It's been about a month and a half since Apple released OS X Mountain Lion into the wild, and even though iOS will be the centerpiece of Wednesday's big media event in San Francisco, reports say Apple will also announce release a new update for Mac users on OS X Mountain Lion on Wednesday, which will reportedly fix an issue with fast-draining battery life.
There weren't many major issues with OS X Mountain Lion when it first released in July, but users quickly discovered that the new Mac operating system had caused a significant reduction in battery life. Many believed Apple would address the battery issue in the 10.8.1 update, but that update only fixed a number of stability issues and problems connecting to third-party applications and mail clients.
On Monday, Mac Observer was able to test a series of three Mac laptops running OS X Mountain Lion, and discovered that the 10.8.2 upgrade "saw a tremendous increase in battery life, to the point where running time was a few minutes longer than even that of 10.6.8."
"The upgrade to 10.8 Mountain Lion decreased battery life significantly, by about 1 hour and 45 minutes, or 30 percent," Mac Observer said. "The upgrade to 10.8.1 restored about 30 minutes of battery life for our MacBook Pro, an improvement for sure, but not nearly enough to regain lost ground. The big change came with 10.8.2, which is still undergoing developer testing ... although the developer builds of 10.8.2 are very promising, nothing can be guaranteed until the final version of the software has been approved."
With any luck, the 10.8.2 update will address some of the assorted issues that 10.8.1 didn't fix, such as Safari bugs, problems and errors that arose with other Mail clients besides Microsoft Exchange, faulty AirPlay Mirroring, and occurrences of the "spinning beach ball of death" caused by slow loading times.
There's a great chance Apple will announce the Mountain Lion upgrade during tomorrow's presentation and release the software update later that same day. MacWorld believes the release of the 10.8.2 upgrade will accompany the release of iOS 6, the newest mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod announced this summer and expected to launch this fall.
Besides software, tomorrow's Apple event is also said to unveil a number of new devices. While we don't truly know what Apple will unveil at tomorrow - Apple's policy is to "never confirm or comment on rumors or speculation" -- we have a pretty good idea based on the levels of production in Apple's supply chains, as well as reports and leaks from those same manufacturers.
Based on production levels and the significant amount of rumors surrounding the next-gen iPhone, there's little doubt that the new iPhone 5 will be star of tomorrow's event, but the other big product expected to debut tomorrow is the new "iPad Mini," which is meant to directly compete with new, smaller tablets from Amazon, Google and others. We're also hearing Apple has plans to introduce a new iPod Nano, a new iPod Touch, a new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and some new iMac models tomorrow.
Here's a brief summary of what you can expect to see from each new device:
iPhone 5: Thanks to batches of images released by insiders within Apple's supply chains and repair shops, we generally know what the iPhone 5 looks like. We expect the iPhone to feature a bigger, thinner front plate that stretches the screen just beyond four inches to achieve a 16:9 resolution ratio to watch 1080p HD videos in a widescreen format.
According to alleged prototypes and images, Apple has also reportedly expanded and redesigned its speaker grills, migrated the FaceTime camera to be directly above the earpiece, moved the earphone jack from the top right corner of the phone to the bottom left corner, and introduced a new camera opening on the backside of the phone between the camera lens and the LED flash, which likely houses a small microphone. Finally, we believe Apple has fixed its iPhone 5 with a unibody metal back instead of an all-glass facade, which could potentially improve call reception, and has also endowed the iPhone with a new quad-core A6 processor, and that heavily-rumored smaller dock connector.
Also, there's a greater-than-likely chance this phone will actually just be called "new iPhone."
For more information about the new iPhone 5's alleged features, read this article.
iPad Mini: On July 10, a photo set of the alleged iPad Mini suggested the mini tablet would be much wider and a little taller than the Nexus 7, Google's recently introduced 7-inch tablet, and it would be slightly thinner than Apple's third-generation "new" iPad. Gotta Be Mobile believes the iPad Mini will measure about 213.36mm tall and 143.67mm wide, which is "approximately two-thirds of the size of the new third-generation iPad." (The new iPad is 185.67mm wide, 241.3mm tall, and 9.39mm thick.)
The iPad Mini will likely feature a 1024 x 768 display (still hoping for Retina, however), front and rear cameras (FaceTime and iSight), a smaller dock connector (like the iPhone 5), and similar tech specs to theiPad 2. Read this article for more information about the iPad Mini's alleged features.
New iPod Touch: On Aug. 25,GizChina posted new photos of what it claimed to be a next-generation iPod Touch, which featured a less tapered design and a wider rear camera whole, which suggests Apple may have added an LED flash to the back of the iPod to be like the iPhone.
As you can see from the photos these cases suggest that the next generation iPod touch will have a new design (at least to the rear) and seem to be have a much less pronounced taper to the edges when compared to the current iPod touch 4. The hole around the camera area to the left for example looks to have been elongated and tapered to fit around a possible LED flash to help with low light photography, and there is also the appearance of a new 'mystery hole' in the lower left hand side of the case.
The report goes on to speculate the "mystery hole" is a speaker or microphone of some kind.
New iPod Nano: A 9 to 5 Mac report from Sept. 7 said that there's a new iPod nano with a "completely new codename from last year's model, which may point to some design and internal changes." While there have been some rumors of Apple returning to a taller iPod Nano design, code suggests this new iPod Nano will come in eight new colors, with the highest end model costing $149 for 16 GB.
13-inch Retina MacBook Pro: Before Apple shocked the WWDC audience with a completely redesigned MacBook Pro with Retina Display, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple would unveil such a notebook, and he even correctly forecast most of the features, including a lighter and slimmer form factor than the current MacBook Pros, the lack of a disc drive, and the Retina Display. After the event took place, Kuo followed up on his earlier report by sharing a new note with AppleInsider, in which he described how Apple will follow up the 15-inch model with a smaller, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, to be released in early October.
Kuo had actually mentioned the 13-inch model in his initial report, adding that the basic computer would sell at $1,199. Apple starts selling the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display at $2,199.
New iMacs: Again on Sept. 7, a report from Clayton Morris of Fox News said a refresh to Apple's iMac lineup was "imminent." "Get ready, because the iMacs are coming," Morris said. "I've been hoping for an iMac update and it looks like my wish is about to come true! Multiple sources tell me that a new lineup of desktop machines from Apple is imminent." Giving credence to Morris' report, multiple reports after WWDCsuggested new iMacs would be arriving this October, and most recently, MacRumors said Apple has been experiencing shortages of 27-inch iMacs.
Are you looking forward to Apple's event tomorrow? Which of these alleged products are you most excited for? Which would you buy? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.