Apple's March events vary… a lot… A lot a lot. In the last five years alone, we got the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro in 2016. Nothing in 2017. iPad and education in 2018. Apple News+, Card, Arcade, and TV+ in 2019. And more nothing in 2020. Because 2020. But a new iPhone SE and A12Z iPad Pro shipped anyway. So, what about this year?
You know the drill. Logo. Speed ramp. Drone shot. Apple Park. Transition. Steady Cam. Rapid zoom. Tim Cook. Good Morning! And then… what exactly?
Apple TV 4K+
Maybe Tim stays on camera, or maybe we cut across to Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President of services.
We start with a whole new Apple Remote. Sure, Steve Jobs might have thought the gesture pad cracked the TV interface, but the rest of the controller mostly just broke the experience. So, do-over time. Maybe even with a little U1-surprise inside. But more on that in a minute.
Because the box… well, when it comes to the box, there are two ways Apple could go. We could get a bare-bones upgrade. An A12Z processor so it can better composite HDR and better handle next-generation games, especially next-generation Apple Arcade Games.
Or we could get a higher-end A14X box, one that's geared towards much higher-end entertainment and gaming. Maybe even AAA gaming. Yeah. From Apple. Just everything that's needed to set the stage and get the content — to escalate what we have today to a full-on 8K, spatial audio, VR system tomorrow. And I've already got a whole entire video up on that, link in the description.
Cut back to Tim.
iPad Pro 2021
Last year, Apple re-invented the iPad Air but left the iPad Pro… sort of stuck in between what was and what could be. An extra graphics core, a better camera system, and a new keyboard that really is close to magic.
This year, though, maybe Tim Cook hands off to freshly minted Senior Vice President of Hardware, Jon Ternus, who handled the last big iPad Pro update in 2016, or Laura Legros, who introduced that new Air.
And then maybe, just maybe, we get everything we've been waiting for. A14X processor every bit as powerful and performant as the M1, maybe even with Thunderbolt still on-board. Mini LED display, so it's almost OLED quality when it comes to HDR, just not as finicky and still all 120Hz ProMotion. And, of course, 5G. I've got a video up all on that, too, linked below.
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Post-production pan back to Tim.
iPhone SE Plus
The original iPhone SE back in March of 2016 was perfect for customers who wanted a cheaper or smaller iPhone. The current iPhone SE from March of 2020 isn't that small but sure is cheap, and the new iPhone 12 mini from October 2020 sure is small but isn't that cheap. And splitting that market has been interesting so far, to say the least.
But there are also rumors of another SE. Not good rumors. Not lately. But rumors of an iPhone SE Plus. Not just an iPhone 8 Plus with an A13 or A14 processor, but more of an iPhone 11 without Face ID but with an iPad Air-style Touch ID system in the power button.
If there's any truth to those rumors at all, now, later, ever, then Greg Jozwiak, Joz, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, or Kaiann Drance, Vice President of iPhone Marketing, could be there to tell us all about it.
But… at this point, it's just the biggest of ifs. Even though March has been the home of the SE, this kinda feels too much like fanfic to me right now. I mean, I'd love to see it, but I'll only believe it… when I see it.
Kind of like AirTags, which have been coming since the fall of 2019 but still somehow never quite arriving. If only they had AirTags on them…
But, if Apple really is finally ready to… just… yeet all the tags… then Joz or Kaiann could transition right into the intro.
Tiny little Apple-emblazoned disks you can stick on your keys and wallets, in your gear and gym bags, hell on your pets collars, even kids clothes.
They have U1 chips in them, and they work with Apple's Find my Network, so you can precisely locate anything lost, stolen, or misplaced, like with AR guided precision.
And you know it, I have a deep dive up already explaining just exactly how FindMy works and maintains everyone's privacy at the same time. Hit that link.
Then maybe we cut to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of software engineering, to demo Find My on the AirTags, maybe some 3rd party versions, along with any other new, hardware-specific features coming to iOS 14 this spring.
And dad jokes back to Tim. And to the Mac.
Holy wow, but would I just love to see Phil Schiller, currently the Apple Fellow in charge of events, take the stage one last time for something he's always been almost as passionate about as cameras — Apple audio. But if new AirPods or AirPods Pro or AirPods Max are ready to rock, we'll likely see Bob Borchers do the honors instead, who handled HomePod mini last fall, or maybe Mary-Ann Ionascu, to focus on the features like she did at WWDC.
AirPods 3 are supposed to be more like the current AirPods Pro but without active noise cancellation. AirPods Pro 2 are supposed to be more like the current Pros but without the stems. And AirPods Max Sport are supposed to be like the current Maxes, but without the metal shell or high price tag. You know, unabashedly plastic and maybe around $350 bucks.
I kinda want those Pros, but let me know which, if any, of those you're most excited about in the comments.
The 12-inch MacBook nothing debuted back in March of ought 15, so it's not entirely unprecedented for Apple's oldest product line to get something new again in the spring.
If anything's ready, John Ternus could handle it again like he did last November's M1 Apple Silicon Mac mini and MacBook Pro. Or it could be head of Mac marketing, Tom Boger. Or Laura Metz, Julie Broms, Shruti Haldea, or Colleen Novielli if there's an iMac involved. I mean, the Mac bench is just running so deep right now…
Either way, anyway — pretty much everyone is expecting M1X versions next, or whatever Apple ends up calling a higher-end SoC with up to 12 or 16 performance and graphics cores for even more multitasking might.
A new space gray M1X Mac mini with more ports, more storage, and more memory would be great to see. As would newly redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, with the rumored return of MagSafe charging and an SD card slot. Talk about your Steve Jobs-style screamers.
The next-generation Air still sounds a while away, as does the iMac, and… sure, it's entirely possible we won't get any new Macs, especially redesigns, until WWDC in June anyway. But M1 is so good, and the hype is so high right now, I think pretty much everyone will be expecting them until the second we see them.
One more thing
So, what do you want to see this March?
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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.