Apple’s been-way-too-long event: What to watch for on Thursday

October 14, 2014, 3:12 PM UTC

I hear there will be new iPads and new iMacs for sure, maybe a new Apple TV and, according to re/code’s John Paczkowski, absolutely no Retina MacBook Air.

If none of that excites you, you’re not alone. Even tech reporters whose bread is buttered by Apple hardware reviews are having trouble getting up for this one.

But Apple is bringing more than refreshed hardware to the show in Cupertino on Thursday Oct. 16.

This week’s two tent poles, as far as I’m concerned, will be the arrival of OS X Yosemite and the launch of Apple Pay. A possible third, if smaller, tentpole: A software developers kit for Apple TV.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.03.43 AMTaking it from the top:

  • Yosemite: This is going to feel like old news to the tech press that saw it previewed in June, and to the developers who have been working with beta releases for months. But for the rest of the Mac installed base — now some 80 million strong — there’s going to be a lot of new stuff to learn in OS X Yosemite. I’ll be interested in exploring the “continuity” features that allow calls to the iPhone to be answered on the Mac and e-mails begun on the Mac to be finished on an iPhone. One more reason to switch to the Mac for those millions of iPhone owners still on Microsoft (MSFT) Windows.
  • Apple Pay: This matters right now only to people who bought one of new iPhones who shop with any the 17 third-party vendors — from BabiesRUs to Whole Foods — on Apple’s initial roll-out list. But if it works as advertised and catches on, Apple Pay is the kind of technological advance that could change what you carry in your wallet. I hear that at least some stores are gearing up for a Saturday debut. We should get the final release notes — and maybe some embellishments — on Thursday.
  • Apple TV: Talk about a long time coming! Apple TV hasn’t been updated since January 2013 and developers still don’t have a software kit with which to write apps. But an Apple TV software beta release last week included hooks for testing iOS apps for HomeKit — Apple’s system for remote control of thermostats, security cameras, burglar alarms and the like. It’s not a full-fledged SDK like the one that launched a million iOS apps, but maybe it’s a start.


Apple’s Oct. 16 event is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) in Apple’s Town Hall auditorium. I’ll be monitoring it remotely — or trying to — and you can too. Apple has promised to stream it live, hopefully this time without hiccups or a Chinese sound track. Here’s the link: It’s been way too long.

See also: Apple Pay is coming to town.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.