Apple kept us waiting a little longer than expected, but has now confirmed its spring launch event will take place March 8 at 10 a.m. PT/ 1 p.m. ET. The company is expected to introduce an improved iPad Air, new Macs, and the iPhone SE with 5G at what will be the first of a ‘wild array’ of coming product introductions.
What is Peek performance?
Apple’s event invitation is titled “Peek performance.” The image features a six-color Apple logo, consisting of six small to large logos superimposed above each other within one apple shape.
It’s hard to imagine what this might represent: it could be as simple as a hint at different colors in some of its new products but may also indicate a move to new display technologies. I’m certain the Apple mythology industry is already on the case with a range of speculations (and I suspect there will be plenty of discussion at Mobile World Congress.)
Apple’s Greg Joswiak, senior vice president for marketing, has published a Tweet containing a short video featuring the same design as the invitation.
What do we expect? An iPhone SE with 5G, a brand-new iPad Air, and new Macs.
We begin the road to M2
For Apple professionals, the introduction of new Macs may be the most interesting news. We think the company will introduce a higher-end Mac mini with faster M1 Pro or M1 Max chips and a slimmed-down design. The company is also expected to introduce a 13-in. MacBook Pro equipped with the first M2 chip to emerge from Apple’s silicon development labs. This will become the entry-level model to the M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro systems Apple now offers.
When Apple introduces the M2 chip, we’ll have a much better insight into how the company plans to iterate Apple silicon processors in Macs in future.
After all, the M2 will likely appear in higher-end MacBook Pro models, probably under the M2 Pro and M2 Max brands. It will be informative, then, to find out how the M2 processor compares to the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in terms of computational power and performance. Will Apple focus on performance? Or will it choose to focus on graphics performance in the second iteration of its chips?
The “Peek performance” title matters here, I think. This also matters as we inevitably accelerate toward introduction of 3nm Mac chips, potentially in 2023 or 2024.
Current speculation anticipates the M2 chip will boast an 8-core CPU, but with up to 10-core GPU for speed, efficiency and graphics performance.
[Also read: One year on, developers still love Apple Silicon Macs]
The lowest-cost 5G iPhone SE
Apple is also expected to introduce the new iPhone SE as the most affordable 5G-enabled smartphone in its range. There has been plenty of speculation regarding price, but whatever the cost turns out to be, it’s reasonable to anticipate carriers will already be preparing to introduce the new hardware with a variety of deals as they seek to boost 5G adoption. They want to turn their new 5G networks into profit centers, after all.
No significant design changes are expected, which means thicker bezels and a Touch ID/Home button.
One thing that will change, however, should be the introduction of a faster A-series chip. Most currently expect an A15 processor in the device, which is the same as in the current iPhone 13 range.
The device should help Apple expand its market and will almost certainly be of interest to consumers seeking inexpensive access to 5G. Enterprise customers will also take an interest in this, as it becomes a low-cost way to equip staff with reliable 5G devices.
The product should also push into sections of the smartphone market currently occupied by Oppo, Samsung, Huawei, and others.
The powerful iPad Air improves
I recently discussed the iPad Air. To reprise some of the anticipated changes on the still-fantastic 2020 model, expect:
- A faster A15 Bionic chip.
- The introduction of 5G as an option.
- A higher-resolution 12MP FaceTime camera with Center Stage.
- New colors (possibly reflected in the event invite).
The latter should be of use to any remote enterprise professional spending lots of time in video collaboration sessions. Center Stage now works with most leading video services and helps ensure you are in the frame of the meeting as you move around the room.
Apple’s event will be streamed on its events website and made available via the Apple TV app on March 8. I’ll be Tweeting the news as it comes through and bringing a more in-depth post-event piece here.
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