Updates to Apple hardware this year will focus on power users

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Apple’s roadmap for the rest of the year (and perhaps a bit beyond that) appears to take aim at big spenders and power users, if we can trust inside information posted by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman — as one generally can. Expect updates to the iPad, MacBook Air and Pro, and Thunderbolt display.

The pendulum is swinging the other direction after last year’s move towards simplicity, with the iPhone SE and minimalist MacBook; Apple intends to entice “pro” users who may have been tempted by the highly capable Surface Book.

Certainly the Macbook Pro is due for a refresh, and the Air is positively archaic when you compare it with the latest models (especially when yours, like mine, is 4 years old). Earlier reports, repeated for good measure in Gurman’s piece, suggest a thinned body retaining multiple ports and gaining an OLED “dynamic function row” in place of the useful but somewhat anachronistic F-keys. The Air will get USB-C and a spec bump, but possibly still no Retina display.

Those are supposed to ship this year — as early as October, even — but may not make it into the announcement coming September 7. Gurman suggests that the 7th may be restricted to announcing the new iPhone and a revamped Apple Watch with built-in GPS and health-tracking features. iOS 10, of course, already in beta, will also feature prominently.

Rumors swirled months ago regarding the possibility of a 5K Thunderbolt display with its own GPU to help push pixels, but it never emerged. It may do soon, however, likely alongside the new Macs. This LG collaboration would be aimed directly at photo and video editors who don’t want to slum it with an iMac.

The iPad Pro, which has been both loved and mocked, will be getting further improvements to stylus input, though whether in hardware, software, or both is unclear. Whatever the case is, the artists and others who have warmly welcomed the crossover device will surely appreciate the update.

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