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Mac rumor roundup: A 12-inch MacBook, cheaper iMacs, OS X Mavericks ready to go

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Apple

October 22 will bring a slate of fresh Apple goodies, including what many suspect will be a major update to its Mac line. Here’s what rumors are pointing to, including a 12-inch MacBook, cheaper iMacs, and the long-awaited release of OS X Mavericks.

While the most recent Apple buzz has centered on the new iPhone 5S and its colorful compatriot the iPhone 5C, another Apple event is just around the corner, and this one should deliver Mac fans some much-needed love. Yes, if the alumibum slab you pop open every day at the local Starbucks is starting to feel a little too pedestrian, Apple is about to give you a whole slew of reasons to plunk down cash for a new one.

But what’s in store? Unlike the unpredictable world of smartphones, computers march forward as steadily as the fall weather Apple awaits to announce them, so we already have a good idea. Here’s what the rumor mill has been grinding up.

A 12-inch MacBook

Call it the Goldilocks MacBook if you must: It’s supposed to be as portable as the 11-inch MacBook Air, but as “productive” as the 13-inch version thanks to a high-res Retina screen. Just right. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, it will also sport an entirely new design, rather than playing off Apple’s tried-and-true (and tired) silver slivers. However, his prediction also places the launch for a 12-inch MacBook in the second or third quarter of 2014, which means we might not see it on October 22, even if it’s brewing somewhere in Apple’s R&D labs now.

Cheaper iMacs

With a starting price tag of $1,299, Apple’s 21.5-inch iMac undeniably rests in the upper echelon of all-in-one computers. Kuo claims that has made iMac sales slower-than-expected alongside cheaper Windows alternatives like Dell’s One Inspiron 23, so we may see Apple get more aggressive with the price to compete.

MacBook Pro refresh

Since Apple updated the MacBook Air earlier this year, the MacBook Pro line is definitely due for an upgrade, but the exact tweaks we’ll see remain hazy. This one’s almost guaranteed: MacBook Pros will get Intel’s fourth-generation Haswell chips, which deliver significantly better battery life than their predecessors. Other sources believe Apple could boost its Retina displays to an even-more-absurd resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 with one of Sharp’s 15.6-inch IGZO displays. That last one might be a long shot; since Apple already claims you can’t discern individual pixels in its existing Retina displays, it would have to trip over its own marketing claims to justify why it’s adding even more.

OS X Mavericks ready for primetime

Apple already pulled the veil of the latest version of its OS X operating system back at WWDC 2013 in June, but we expect an update on it at Apple’s October 22 event. According to 9to5Mac, the “golden master” version of the software already went into circulation at the beginning of the month, which could mean Apple will make it available for widespread download the day of the event, or soon after.