iPhone 14. MagSafe iPad Pro. Mac mini Pro. iMac Pro. Mac Pro. New AirPods Pro. Just… so much Pro! But also, new MacBook Air. iPhone SE 3. Apple Watch SE 2. Apple Watch… Extreme. And maybe, just maybe, Apple VR.
I’m Rene Ritchie and this… and if you thought 2021 was Apple-packed… just wait’ll we get a load of 2022!
Ok, so… Apple mostly holds events in Spring. Mostly. Last year April, year before canceled, year before that, March… for Oprah. But Spring 2022 could indeed have more than a few highly-anticipated new and updated devices on deck.
Last year it was a purple iPhone 12, so maybe a purple iPhone 13. That or the long-rumored orange… I wouldn’t say no. Also, with the original iPhone SE debuting in the spring of 2016 and iPhone SE 2 in the spring of 2020, Apple could be speeding up that schedule and going with iPhone SE 3 as soon as spring of 2022. But with nowhere nearly as big of an update. Just swapping out the Intel LTE modem for a Qualcomm 5G modem, and the A13 chipset for an A15. But, yeah, no idea how they’re going to manage battery life with all that new iPhone 13 silicon in all that same old iPhone 8 shell…
Too soon for an AirTags update, but maybe, finally AirPods Pro: The Next Generation. They launched in 2019, about 8 months after AirPods 2. But now we’re on on AirPods 3… so, carry the 8… divide by zero, and it sure feels like time. Same great active noise cancelation, new smaller stems, more like Beats Studio Pro. But with H1, Apple’s original headphones chip, or are we finally going to see H2?
We got the A12Z iPad Pro in the spring of 2020 and the M1 in the spring of 2021, which is faster than the 18 month cycle they were on before. So, if M2 is good to go, we could see a new iPad Pro for third spring in a row. And that would include better single core performance, up to two extra graphics cores, ProRes Media Engines, same great mini-LED on the front but now with MagSafe on back. Maybe MacBook plug style, maybe iPhone puck style, but either way, with full-on structural integrity so I don’t have to watch any more unboxers or tear-downers bend any more iPads not ever again. And I’ll have my full preview for the 2022 iPad Pro up soon, so hit that subscribe button and bell like they stole your Ronin suit. Or whatever.
If Apple wants to roll out all the M2, all at once, like they did with M1 at the end of 2020, we could also see the redesigned MacBook Air… or just MacBook… Depending on how Apple wants to brand it. I vote the latter. The original Air and original 12-inch MacBook both debuted in the first half of their respective years. But Apple isn’t nostalgic. They’re operational. They’ll announce what they want to announce as soon as it’s ready to ship. And that means yeah, M2, but also mini-LED, MagSafe, and an all-new, all-white bezeled design. Maybe alongside an M2 two-port MacBook Pro as well. Just… update all the ultra-lower power things.
Last year we also got the new 24-inch M1 iMac, but what many of us are still waiting for is the newer-than-new 27- to 32-inch iMac please brand it Pro. Mini-LED display, nano-texture option, more ports, and M1 Pro, M1 Max, and maybe even a dual M1 Max chipset option. Because what every pro needs is a little workstation built right into in their display. Speaking of which, there are still rumors of a new, way less than $5 thousand dollar, stand included, Apple display on the agenda, but nothing to indicate it’s any time soon. But please, I need it.
