What to expect from Apple, Google and Samsung’s big events

Macs, Pixels and whatever Samsung is cooking up

Hardware season is heading for a dramatic finale next week, with three events from three major companies, three days in a row. Apple, Google and Samsung (in that order) are all hosting big events next week, getting their last big announcements (hopefully) out of the way ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

That means your friendly neighborhood hardware editor — and much of the TechCrunch staff — is set to be busy for the next few weeks, writing about and reviewing all manner of gadgets. Meantime, we’ve got some information to go off, in terms of what we can expect next week, through a combination of rumors, leaks and process of elimination.

That last bit holds especially true in the case of Apple and Samsung. Both companies are following recent big product unveils, and barring brand new product lines, we can triangulate what’s likely next on the docket for each. Google, meanwhile, has essentially announced what it’s got brewing for Tuesday.

Let’s work chronologically here.

Apple MacBook Pro silver keyboard. close up Mac on the blue background

Apple MacBook Pro silver keyboard. close up Mac on the blue background

Apple’s kicking things off Monday at 10AM PT/1PM ET. It’s been just over a month since the company’s latest event, which brought new iPhones, Apple Watches and iPads. One big missing product line was absent, however. We didn’t see any new Macs. With macOS Monterey dropping any day now, and the company’s already announced plans to upgrade its entire line to first-party silicon, the absence was felt at the event.

It seemed reasonable to expect the company might go the press release route, but instead, it looks like Apple’s opted to give Mac its moment in the spotlight. As I’ve noted before, companies are generally less obligated to cram everything into a single event now that they’re not asking attendees to fly from around the world to be there. Some have taken liberties with this notion — though I don’t anticipate that to be the case here. At the very least, we expect some big Mac news, including:

  • A new MacBook Pro in 13 and 16-inch versions
  • A new Mac Mini
  • A 27-inch iMac

Image Credits: Brian Heater

The first two essentially replace last year’s M1 models, which effectively had the same guts. A new, even faster M1X chip is said to be arriving, along with potential hardware redesigns. The 27-inch iMac, meanwhile, would augment the 24-inch model, serving as a more pro-focused system.

An overdue update to the entry-level AirPods are said to be in the works, as well, featuring improved sound quality and design more inline with the Pros — but without active noise canceling.

Image Credits: Google

Speaking of new chips, Google already announced its plan to unveil its in-house Tensor chip, becoming the latest company to buck Qualcomm for first-party silicon. That will be used to power the new Pixel 6 and a Pro model. The handsets feature a radical redesign for a line that’s been stumbling to stay afloat in the smartphone wars.

Google has gone as far as putting up a product page for the pair ahead of the event. Cribbing from Greg’s writeup of the initial announcement here:

  • The base 6 will have a matte aluminum finish with a 6.4″ display, while the Pro has a shinier polished aluminum finish with a 6.7″ display.
  • Pixel 6 has two cameras (wide and ultrawide), while the 6 Pro adds a telephoto zoom lens.
  • If you were hoping the increasingly common “camera bump” trend was on the way out… not quite. The bump has now evolved into the “camera bar,” with Google’s Rick Osterloh noting that better sensors and lenses just won’t fit in a smaller package.

A recent leak has offered up a bit more info on their camera system — two rear-facing on the 6 and three on the Pro. They’ll both feature a 50-megapixel wide-angle and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide, while the Pro adds a 48-megapixel telephoto. That event is going down Tuesday at 10AM PT/1PM ET.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Samsung’s Wednesday event is the biggest question mark of the three — which, given how Samsung products tend to leak, is not something we get to say much. The new foldables were recently announced and we don’t expect another Galaxy S device until around MWC in February/March of next year. A PC or tablet seems to be a reasonable guess. Though the bright colors in the invite could offer another clue. That event kicks off at 7AM PT/10AM ET on Wednesday.

Apple October Event 2021