter.com/0ops2bVPvlOctober 12, 2021
We saw the same thing last year with Apple's One More Thing Event, which introduced the new Apple M1 chip in the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Earlier this year, Apple introduced its new iMac (24-inch), which also featured the M1 chip.
Conspicuously left out was the larger 16-inch MacBook Pro, which still hasn't gotten its own Apple silicon update, but the power demands for a 16-inch MacBook Pro are likely too much for just the M1 chip, so its long been expected that an upgraded chip with more powerful performance cores and additional efficiency cores would be needed to power it. That upgraded chip might be just a week away.
What Apple's Fall 2021 event could bring ahead of Black Friday
While a lot of the speculation around the Fall 2021 event has been focused on a new 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1X chip, that's probably not the only thing Apple plans to unveil ahead of the Black Friday holiday shopping frenzy.
It's also too early to see new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro devices running on updated chips (they're only a year old, after all), but life is all about chaos and curveballs, and given the ongoing semiconductor issues around the world, nothing about computer chips is normal at the moment.
The Apple M1X chip is also expected to be a more high-performance chip rather than an iteration on the M1, so we're betting on an Apple M2 chip powering the next generation of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch in early 2022.
The other major reveal could be a 27-inch iMac, also powered by an Apple M1X chip. The 24-inch iMac, like the 13-inch MacBook Pro, is roughly at the limit of what the M1 chip can effectively power. The bigger MacBook Pro and iMac models are why there is so much speculation around an M1X chip in the first place, since this upgraded chip hasn't been officially acknowledged by Apple.
If Apple does show off new silicon on October 18, it might show off a new iMac 27-inch as well, though rumors around that reveal has put its launch into 2022 as well, so we think that Apple's Q1 2022 event is much more likely. Still, never say never.
Finally, there's also an outside chance that we might finally see the new Apple AirPods 3 at the October 18 event. The Apple AirPods 2 were released back in 2019, and we were hopeful that they'd be revealed during Apple's Spring Loaded Event back in April.
They weren't, obviously, and so they were highly anticipated for Apple's iPhone 13 event in September, and was the most notable absence at that event. The October 18 event is expected to be very heavily focused on the computing side of things rather than mobile, but we're betting on the AirPods 3 as a dark horse reveal anyway. Why? Black Friday, that's why.
Given how many sales are driven by Black Friday deals, releasing something like new AirPods just makes financial sense for Apple. They are due for an update anyway, and unlike a new MacBook Pro or iMac, they are much cheaper purchases and make ideal holiday gifts.
This will be Apple's last event before Black Friday, so if Apple wants to make some easy cash during the deals season, October 18 will likely be its last chance to launch before Black Friday and holiday shopping begins.
- Check out Apple's best MacBooks and Macs before its event to see how they stack up
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY.
Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.
You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.
Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).