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Apple CEO Tim Cook WWDC 2014
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
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CURTAIN CALL

What to expect from today’s Apple event

Apple is putting on another one of its trademark product-announcement events today at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. Unlike last month’s unveil—a huge gala where the company showed off new iPhones, the Apple Watch, and an awkward moment with U2—today’s keynote, the last of the year, should be much more low-key in every way.

New iPads

For the past two years, Apple has used an October event to introduce new tablets, and today should be no different. An apparent leak on Apple’s site yesterday seemed to confirm the speculation that this year’s new iPads won’t be much different than last year’s models. Think faster, perhaps better cameras, and “Touch ID” fingerprint readers, which were previously only on iPhones. Solid updates, but nothing likely to reinvigorate Apple’s slumping iPad business.

OS X Yosemite

Apple unveiled the new version of its Mac operating system in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference. It includes an updated design, new features that make Macs and iOS devices work better together, and a few other updates. Expect a re-demo, perhaps some more companion apps, and an announcement of when it will be available to download. (Possibly even today.) Again, nice, but nothing unexpected.

A new iMac with super-hi-def “retina” display

The most exciting rumored Mac device is an ultra-thin, 12-inch notebook that’s supposedly the next-generation MacBook Air, including a super-sharp “retina” display. But the rumor mill isn’t sure if it’s ready to show off yet—it might well slip to next year. Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly ready to update its iMac lineup, including its first retina display on a desktop Mac. If true, this will probably be an amazing device for things like photo and video editing. But that elusive new laptop will likely be the better seller.

Apple Pay

Apple’s new mobile-payments service, announced last month, will likely get a US launch date. Retail partners including Walgreens, McDonald’s, and Whole Foods might take a while to sign on, but some may reportedly be ready to support it as soon as this weekend. Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the only currently shipping devices that will support Apple Pay, but it’s possible the new iPads will, too.

One more thing?

Considering how much went into last month’s event, it seems unlikely that Apple has any big surprises in store so soon. There are plenty of Apple products in need of a refresh, ranging from the Apple TV streaming-media device to the iPod touch. Anything’s possible, of course. But we’re not expecting much—Apple might simply finalize its holiday gadget lineup and then go back to work on the Watch, which is expected to launch early next year.

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