In case you've been living under a rock for the last week or so, tech giant Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPad launch event is only days away. Apple is expected to introduce the next evolution of its popular iPad line of tablets, potentially introduce an updated MacBook Pro, and discuss its upcoming OS X Mavericks next Tuesday. As Apple said itself in its invites to the event, "We still have a lot to cover."
Apple badly needs a winner with its latest iPads, as demand for its tablets ebbed 14% year over year in its most recently reported quarter. This certainly owes in part to consumers simply waiting for the new iPads to hit the market before buying, but the harsh truth for Apple is that the number of competitive Android-based tablets has increased dramatically in the last several years. This again highlights the need for Apple to unveil a winner with its newest iPads.
Fool contributor Andrew Tonner takes a look at what exactly investors and consumers should expect out of Apple next week in the video below. A transcript of the video is also included below the video.
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Brendan Byrnes: Hey Fools, I'm Brendan Byrnes and I'm joined today by Andrew Tonner, who is a tech analyst for Fool.com.
It's about that time of the year: Apple coming out with a new iPad on Oct. 22, we believe. Let's talk both features, and what this means for Apple investors.
Andrew Tonner: Yeah. Out of the actual launch itself, you're seeing really three main rumors come out for the iPad; the first of which is for the larger 9.7-inch iPad, that they're going to overhaul the form factor, in a subtle way.
They're going to redesign the chassis, and that will actually allow Apple to sport both a thinner bezel, and make the iPad itself lighter. It'll be almost a 9.7-inch carbon copy of the iPad Mini, so you're going to see a form factor alignment between their two devices.
Now, in terms of the iPad Mini, the iPad Mini is expected to also get an upgrade to what the iPad has, the Retina display, which will be, of course, helping it to become -- or hold that status -- as the premier 7-inch tablet in the space.
That's important because we're really seeing tablet growth come out of that 7-inch space with a smaller form factor, so Apple needs to be able to continue to lead there. Having a Retina display is definitely a win for them.
Then for both of the iPads, they're going to get a hardware upgrade in terms of the camera as well. It's largely believed that they'll get an 8-megapixel camera, which will then allow the iPad to match the iPhone in quality.
You're also hearing talk about also refreshing the MacBook Pro lineup, and then also OS X Mavericks is going to be a focal point of this as well.
Now, while the new iPads are definitely better, these really strike me as improvements that are incremental and really unlikely to impress investors. You've seen Apple need to have wins in the tablet space.
In their most recent quarter we saw iPad shipments fall 14% in terms of their overall units. Now, that could be demand just shifting from quarter to quarter -- which is fair, because everyone expected the iPad refresh to come in this quarter -- but at the same time it also could represent the fact that you're seeing a growing number of options in the tablet space from Android-based names as well.
If Apple's going to just continue to make these moderate hardware upgrades, I wonder if they're setting themselves up for failure, to a degree.
I think that's something that is probably the key storyline; whether or not Apple can continue to impress consumers and investors with this. These are definitely upgrades, but at the same time I'm not sure it's going to be enough to really wow people.