Apple March 2016 'Loop you in' event preview

In March of 2011, Steve Jobs took to the keynote stage to introduce the iPad 2 and to tell us technology alone was not enough. That was the beginning of the modern Apple spring event. In 2012, it saw the introduction of the Retina iPad (iPad 3) and the 1080p version of the Apple TV. Then, in 2013... nothing. In 2014... nothing again. It wasn't until 2015 that Apple held another March event, and that year brought the final Apple Watch introduction and the all-new MacBook. Now rumor has it Apple will be holding another March event in 2016 — for the iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and new Apple Watch bands.

When is the spring event this year?

March 21st, 2016 starting at 10am. Here's what it says:

Let us loop you in.Please join us for a special invitation-only event at the Apple campus in Cupertino on March 21.

Commence with the Loop insight!

Where is the event going to be held?

Apple's campus located on Infinite Loop in Cupertino at Town Hall, which is the company's small on-site venue for these types of events.

It's where, for example, Apple held the October 2014 event that saw the introduction of the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, and Retina 5K iMac.

What's with the iPhone SE?

The iPhone SE is rumored to be an updated 4-inch iPhone that packs the performance and optics of the 2015 iPhone 6s into a case pretty much identical to the 2013 iPhone 5s. In other words, incredible power in an itty-bitty package.

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, should hand off to senior vice-president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller to give use the complete intro.

Read our full iPhone SE rumor roundup

And the 9.7-inch iPad Pro?

Last year came and went without an update to Apple's original 9.7-inch iPad — in other words, no iPad Air 3. Instead, we got a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This year, rumor has it, Apple will be bringing that pro-ductivity (sorry!) down to the Air size.

That should include support for the Apple Pencil and the Apple Smart Connector, which enables the Apple Smart Keyboard and third party keyboard like the Logitech Create.

Again, we should get the full Phil Schiller tour.

Read our 9.7-inch iPad Pro rumor roundup

Rose gold for both?

We'd love to see it!

Watch bands... but no Watches?

The original Apple Watch hardware isn't even a year old, and we've never had an update cycle before, so it's possible Apple will go 18 months or more before the Watch goes next generation.

In the meantime, space black Milanese loops might be ready to go into production, and recent rumors suggest new sports bands and even an all-new Nato strap option might be made available as well.

We could even see new Hermès products, but it's unclear how or if those would integrate with the existing Watches.

Read our Apple Watch bands roundtable

What about new Macs?

Apple's Mac roadmap is dependent, in part, on Intel's chipset roadmap. Currently most MacBooks run on Broadwell processors. Skylake has been shipping for a while though.

We'd love new MacBooks, of course, but Apple loves focus. Last March saw the new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, this year it's six to five and pick'em whether we get anything early or have to wait until WWDC in June.

Anything on the software side?

iPhone 6s Plus

iPhone 6s Plus (Image credit: iMore)

Apple recently put iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2, and tvOS 9.2 into beta. When better to launch them than during the March event? If that's the case, we could even see a Craig Federighi walk through of the new education features for iPad, right on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and perhaps Night Shift on the iPhone 5se.

Then it's just a matter of whether he announces the Gold Master for developers, or the release version of everyone. Typically, it'd be the former.

What about the FBI?

Apple goes back to court the day after the event, fighting stop the FBI from compelling the company to create a version of iOS that would be easier and faster to crack open. It's one of the most important civil liberties issues of our time, but it's not something we'd expect Tim Cook to dwell on at a product event at the expense of new products.

One more thing...?

The last "one more thing" was back in June 2015 with Apple Music. Before that it was September 2014 with Apple Watch. If Apple has anything it believes is as important as those two projects, it's possible. But given the on-campus setting, it's probably not likely.

Read our Apple March Event editors' roundtable

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.