Did you hear? Apple is hosting an event out in California on Monday. We’ll be there – Jon is flying up with our cameraman Ron to sit and watch as Apple unveils whatever it has planned, and to snap photos and record videos of the products. But what the heck is going to be announced? Thanks to plenty of rumors, and really mostly 9to5Mac‘s Mark Gurman, we have a general idea of what’s going to go down. Let’s take a look.
The iPhone SE seems like a lock at this point. Rumor has it Apple’s going to drop a new 4-inch iPhone, the first such device since the iPhone 5s. But, unlike the iPhone 5c, it’s not going to be some under-powered “unapologetically plastic” smartphone. Instead, Apple will reportedly beef it up with the latest A9 and M9 processors, bringing it right on a par with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, just with a smaller display. There might be some sacrifices here and there – 3D touch probably won’t be included – but it should just be a smaller powerhouse. Oh, and the latest rumors this morning suggest it will look like the iPhone 5s.
I don’t know what this is going to be called yet, but rumor also has it Apple is going to launch a smaller version of the iPad Pro with a 9.7-inch display. That should technically make it the iPad Air 3, which never launched, though we’re expecting surround-sound speakers and Apple Pencil support, too. Given those features, it sounds like this will be called the iPad Pro mini, or something along those lines. Expect a keyboard accessory and most of the functionality and hardware, including the A9X processor, in a smaller package. Rumor has it the iPad Pro mini will start at $599, which an easier pill to swallow than the iPad Pro’s price.
9to5Mac is pretty confident we’ll learn more about new Apple Watch bands and partnerships with Apple on third-party options, too. Rumor has it we’ll see new versions of Apple’s rubber “sport bands,” which suggests we’ll just get a bunch of new colors. I’m guessing some nice pastels for the Easter season, but who knows. Also, 9to5Mac said we’ll see a black Milanese loop introduced in addition to new NATO-style bands. Those are the cloth bands that are usually pretty cheap and ship with popular watches like the Timex Weekender.
Apple has a bunch of software in beta testing right now, including new versions of Apple watchOS, iOS, tvOS and OS X. We might learn more about the launch of iOS 9.3 and the features it includes, for example, though a lot of that isn’t necessarily “news” since it’s widely available for everyone to test right now. If Apple is taking the time to discuss the iPad Pro mini and iPhone SE, however, it could be a perfect time to transition into new iOS 9.3 features.
It’s about time for Apple to refresh the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The MacRumors product guide shows that Apple hasn’t updated the Retina MacBook Pro in 304 days but averages an update every 214 days, for example. The MacBook has been on the market for 343 days, too, so it’s time to refresh both. Apple could move to the new Core M processor on the MacBook and update the MacBook Pro with the latest Core i processors from Intel. It’s possible this won’t happen, but we’ll see.