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Bites of Apple: What to Expect From iPad Event October 16

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Apple, we barely had time to miss you. Just five weeks after unveiling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iGadget maker will hold another event Thursday. This time, expect iPads and iMacs to take center stage.

As usual, Apple's invitation for the October 16 event -- which will start at 10 a.m. PT in San Francisco -- was short on information. It read simply: "It's been way too long."

But scant official details never stop the rumor mill from churning. Here's a bite of a few of the most credible reports.

iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3

This one's easy. It was already expected that two new iPads would grab the event limelight -- and then Apple appeared to confirm with an apparently accidental update to its official iOS 8 user guide on Wednesday. The guide showed screenshots of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 before Apple removed them later in the day.

Those screenshots showed the Touch ID fingerprint sensor will be available on both devices. Otherwise, both the flagship iPad Air 2 and the smaller iPad mini 3 are expected to be quite similar to their predecessors -- but faster and thinner.

Don't expect an iPad jumbo this time, though. Initial rumors said a 12.9-inch iPad was on the slate, but more recent reports from outlets including the Wall Street Journal say Apple pushed that launch to early next year. That's reportedly because suppliers are slammed by demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

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iMac with Retina display

Following the "it's been too long" theme from Apple's invitation, the iMac desktop computer line hasn't been updated in two years. Reliable blog 9to5Mac reported last month that Apple was in the final testing stages for a new iMac that features a Retina Display, as well as faster guts and better Wi-Fi antennas. Re/Code reported the Retina iMac will be unveiled at Thursday's event.

But the MacBook laptop isn't going to go high-resolution quite yet. Rumors say a 12-inch MacBook with Retina Display is in Apple's pipeline, but Re/Code says it's not happening Thursday.

Launch of OS X Yosemite and Apple Pay

Two pieces of software Apple has already previewed are expected to launch this week. First is OS X Yosemite, the new operating system for Macs that Apple demonstrated at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Among other updates, Yosemite takes its design cues from iOS 7 for iPhone, creating a more uniform experience across Apple's laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones.

The other is the mobile payment service Apple Pay, which is expected to make its debut on October 18, according to a purported Walgreens memo that the blog Macworld obtained.

Apple previewed Apple Pay at its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus event on September 9, and at that time the company named Walgreens as a major Apple Pay launch partner. The system uses a near-field communication (NFC) chip that lets users pay with their smartphones instead of credit cards.

New Apple TV, or at least a development kit for app makers?

The hockey-puck-style Apple TV box isn't a flagship device, but like the iMac, it hasn't been refreshed in a while. The connected TV device hasn't been updated since January 2013, and it faces increased competition from other boxes like Roku and Amazon Fire TV as well as smart televisions. It would be a good time for Apple to freshen up its offering, or at least release a software development kit for app makers who want to build on the platform.

It's a long list of rumors, but nothing major stands out. Has Apple kept some secrets under wraps? We'll see Thursday at 10 a.m. PT.

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