Fast-forward to summer, and Apple’s annual world wide developers conference, WWDC should hit us first week of June. Biggest question is whether or not it’ll be the first in-person event since the fall of 2019, you know, just before the world started ending. But as with 2020 and 2020 jr., we’ll have to wait and see if we actually get a for-real 2022 yet, or if it’s just 2020: Let There Be Carnage. The second biggest question is whether Apple will announce or even just tease the next Mac Pro. That’s what they did in 2013 for the trashcan and 2019 for the revenge of the cheesegrater. Same modular design, but instead of Intel Xeon and AMD Navi blast furnaces in the belly, dual or quad M1 Max instead, for even better performance… and no water cooling needed. That, and the Mac mini Pro with the new design and M1 Pro and M1 Max inside would make every developer in the house — or at home — supremely happy. Along with iOS and iPadOS 16, tvOS 16, watchOS 9, and macOS… a little help Craig? Um… No
Now, some WWDCs, like last year’s, there’s no new hardware. Others, like 2017, there’s, well… all the new hardware. Most years, it’s mixed. And there have been rumors of a more powerful, more gaming focused Apple TV, a hybrid Apple TV HomePod for home theater, and a hybrid HomePod and iPad for kitchens and bedrooms. The Apple TV would have an A14 or better and an Apple-designed gamepad. The HomePod Theater would have room-filling — and shaking — Atmos and spatial audio. The Home… Pad would have a display and Center Stage for full-on family FaceTime fun. But if and where any of that is on the actual roadmap for next year or the year after, we’ll have to wait and see.
Assuming Apple and the world stays on track, new iPhones in September should be fully back to being just the safest bet in tech. And that means iPhone 14. Which is expected to be another redesign, this time even more iPhone 4 than iPhone 5, deleting the iPhone mini, but adding a new iPhone Biggie… like a Max but non-Pro. So, goodbye slightly less expensive small phone, hello much less expensive big phone. And with hole punches instead of notches so you can still tell the Pros apart. But tiny process node for the A16 chipset — presumably TSMC’s brand new 3 nanometers, just in time for Kang and the Quantum Realm. Also, better cameras, of course. Of course. Of course. And maybe a port. Maybe no port. Just hopefully something, anything, that can pull ProRes way, way faster than still 2012-era lightning. Because… damn.
There’ll be an Apple Watch Series 8, but also an Apple Watch SE 2. Six to five and pick’em which one ends up having that flat-edged design that was all over the digital papers last year. And, maybe, a ruggedized Apple Watch Extreme for those who need even more watch for even more on-the-job or cross-country action.
October used to be iPad and Mac month, but for the last couple of years we got iPads in September. Air and Gen 8 in 2020, then mini and Gen 9 in 2021, so this year maybe Air and Gen 10? That’s how Apple seems to be rolling now. A16 on board, maybe even mini-LED, because Apple seems not just intent, but full on content to push that out across the line. Except to the baseline iPad, that should stay non-mini-LCD, but maybe with the rumored size boost to 10.5 inches.
As for Macs, whatever Apple doesn’t manage to push out earlier in the year should close out at the end of the year, at the very outer limits of Tim Cook’s promised two-year transition. And that just leaves Apple’s augmented virtual mixed reality headset. Apple’s… vision… so to speak.
Now, the original iPhone and iPad were both shown off at January events, so the hardware wouldn’t leak and, in the iPad’s case, developers could get a head-start on porting their apps over to the bigger screen. The original Apple Watch debuted in September, much later in the year but for essentially the same reasons. So, it really just depends on timelines. When exactly Apple thinks the product will be stable enough to demo, and how long thereafter they think it’ll take to ship.
My guess is that, if not WWDC, it’ll be late in the year, because that’ll give Apple the most time and the world the most opportunity to return to normalcy, at least enough for an in-person event to really show off the next big thing. Then, whatever new frameworks they snuck into iOS 16 will be ready for primetime building for the new device, and either the whole entire fall, or whole entire winter to get ready to launch.
That way, when we all get our hands — and faces — on dual 4K lenses, spatial audio, M3 and R1 or whatever Apple calls the Reality chip, rOS, or whatever Apple calls the Reality Operating System, and all those sensors and pass-throughs, there’ll be apps aplenty to support it. FaceTime RoundTable, Fitness+ Classes, TV+ Theater, Music+ Concerts, Apple Arcade in actual VR arcades, the whole stack.