It’s late winter, which always means that an Apple event is on the way. A virtual event titled “Peek Performance” is on tap for 10 AM PT (1 PM ET) on March 8. What new is coming from Apple? Read on for my best guess at what we’ll see.
A New iPhone SE
The most likely candidate for an upgrade is the iPhone SE, Apple’s entry-level iPhone. Any third-generation iPhone SE will have 5G connectivity and better processor specs. The design is likely to stay identical to the second-generation iPhone SE, sporting a 4.7-inch display with Touch ID.
iPad Air 5
This is the likely time to see a new iPad Air. This would be the fifth generation of the mid-range iPad. Like the iPad mini 6, it should see the A15 Bionic system-on-chip and 5G connectivity.
Apple has been making improvements to FaceTime HD cameras in past years. The company realizes that Zoom and FaceTime conferences are here to stay in the post-pandemic world. A 12-megapixel ultra-wide FaceTime HD camera with support for Center Stage is very likely. That’s available on the current iPad Pro, and would be a great selling point for the lower-cost iPad Air.
The Mac mini was Apple’s first Mac to feature Apple Silicon. You may not remember, but the company offered the A12Z-powered “Developer Transition Kit” starting in June of 2020. In November of 2020, the M1 Mac mini arrived on the scene for general consumption by the public.
A new Mac mini would most likely come in two “flavors”; M1 Pro and M1 Max. I’d expect a thinner design with more ports and the MagSafe 3 power connector. Apple has plenty of experience designing ultra-thin motherboards now, so a flatter Mac mini is entirely feasible.
Less likely to appear at the event would be a replacement for the 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro. The original 27-inch iMac Pro disappeared from the Apple product lineup on March 5, 2021. The 27-inch iMac is still running on Intel Core i7 and i9 chips. If Apple announces a new, larger Apple Silicon iMac Pro, it may use a new variant of the M-series system-on-chip — perhaps an M2 with a 12- or 16-core CPU.
Any new iMac Pro will follow the design cues of the 24-inch iMac with a much thinner design. It’s likely that the display will feature ProMotion (up to 120Hz variable refresh rate) and the mini LED technology used in the 2021 12-inch iPad Pro screen.
As with the MacBook Pro models introduced last year, the 27-inch iMac Pro should also feature an upgraded webcam. The 24-inch model doesn’t use MagSafe power technology and I wouldn’t expect it with the iMac Pro. Sadly, I don’t foresee a new iMac Pro providing any way for users to upgrade RAM or storage. That was common to the older big iMacs, but Apple has moved to unified memory on Apple Silicon.
A Sneak Peek?
The name of the event — Peek Performance — intrigues me. I wonder if Apple is going to do a first look at the long-rumored Apple Glasses augmented reality eyewear? I honestly don’t expect to see this, but it would be just like Apple to throw in a surprise.
Whatever Apple announces at the March 8 event, we’ll bring you more details on The Rocket Yard as soon as possible.