Feature

iPhone 14, MacBook Air & more - What the rest of Apple's 2022 looks like

article thumbnail

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

The first Apple Event of 2022 is behind us, but there's still a lot more hardware to come. Here's everything else Apple is rumored to reveal later in the year.

Apple's March 8 "Peek Performance" event introduced a number of changes to the product catalog, including some expected changes alongside a few surprises. The iPhone SE was refreshed, as was the iPad Air, but Apple also revealed the ground-breaking Mac Studio and Mac Studio Display as well.

As a company that measures billions in revenue, well-funded research and development, and a sizable product catalog covering multiple sectors, it's almost certain that there are more launches on the way. The regularity of Apple's product updates and event schedule each year practically guarantees that as a fact.

Naturally, the rumor mill offers many hot takes, speculation, and leaks about what Apple will release next. Though most of the time it gets things wrong, like the items rumored for the March event that didn't materialize, product forecasts by observers are numerous. Some of those rumors will be right — or close to it.

With many more months left in the year, there's still a massive amount of time for Apple to introduce new hardware to the public.

This is what you can probably expect to see Apple show off before the end of 2022.

When's the next product launch?

Apple tends to hold events in three periods of the year. Apple's March events are usually the earliest.

The next major event for Apple will be WWDC, which takes place in June of each year. While it is a developer-focused event, with the attention squarely on Apple's operating systems and software, Apple has used it to discuss hardware.

After that, the next period would be the fall launches. Though usually considered to be the September event for iPhone launches, Apple has tended to spread its announcements into October, and in 2020, November.

And, all year, there's the potential for a sneak press release. After all, the second-generation iPhone SE was released that way.

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro in September

Confidence: Almost Certain

Of all of the product launches on this list, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro are the most likely to occur. Apple has regularly launched iPhones during its fall event, even during a pandemic. It would take something world-changing for Apple to miss out on releasing an iPhone in 2022.

As far as rumors suggest, the model will feature a few notable external design changes, such as changing out the infamous notch for a hole-punch camera arrangement. There may be a hole punch and pill for the Pro line, but a change of some form is expected.

A render of the rear of an 'iPhone 14 Pro'

Around the back, the camera bump will also change, in that it is believed to disappear completely. Instead, you'll have a completely flat back to the iPhone. Behind the bump, there could also be a move to a 48-megapixel sensor.

There have been murmurs of size changes, including the suggestion that the "mini" model will be dropped in favor of two 6.1-inch and two 6.7-inch models.

While introducing a new iPhone would usually involve an upgrade of chip, it may not necessarily be the case for 2022. In March, it was proposed the Pro models could move to an "A16" chip, while the non-Pro stick on A15 for another year.

Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch SE, and a third option in September

Confidence: Very Good

Anticipated for a late 2022 launch, the Apple Watch Series 8 is thought to include a new flat-sided aesthetic, following after minimal changes in the Apple Watch Series 7. A curved glass cover and rounded edges are still expected, but overall it shouldn't be as round as previous models.

Though glucose monitoring may not arrive in 2022, temperature sensors may still be, with the belief it could detect abnormal body conditions such as an onset fever before more noticeable symptoms manifest.

The Apple Watch Series 8 render shows the flat side design of the new model.
The Apple Watch Series 8 render shows the flat side design of the new model.

You might not be limited to just two screen sizes for 2022. In October, an analyst offered that users shouldn't be "surprised" if three sizes are available this time around.

There are usually updates to the internals, though few details are being spread. However, it may not be the only Apple Watch to be updated.

There could be three Apple Watch models launched in 2022, with an updated Apple Watch SE accompanied by a new rugged model that should be useful for fitness and outdoor enthusiasts.

Mac mini in late 2022

Confidence: Very Good

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.

Retaining the same general square puck shape, the updated 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. Around the back are believed to be considerably more ports than the first M1 Mac mini, with four Thunderbolt ports accompanied by two USB-A ports, Ethernet and HDMI, and possibly the magnetic charging connection from the 24-inch iMac.

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

Inside the Mac mini, reports have said that M1 Pro and M1 Max versions could be introduced, though so could an M2 variant.

However, while it was heavily hyped for the spring event, the Mac mini was a no-show. The introduction of the Mac Studio reusing the existing Mac mini design aesthetic also calls into question whether the visual revamp could take place at all.

