Last minute iPad Air, iPad Mini, and iMac rumors ahead of Apple's special event

ipad air ipad mini
Credit: Apple

On Thursday morning, Tim Cook and his trusted crew of lieutenants will take the stage at Apple's Town Hall auditorium, where they'll unveil a slew of new hardware.

While the event understandably lacks the same level of excitement that typically precedes new iPhone announcements, there's still a lot of hardware to get excited about. Here's what to expect.

See also: What not to expect from Apple's upcoming iPad announcement

iPad Air 2

This one is all but a sure thing. Expect to see a second iteration of the iPad Air with beefed up internals and, more importantly, the inclusion of Touch ID. There have also been rumors that the iPad Air 2 will be available in gold a la the iPhone 6.

Interestingly, a late-breaking report on Wednesday suggests that Apple Pay will be operational on the new iPads, meaning that the iPad Air 2 may very well come equipped with an NFC chip.

iPad Mini 3

Though KGI Securities recently said not to expect a third-gen iPad Mini at tomorrow's event, leaked documents from Apple have indicated that such a product will be announced.

iPad Pro

For a few months now, it's been rumored that Apple has plans to release an iPad Pro model with a daunting 12.9-inch display. More recent reports, however, have relayed that supply constraints will force Apple to delay the release of a larger-screened iPad until early 2015. Still, Apple may unveil the device tomorrow even though it may not see store shelves for a few months. The obvious downside to this strategy is that it may affect iPad sales in the interim. That said, the odds that we see an iPad Pro model tomorrow are probably about 50/50.

OS X Yosemite

It's a safe bet that Apple tomorrow will spend some time going over all the great new features in OS X Yosemite and, more likely than not, announce a launch date for its latest desktop OS. One can only hope that OS X Yosemite will be available as a free download this week.

New iMacs

It's been a long time since we've seen new iMacs. In fact, the current iteration of the 21.5-inch iMac was initially released nearly two years ago. Clearly, a refresh is in order. That said, reports from the rumor mill indicate that Apple tomorrow will unveil a new 27-inch iMac with a 5k Retina Display. Unfortunately, reports also indicate that the 21.5-inch iMac won't get the Retina treatment until 2015.

Apple TV

The third-gen Apple TV launched in early 2012. Yep, 2012! Indeed, the tagline for tomorrows event appropriately reads, "It's been too long." While Apple over the past few months has been working furiously to add new channels to the Apple TV lineup, hopefully tomorrow we'll see some long-deserved hardware enhancements as well. What's particularly interesting are rumors hinting at an Apple TV with Kinect-like functionality. Recall that Apple acquired Primesense last November, perhaps paving the way for an Apple TV console that doubles as a full-fledged gaming device.

Apple Pay

With Apple Pay scheduled to launch in late October, it stands to reason that we'll get a firm launch date for when the service finally goes live.

Mac Mini

It's also been a long time since Apple refreshed the venerable Mac Mini. There hasn't been much buzz about a refresh, so toss this one into the "maybe" pile.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10