It’s official. The invitations to Apple’s first product launch event of 2022 have arrived: It will take place virtually on March 8 at 10 am West Coast time.
Often billed as Apple’s “spring event,” its March and April releases almost always feature new iPads for consumers, one or more MacBooks (such as the blockbuster Air), and a surprise or two.
In the 24 hours before the official announcement, #AppleEvent was trending on Twitter, as if people were trying to make it happen through sheer willpower. This time, the rumor mills were right: a colorful retro invitation arrives along with the words “Peek Performance” and the tune “Wonder” by Yung Bae.
Is Apple’s multicolored logo a nod to a colorful new line of MacBook Airs [the pun on “peek performance” instead of “peak performance” could indicate a new M2 chip more powerful — Ed.]? Maybe. Is the word “peek” a possible clue to the possible look at Apple’s mixed reality glasses? The latter is a remote possibility.
Here’s what we think you can expect Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team to announce this coming Tuesday.
iPhone SE 3 and iPad Air
Rumors point to a new iPhone SE, specifically the iPhone SE 3.
The iPhone SE has stuck with 64GB and 128GB storage options (iPhone 13 starts at 128GB). The iPhone SE 3 could perhaps ditch the low-end storage and go all the way up to a 256GB tier. But perhaps Apple can’t cheapen the phone by increasing storage space.
The new iPhone SE 3 should have the latest Apple mobile chip, the A15 Bionic. It could even be 5G. This last part makes more sense when you think that not only Apple, but the carriers want everyone to move to this level of connectivity.
A good bet is that there will be one or two new iPads. The iPad Air 5 is rumored to appear this quarter. Analysts seem divided as to whether the display will go from LCD to OLED. What is almost certain is that the 10.9-inch screen is assured, so no one expects Apple to add a TrueDepth tab and Face ID on the iPad Air.
As always, it is usual for Apple to update the components, leaving the design and other key features in place. Again, an A15 Bionic CPU and a 5G option are reasonable.
If Apple doesn’t upgrade the iPhone SE to a higher storage tier, it’s unlikely to leave the base iPad Air 5 at 64GB. The level of these creativity and consumption tablets should start at 256GB. That is our hope.
The expected M2
Apps traditionally releases its (sometimes most) consumer MacBooks in the spring, so it’s fair to assume that a new MacBook Air may arrive as soon as next week. The news won’t necessarily be the new MacBook, but the chip they put inside: the long-rumored M2.
The hype around Apple’s first second-generation M-series chip could hide a major system redesign. The MacBook Air is expected to lose most of its rounded corners in favor of a slightly more industrial, boxy design like the MacBook Pro or iMac m1. Something that could make it look like the iPad Air’s clamshell cousin. Other design tweaks could include new colors and even a white keyboard (which would get dirty in a few months).
As for the M2, nobody expects more cores, but Apple should fully optimize its system to raise performance between the classic M1 and its M1 Pro line.
AirPods Pro 2
The AirPods Pro are aging gracefully but are at a possible point for an upgrade. AirPods Pro 2 may arrive next week with impressive health and fitness-related features.
Some rumors ensure the tracking of training (something that could mean monitoring the heart rate and even the user’s temperature). Others claim that the AirPods Pro 2 will switch from Bluetooth to some form of optical transmission, but we believe this is almost impossible.
Perhaps we could see a more affordable pair of Airpods Pro Lite, some say, though it’s unclear how that would differ from the AirPods 3.
One more thing
Could Apple surprise us with an entirely new Apple TV device, perhaps its eternally rumored Apple TV?
That’s right, Apple may unveil its first smart TV in up to three sizes (42-inch, 50-inch, and 65-inch, if you ask us what would be ideal). All of them would integrate the features of the current Apple TV, a brilliant 4K LED screen — perhaps with an 8K option on the largest size — and a free one-year subscription to Apple TV +.
It’s a huge hype, of course, and the most likely surprise product is one that brings together the HomePod mini and today’s Apple TV: a smart speaker that can control all your smart devices with your voice, play Adele’s latest album through Apple Music and stream Ted Lasso with Apple TV Plus.
What you probably won’t see at Apple’s March 2022 event
Apple has plenty of options to feature at its “Peek Performance” event on Tuesday, March 8, but we’re also guessing others will almost certainly not show up.
It’s unlikely, for example, that we’ll see the Apple Watch Series 8. Traditionally this is a fall update that follows the reveal of watchOS 9, which we expect in June during WWDC2022.
But whatever Apple launches at the “Peek Performance” event, TechRadar will be there virtually to cover all the news live. We are ready to take our first bite of the apple in 2022.