October 22, 2013 Last Updated 4:50 pm

Apple event expected to bring new tablets, OSX Mavericks, and a maybe a few surprises

New iPads, an iPad mini with retina display, the new Mac OS, but what else might be launched at today’s Apple event in San Francisco?

Apple’s event today – 1pm ET, 10am PT – is expected to bring new models of the iPad and iPad mini. The event will also formally introduce the newest version of the Mac OS, OSX Mavericks.

With tablet sales continue to soar. with 43 percent of Americans now owning either an eReader or tablet, the launch of new iPads will mostly likely keep Apple in its leadership position. The big issue today for the publishing community will be if any of Apple’s introductions bring any significant changes to the digital newsstand and bookstore environment.

AppleEvents-screen-lgThe launch of OS X Mavericks for the Mac will bring the iBooks app to the desktop, expanding the reach of eBooks. In essence, the book publishing industry will be in the flipbook business. This is more of a convenience move rather than anything significant. Studies have consistently shown that consumers rank their laptops and desktops as the least preferred device for reading books, magazines and newspapers – a reflection of the fact that consumers see reading as a leisure-time activity and hence prefer print, tablets and eReaders to both their smartphones and PCs.

Last year at this time Apple launched a new version of iBooks Author, and there is no reason to believe that they won’t release an update to the program today, even though there have been few rumors involving the program. It is even possible that Apple will release an update and not even mention it during the event today.

On the other hand, a big surprise, a big pleasant surprise, would be if Apple updates the program to add in iPhone support. Call this one a long shot.

Some rumors have said that one can expect something on the Apple TV side of the business. While practically no one is expecting an actual box set, there has been talk of an update to the Apple TV software, and possibly a minor bump to the hardware itself.

Today could also be the day Apple finally releases its long awaited new model of the Mac Pro, as well as hardware updates for the Mac mini and possibly bumps to the laptop line, as well.

Today’s Apple event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco will be streamed live via the Apple TV, and for Apple employees and consumers through the Apple retail locations. Apple is also holding a number of international simulcast events. The streaming of the event will no doubt seriously limit the value of the live blogs that tech sites have loved to produce at Apple events. Those sitting at work will probably still appreciate live blogging, however, so for this searching for news from the event they should probably visit The Verge, Engadget or other tech sites, or follow along on Twitter.

MM-ios6vsios7One obvious area of concern for Apple has to be the slower rate of conversion of iOS users from iOS 6 to iOS 7. Although iPhone and iPad owners initially updated their devices at the usual quick pace, many owners delayed updating their software as reaction began to filter out from users. This is creating a dangerous gap between those iOS device owners who will continue to be along for the ride and those that may contemplate switching platforms. No doubt Google, Microsoft, Samsung and others have to be wondering if Apple may have created an opening for them to lure customers from what has, until now, been the most loyal user base in the mobile and tablet markets.

As of today I have yet to see any commercials that make fun of iOS 7 and its new look. But both Samsung and Microsoft have never hesitated to target iPhone users, in particular, making fun of them in ads that showed long lines at stores, for instance. Expect something to appear soon.

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