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It looks like Apple is forging ahead with the much-rumoured spring event date of March 8 after all, with legitimate invites that have just gone out to the press.
After a fake event announcement yesterday and the passing of the usual pre-event deadline for media invitations, many folks assumed that Apple would be pushing its spring event into later March, or possibly even April.
It would have been an understandable move in light of the heartbreaking events going on in Ukraine now, and in fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Apple’s delay in sending out invites was the result of many of its executives being preoccupied with the company’s sanctions against Russia over the ongoing invasion of its neighbouring country.
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Today, however, Apple has officially sent out invites for an event next Tuesday, March 8, offering up the somewhat cheeky tagline Peek performance.
As with the past several events during the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple’s spring event will be held entirely virtually, broadcast live on Apple’s YouTube channel, website, and directly in the Apple TV app on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. It’s scheduled to kick off at the usual time of 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET.
This year’s invite is once again likely to kick off a whole round of speculation as Apple fans search for hidden meanings within the text and graphics. While “Peek Performance” certainly feels like more of a veiled hint of something compared to yesterday’s faked “Something’s Up” invite, it’s still likely an oblique reference at best.
Besides, we already have a pretty good idea of what’s coming anyway, at least in broad strokes. The rumour mill has been all abuzz for months about a new 5G-capable iPhone SE, and we’re also overdue for a new fifth-generation iPad Air.
However, there’s evidence that Apple could have up to nine new iPad models waiting in the wings. While some of these would obviously be variations, such as Wi-Fi only and multiple Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the same iPad, it’s still difficult to see how a single new iPad Air would count for so many model numbers.
Remember that Apple doesn’t use different model numbers for capacity and colour variations, so even though the iPad Air 4 came in five colours, three capacities, and four different Wi-Fi and cellular configurations, it’s only this last category that accounts for different model numbers. Specifically, all iPad Air 4 Wi-Fi-only models shared a single number regardless of colour or capacity, while Apple also offered three unique Wi-Fi + Cellular versions to account for regional differences in carriers and LTE frequencies.
Although the iPad Air will almost certainly get 5G capabilities this time around, that won’t be enough to account for so many additional models unless Apple plans to continue selling 4G/LTE versions as well, which doesn’t seem likely. The 5G iPad Pro lineup also only consists of four models for each of the 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, but we have no reason to believe that Apple will offer the iPad Air in more than one size.
What’s more likely, though, is that Apple could choose to refresh its 9th-generation iPad with 5G capabilities. Combined with the expected 5G iPhone SE, this would bring Apple’s entire current mobile device family into the 5G era.
The M2 MacBook Pro
Until last month, we weren’t really expecting much more than a new iPhone SE and new iPads, but then suddenly news appeared that Apple was working on a new MacBook Pro, too.
While it’s not entirely clear what form this new MacBook Pro will take, it’s hard to believe Apple would refresh that model unless it had something big in store. Originally, some sources said it might adopt the 14-inch design of the higher-end MacBook Pro, but that hope was dashed by later rumours.
If Apple is keeping the same design, however, then the only other thing it could be doing is using the entry-level MacBook Pro to introduce its next-generation M2 chip.
We’d expected that to make its first appearance in an all-new MacBook Air — and we can’t entirely rule out the chance it could be part of next week’s event — but it’s also possible that Apple wants to distinguish the MacBook Pro by giving it a leg-up on its more affordable cousins.
It’s also quite likely that a new Mac mini will show up on Tuesday, although it’s hard to say what form that will take. There’s been virtually no solid news out of Apple’s supply chain on this one, but that wouldn’t be unexpected if Apple only plans to release an M1 Pro version that remains unchanged on the outside. After all, it’s much easier for a new Mac to fly under the radar when it looks the same as the old one. Either way, we’ll find out in only six days.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]