Over the last several years, Apple has set a general trend of holding its first special event of the year in March or April. It’s only January, but rumors already show that Apple has a number of different announcements in store for the first part of the year.
Is Apple planning a March event for this year? That remains to be seen, but here’s what could be announced if it does…and it likely all comes down to the fate of one product.
Apple March event history
There are two Apple events per year that are basically guaranteed: WWDC in June and a special event in September, usually for that year’s iPhone announcement. Outside of those two events, Apple regularly holds spring events either in March or April, as well as a fall event in October or November.
Here’s a brief rundown of recent Apple event history for the spring:
- March 8, 2022: “Peak Performance” event with a new iPhone SE, Mac Studio, Studio Display, and more.
- April 20, 2021: “Spring Loaded” event with the 24-inch iMac, AirTag, new iPad Pro, and more.
- March 25, 2019: “It’s show time” event focused on Services, including Apple Card, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade.
- March 27, 2018: “Let’s take a field trip” event in Chicago focused on education and the iPad.
With the exception of 2020, which was a year in which Apple events were heavily impacted by COVID-19, Apple has made a spring event of some sort a regular occurrence. Given all of the possible announcements we’re about to outline, we’d wager that an Apple event in March or April this year is highly likely.
Apple’s AR/VR headset
The elephant in the room right now is Apple’s long-awaited, highly-anticipated augmented reality/virtual reality headset. Apple is directing a ton of resources toward this project, and after multiple delays, it looks like we’re finally nearing an announcement.
Bloomberg recently reported that Apple is planning to announce its AR/VR headset this spring. The company hopes to make the announcement prior to WWDC, which takes place in June. Apple had originally hoped to announce the device in January, but again, delays prevented that from happening.
Even though Apple’s headset is expected to be announced this spring, it won’t go on sale for consumers until later in fall of 2023. Apple is announcing the device ahead of time to gather feedback and give developers time to make plans for the new device. Interestingly, Bloomberg says that Apple has actually already seeded some developers with early units of the headset.
The first version of Apple’s AR/VR headset, potentially named “Reality Pro,” isn’t necessarily meant to be a mainstream product. It will feature a design similar to other headsets on the market, using a headband with integrated speakers. Ming-Chi Kuo, however, believes Apple’s design will make the headset heavier than others on the market.
The Apple headset will, of course, offer impressive hardware from a technological standpoint. Reality Pro is expected to offer 4K micro-LED displays for each eye, an outward-facing screen showing the user’s facial expressions to other people, as many as a dozen cameras and other sensors, all driven by the M2 chip.
It will also tie together other products from Apple’s ecosystem. For instance, Apple will rely heavily on AirPods for audio transmission, using the H2 chip in the latest model AirPods Pro.
Finally, Apple’s headset is expected to be expensive, with rumors suggesting that pricing could start at around $3,000. This, again, is due to the “ultra premium components and chassis materials like aluminum, glass, and carbon fiber.”
New MacBook Pro
The Reality Headset will be the star of any Apple event this spring, but there are a few other possibilities. First, we’re still waiting on Apple to update the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips inside.
These machines have been rumored since last fall but have faced ongoing delays. The current expectation is that the updates will be announced sometime this spring, though last-minute delays aren’t out of the question.
The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro will be pretty much identical to the previous generation, originally announced in 2021. The only updates will be internal, with performance improvements, thanks to the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.
Mac Pro with Apple Silicon
The transition from Intel to Apple Silicon is pretty completed, but there’s one machine we’re still waiting on: the Mac Pro. During its March event last year, Apple exec John Ternus teased that the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon was an announcement “for another day.” That day, however, hasn’t yet come.
Most recently, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple is aiming to introduce the Apple Silicon Mac Pro sometime this spring. The new Mac Pro being tested inside Apple is running macOS 13.3, which is expected to be released in the spring.
The Mac Pro with Apple Silicon will keep the same design as the current Intel model. The focus will be on expandability for SSD size, GPU, and networking capabilities. Users won’t be able to expand the amount of RAM inside, however, due to the Apple Silicon architecture requiring all memory to be tied to the M2 chip itself.
The Mac Pro with Apple Silicon will reportedly be configurable with an M2 Ultra inside. Apple had initially planned an “M2 Extreme” chip that would essentially be two M2 Ultra chips fused together, but this was scrapped due to cost and production complexity.
Other M2 Mac upgrades
Outside of the new Mac Pro, there are a few other Macs that could theoretically be upgraded to use an M2 processor, including the 24-inch iMac and the Mac mini. Bloomberg has reported that the 24-inch iMac, however, is unlikely to be updated until the M3 chip is ready toward the end of this year or in 2024.
The Mac mini, however, is due for an upgrade, particularly because Apple is still selling a version powered by Intel. 9to5Mac has reported that the new M2 Mac mini is internally code-named J473. There’s also a Mac mini in development with the M2 Pro chip, code-named J474, with eight performance cores and four efficiency cores. The latter is the one likely to replace the Intel model still on sale today.
New iPhone colors
Another possibility is new colors for the iPhone lineup. Last year, Apple announced two new green iPhone 13 colors at its March event. In 2021, Apple released the iPhone 12 in a new purple color at its April event.
There aren’t any rumors on new iPhone colors for this year just yet. For context, the green iPhone 13 updates last year did not leak until the very last minute.
I’m pretty confident in my prediction that Apple will hold a spring event this year, whether it be in March or April. The only thing that would change this is if the Reality Pro headset faces additional delays.
If the Reality Pro headset is delayed, or Apple scraps plans to announce it before WWDC in June, then the odds of a spring event drop significantly. The Mac Pro will be interesting, but it’s a niche product. Any other M2 Mac updates will be iterative, spec-bump upgrades. That’s not enough to warrant a full event.
If Apple holds a March or April event for the announcement of the Reality Pro headset, expect the company to hype the event up like we haven’t seen it do in years. Apple is betting a lot on the AR/VR headset, and it will want as many eyes on the announcement as possible. I’m talking about iPhone-level of hype. Whether or not the product itself ends up deserving that much hype remains to be seen.
What do you think? Will Apple hold an event in March or April? Will this finally be the year the Reality Pro headset is announced? Let us know down in the comments.