The 2 Biggest Questions Going Into Apple's iPad Event on Tuesday

Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) event this Tuesday has been confirmed. The company is expected to launch a new version of its full-sized iPad and iPad Mini. Let's look at what we know and, more importantly, what we don't know. Despite the company's hyperactive rumor mill, there are still several intriguing mysteries.

Apple's redesigned Mac Pro. Source: Apple website.

What we (probably) know
The event will probably revolve around the iPad. The new iPad will reportedly adopt the form-factor of its smaller counterpart and be about 20% lighter and thinner. Both iPads are rumored to adopt Apple's new A7 processor -- a huge upgrade for the iPad Mini, which previously used the iPad 2's A5, though the full-sized iPad will reportedly get the typical graphics boost, so it will technically utilize the A7X.

Other new products to make it to the stage are likely to include Apple's redesigned Mac Pro and new set of 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros.

Apple TV
Whether Apple will launch a new version of its Apple TV, however, is less certain. An Oct. 18 report that's France and Germany sites had sudden unavailability of Apple's most recent version of the device, with planned availability on Oct. 23, sparked speculation that Apple will upgrade the device on Tuesday. But Amazon U.S. and Apple's U.S. online store still show availability. Even more, AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports that there's a "surprisingly large stock of Apple TV" in Apple's indirectly retail channels.

On the other hand, as Marsal explains, Apple sometimes dumps its remaining inventory into its direct channels before product introductions, a move that could leave retailers well stocked (depending on Apple's remaining inventory). Marsal notes that, according to AppleInsider's source, Apple TV inventory is the highest it has been in months. So is the high level on inventory a sign of the current version's end?

The Apple TV is certainly due for an update. It's been a whopping 592 days since Apple last refreshed the set-top box. Even more, the competition has stepped up its game. Google's Chromecast, in particular, continues to be the best-selling item in electronics on Amazon's online store. And the Roku is outselling the Apple TV on Amazon, too.

A new cover?
Apple's tagline on the press invitations for the event suggests Apple may be planning to launch some sort of new cover.

Press invitations for Apple's Oct. 22 media event. Source: MacRumors.

Though no leaks have surfaced hinting at a new cover this Tuesday, the invitation's tagline certainly makes a solid case for its potential existence.

Apple does hold several interesting patents for its Smart Cover that have yet to make it to market. One patent Apple applied for allows a Smart Cover to charge an iPad wirelessly via inductive charging. The filing notes that the cover itself could possibly charge by being plugged into a conventional power source or even via solar cells incorporated into the cover.

Apple patent application for inductive charging in cover. Source: MacRumors.

Another Apple patent filing has a flexible display built right into the Smart Cover. The cover could be used to display notifications or even a keyboard.

Apple patent application for a flexible display built into cover. Source: Liliputing.

It's worth noting that many Apple patents never make into products. But these patents undoubtedly show the company's interest in innovating its covers.

Will Apple surprise us?
Given Apple's recent struggle to grow revenue and EPS, year over year, Apple could use a pinch of surprise in its product launch event recipes. What do you think? Will Apple finally refresh its Apple TV? Will Apple launch an innovative, new cover?

What's Apple's next big move?
Apple has a history of cranking out revolutionary products -- and then creatively destroying them with something better. Read about the future of Apple in the free report, "Apple Will Destroy Its Greatest Product." Can Apple really disrupt its own iPhones and iPads? Find out by clicking here.

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Daniel Sparks

Daniel Sparks is a senior technology specialist at The Motley Fool. He served in the U.S. Army on active duty and graduated with an MBA from Colorado State University.

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