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iPhone SE, iPad Air, MacBook Air, more - what to expect from Apple's spring event

Apple's spring event is on March 8, and is rumored to feature a 5G iPhone SE among several product launches. Here's what you can expect to see during Apple's first event of 2022.

Apple typically holds some form of special event in the spring, as the first event of its kind for the year. While fall's event typically features the flagship iPhone line, and the mid-year WWDC focuses on Apple's operating systems and software, the early event can end up covering many different areas of Apple's hardware empire.

Rumors have already put forward guesses and speculation about what Apple's next generation of products will be like as they arrive throughout 2022. This is what AppleInsider believes will be making an appearance at the March 8 Apple event.

iPhone SE

An updated iPhone SE is one of the most likely items to be included in the special event, with numerous rumors since October 2021 claiming it will be arriving sometime in spring 2022. Naturally, it would be a main feature of a spring special event, and listings at the EEC regulatory database certainly indicate it could be on the way soon.

There has also been a claim it is being actively tested in India.

The iPhone SE (Second Generation) from 2020 could gain 5G in 2022.

The chief change for the model is thought to be 5G connectivity, making it a value-based option for consumers wanting to use the faster carrier networks. Rumors certainly insist on 5G support, but not if the high-speed mmWave element will be included.

Aside from 5G, rumors point to the iPhone SE as mainly a specifications bump in nature. That could entail being equipped with the A15 SoC, changes in storage, and some other internal features of the current-generation iPhone models.

As for the appearance, it seems that the smartphone will retain its existing appearance and 4.7-inch display. There has been some talk of a design update with a larger screen, but in a future release.

On March 4, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined expectations for the iPhone SE, including its 64, 128, and 256GB storage capacities, A15, 5G support, similar form factor, and white, black, and red colorings.

iPad Air

The "iPad Air 5" is also a strong contender for a spring event, with it too appearing in rumors about a potential spring launch. Like the iPhone SE, it too has seemingly surfaced in EEC database listings, hinting at a potential launch in the near future.

Apple's iPad Air could have a spec bump in 2022.
Apple's iPad Air could have a spec bump in 2022.

Current speculation about the fifth-generation model includes upgrades to enable 5G support, along with an upgrade to the A15 Bionic chip. It's also tipped to include a 12-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with Center Stage support, though there was some early talk from July 2021 about using a dual-camera system on the back, a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, and the continuing use of Touch ID.

Rumors have also been indecisive about the display's technology. While some rumors said an OLED iPad Air was out of the question, there has also been the suggestion OLED for iPad use is also being worked on, which may or may not include the iPad Air.

However, this is still unlikely, as Apple is unlikely to include a display technology that will out-perform the mini LED display used in the iPad Pro range.

Mac mini

A major update to the Mac mini has been rumored for some time, with claims from mid-2021 including a radical redesign of the smallest Mac Apple currently sells.

While retaining the same general square puck shape, the design of the Mac mini is thought to include a metal rim and a polycarbonate top, along with rubber feet instead of a circular base.

An AppleInsider render of the rear of an updated Mac mini
An AppleInsider render of the rear of an updated Mac mini

Around the back are thought to be considerably more ports than the first M1 Mac mini, with four Thunderbolt ports accompanied by two USB-A ports, Ethernet, and HDMI. Borrowing the idea from the 24-inch iMac, it is also speculated that the Mac mini could inherit the magnetic charging connection.

A report earmarked the model for a spring event launch due to it being among the first Apple Silicon models to ship, which makes sense considering the timeframe and later Apple Silicon developments. M1 Pro and M1 Max versions have been offered in rumors, though it could use a further-developed M1 chip, or an M2 release.

Two days before the event, Mark Gurman reiterated expectations of a Mac mini launch, one that could use an M1 Pro or M2 chip.

MacBook Air

Another of the earliest Apple Silicon releases, the MacBook Air could probably get an update in the spring event.

Much like the Mac mini, the updated MacBook Air is anticipated to undergo a significant redesign. The most obvious is a color change, with the 24-inch iMac possibly inspiring that front, as speculated since mid-2021.