Despite not appearing in March, the age of the first Apple Silicon generation lends itself to an update at some point in the year.

That being said, not all is guaranteed. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said on March 11 that it may end up being released in 2023.

Mac Pro

Confidence: Maybe in 2022, 2023 feels more likely.

The last current Mac model to make the transition to Apple Silicon, the Mac Pro has been rumored about for a while. Though we don't have any firm details about it, we are at least sure that Apple's working on it.

During the March event, Apple SVP of Hardware Engineering John Ternus confirmed that the Mac Pro was on Apple's radar, but aside from alluding to some form of M-series chip being used, the conversation about it would have to wait for "another day."

The problem with the Mac Pro rumors is, aside from the relative lack of solid information, that many could easily be interpreted as rumors that should've been about the Mac Studio instead.

An early render of a smaller Mac Pro, though this could easily be the Mac Studio.
An early render of a smaller Mac Pro, though this could easily be the Mac Studio.

Early renders posited a G4 Cube-like device, though this could've been the Mac Studio. Even May 2021 discussions about a 20 to 40-core CPU and a 64 to 128-core GPU. The M1 Ultra in the Mac Studio, basically two M1 Max chips attached to each other, has a 20-core CPU and up to 64-core GPU, which may have informed the Mac Pro's rumors.

A March leak seemingly suggests an expansion of the M1 Ultra could be used for this purpose, joining together two M1 Ultras to achieve the higher core counts.

As for when it will turn up, many rumors and leakers say a late 2022 launch was plausible for the model. Analyst Kuo said just before the March event that it would arrive in 2023, but given Apple's comments, there's still hope for an earlier launch.

MacBook Air in late 2022

Confidence: Very Good

Another of the first Apple Silicon releases, the MacBook Air will probably be updated at some point in 2022.

Like the Mac mini, the updated MacBook Air is thouht to undergo a significant redesign. A 24-inch iMac-inspired color change is expected, one speculated since mid-2021.

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

The 13.3-inch display could be updated to include mini-LED backlighting, matching the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro. A notch in the display has also been proposed, to make the screen fill up more of the top lid's viewable surface area, while still providing space for a webcam.

The FaceTime HD camera is expected to be a 1080p version with an ultra-wide lens, enabling support for Center Stage.

On the outside, it could gain MagSafe support for secure and safe charging. Inside, the M2 chip could be used, though M1 Pro and M1 Max seem unlikely.

iPad Pro in mid to late 2022

Confidence: Good

Apple has updated the iPad Pro on a 14 to 16-month cycle for the last few iterations. In theory, if Apple continues the trend, that firmly puts an iPad Pro refresh in mid to late 2022.

Though somewhat plausible for an update in 2022, especially considering the iPad Air has been updated to use the same chip, the rumors so far have been about general technology concepts rather than specifics, and primarily for models beyond 2022.

An iPad Pro connected to an external drive.
An iPad Pro connected to an external drive.

For example, talk about new sizes is for future models. While there has been allusions to OLED displays, they again have centered on 2023 and 2024 releases.

Coming back to the 2022 product upgrades, there has been the suggestion that the 11-inch iPad Pro could gain the mini LED backlighting that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has. This is a fairly obvious assumption to make, since it's quite likely for Apple to implement.

On the design side, there was a rumor from June 2021 that Apple was considering adding a glass back to the 2022 models. As well as bringing the iPad Pro in line with the iPhone's aesthetics, it would also enable wireless charging via MagSafe.

13-inch MacBook Pro

Confidence: Maybe

The third of the initial Apple Silicon trio of releases, the 13-inch MacBook Pro can also undertake an update soon, though there have been relatively few rumors about the model. 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 mini LED ProMotion-equipped display as used in the larger models, along with lower amounts of storage and processing capabilities, ensuring it is an entry-level model to consumers.

There has also been speculation that Apple could introduce a version of the 14-inch MacBook Pro as an intended replacement of the 13-inch as the entry-level MacBook Pro. At least, according to a January 17 leak.

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 for a possible March release.

While there were claims of a March event launch on the cards, they didn't materialize. If it is to appear, it may do so as a press release-based update if it's for the early parts of the year, otherwise, it faces unveiling in the fall.

14-inch MacBook Pro, 16-inch MacBook Pro

Confidence: Maybe

While they were released in late 2021, the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro have a chance of being updated in late, if only because of the march of Apple Silicon.

The problem is that it's equally possible that such an update could occur in early 2023 instead. One rumor does help the 2022 case, though it's more for the 14-inch model.

In January, a reputable leaker said that there would be a 14-inch MacBook Pro in the second half of 2022 that would use the M2 chip.

In theory, it would be an entry-level replacement model taking over from the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

If valid, then this would only apply to the 14-inch model, as the rumor doesn't mention the 16-inch at all. This could mean a 2022 update for the 14-inch is more likely than the 16-inch, at least not for the full-fat version.

Big Screen iMac or iMac Pro

Confidence: Maybe

With Apple previously offering two sizes of iMac in its Intel-based catalog, it made sense for rumors to spout about an iMac larger than the 24-inch model, one that could feasibly replace the old 27-inch iMac.

An AppleInsider render of a potential iMac Pro.
An AppleInsider render of a potential iMac Pro.

An April 2021 rumor, ahead of the 24-inch model's launch, said Apple was working on a version with a screen that was bigger than 27 inches. The following July had another mention of a bigger model in a rumor. Later the same month, a rumor said a new "high-end iMac" would launch in 2022 as Apple "does not want their devices to compete for attention."

This larger-screened iMac may be a different class of product, potentially an iMac Pro revival. An October leak said an "iMac (Pro)" was due in the first half of 2022, one with ProMotion and Mini LED in the display, dark bezels, and a "similar design to iMac 24 and Pro Display XDR."

That model apparently included 16GB of memory in the base model, along with 512GB of storage, M1 Pro or M1 Max chips, Ethernet on the power brick, and potentially Face ID. That model would supposedly cost "over $2000" for its base configuration.

On January 23, leaker "Dylandkt" said they had "received confirmation that there will be an additional configuration for the upcoming iMac Pro beyond M1 Max," indicating it could be a fourth-generation M1 chip. While that could mean the M1 Ultra, the leaker said it would use a 12-core CPU, a different value from all of the M1 chips currently announced by Apple.

The same month, Bloomberg doubled down on the idea of an iMac Pro in 2022 with a 24-inch iMac facelift.

However, by late January, DSCC's Ross Young expected the iMac Pro to come out "more like summer," and have a miniLED backlight. On February 14, Ross narrowed down the launch to June.

Two things are going against the iMac Pro or a larger iMac though. During the March event, Apple SVP of Hardware John Ternus used language saying there was only one more Mac to go in the Apple Silicon transition, which would be the Mac Pro. This doesn't directly discount an iMac Pro or a larger iMac, but it doesn't improve its chances either.

Secondly, on March 11, analyst Kuo offered that an iMac Pro wouldn't arrive until 2023.

iPad

Confidence: Maybe

Apple last updated the ninth-generation 10.2-inch iPad in September 2021, continuing the cadence of releases for the last few years.

The problem is that, unlike the iPhone and many other Apple products, the iPad doesn't tend to have many rumors far out from its launch. Short of a significant change in form factor or other feature alterations, you won't really hear much about it aside from it being both on the way and with some highly-guessable spec bumps.

So far, we've not heard anything about it, but it's a regular-as-clockwork release now, so it's probably coming out this fall.

Plentiful rumors, but numerous and conflicting

We have to stress that this is still very early in the year for Apple's product release cycle. There's a few months before the typically hardware-light WWDC and half a year until the major launch events occur.

There's plenty of time for rumors and leaks to surface, and as usual, we won't usually get the most accurate ones until much closer to the events.

Also,the industry of rumors has significantly grown with the rise of social media and the Internet in general. We are seeing many more rumors in early 2022 being spread around. There are also more analyst musings, both accurate and off-base, than ever before.

It's becoming much harder to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The critical thing to remember is that rumors and leaks are largely speculation, educated guesses, and the occasional genuine leak from the supply chain or other areas. You can't realistically hold onto a rumor as the absolute truth, at least without a reasonable amount of evidence to back it all up.

The real truth will only be revealed by Tim Cook and company during Apple's product launches and special events.