An AppleInsider render of an updated MacBook Air
An AppleInsider render of an updated MacBook Air

Along with the color, the 13.3-inch display could be updated to include mini-LED backlighting like the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro. A notch in the display has also been posited, to make the screen fill up more of the displayable surface while still providing webcam functionality.

That webcam is expected to be a 1080p component with an ultra-wide lens, providing Center Stage support. MagSafe support has also been touted in rumors.

On the inside, the MacBook Air is thought to sport the M2 chip, which will apparently be better than the M1, but not necessarily the M1 Pro nor M1 Max.

13-inch MacBook Pro

There have been relatively few rumors about a refresh of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it too could appear at the spring event. As part of the initial Apple Silicon trio of releases, it has been identified as one of the models that stands a good chance of an update soon.

As a similar device to the MacBook Air, it will probably have the same internal updates, such as the M2 chip and a new FaceTime camera.

A current-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro
A current-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro

However, one report from February 6 claims that the 13-inch MacBook Pro won't have the same overhaul as the 14-inch and 16-inch counterparts. It apparently won't have the same mini LED ProMotion-equipped display as the larger models, and it will have lesser storage and processing capabilities to keep the price low as an entry-level model.

The lack of significant changes could be due to Apple intending to introduce a 14-inch MacBook Pro variant later in 2022 that could become the new entry-level MacBook Pro model, a leaker claimed on January 17.

Despite the potential replacement, it seems that Apple wants to progress with a 13-inch model update soon. On February 8, a report said Chinese component suppliers worked through the country's Lunar New Year holiday to meet a March release for a MacBook Pro update.

Mark Gurman also said in a newsletter on February 20 that the 13-inch MacBook Pro update would form part of the event.

Apple External Monitor

One of the more outside-chance items to appear, Apple has been rumored to be working on a successor to the Pro Display XDR for a while. This included claims of multiple monitors in development, and even a cheaper alternative to the Pro Display XDR itself.

Up until February, there was no indication of when it could launch, but pre-event rumors in March went into overdrive.

Apple's Pro Display XDR could be joined by a second monitor.
Apple's Pro Display XDR could be joined by a second monitor.

On March 4, Apple was claimed to be working on an "Apple Studio Display," one that would have a high 7K resolution. This would be higher than the Pro Display XDR's 6K screen, though it is unknown if the new screen would be any bigger or be the same 32-inch size with a higher pixel density.

That monitor, allegedly referred to as the J327, would have a dedicated Apple Silicon processor to handle the image.

Two days later on March 6, Mark Gurman offered that a new "next-generation external display" could turn up at the event, as he was "told Apple actually completed work on it months ago." However, Gurman didn't offer any specifications about the display to indicate if it was the Apple Studio Display or another output device.

One day before the event, on March 7, renders surfaced claiming to show Apple's new display that would allegedly appear in the presentation. The image seems to show a 27-inch monitor inspired by the Pro Display XDR, albeit lacking the circular hole pattern in the rear casing and having a stand design similar to the 24-inch iMac.

Mac Studio

A very late render of the so-called
A very late render of the so-called "Mac Studio"

While a new Mac mini is a firm favorite for the event, Apple may introduce another Mac, in what is being tentatively called the "Mac Studio."

Rumors from January said that Apple was working on a smaller version of the Mac Pro that runs on Apple Silicon. The device was said to have a chip with up to 40 CPU cores and a GPU with up to 128 cores.

Going back to January 2021, very early rumors said the small Mac Pro would be a G4 Cube-like concept, one that initially looked like a taller than normal Mac mini.

In March, in the days before the event, speculation about the device spiked, starting with a March 4 report using the name "Mac Studio." Said to slot in between the Mac mini and Mac Pro, it was claimed to be mostly based on the Mac mini design, with two versions using either an M1 Max or a more powerful chip.

On Monday, renders surfaced for the "Mac Studio," depicting it as being roughly the same height as two stacked Mac minis, or roughly four inches tall.

The render showed it as having silver sides and a separate white top, matching previous Mac mini design rumors, with the unit also having a vented stand section.