What to expect from Apple’s event on Tuesday: A budget iPhone and more

Apple’s March 2022 event invite

Apple is holding its first launch event the year on Tuesday, where it is expected to announce a new iPhone, an iPad, and possibly some fresh Macs.

The launch will be livestreamed from Apple’s Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California, like all of the company’s launch events since 2020.

Apple’s spring device launches are less important to the company than its traditional fall events, which reveal new iPhone models ahead of the holiday shopping season. The fall iPhones are pricier and more profitable for Apple. Tuesday’s event follows a similar spring launch last year, where Apple announced a new iPad Pro, a redesigned iMac desktop computer and AirTags.

Here’s what’s expected at Apple’s spring launch event on Tuesday, according to analysts and media reports:

A low-cost iPhone

iPhone SE
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Apple is expected to update the iPhone SE with 5G support, a faster processor, and a better camera, according to Bloomberg News. But the most important question for investors is whether Apple will maintain the same price as the current $399 iPhone SE, which launched two years ago, or whether it refreshes it and continues to sell the 2020 model at an even lower price. Doing so might help Apple gain market share against cheap Android phones that sell for less than $399.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note on Monday that the new iPhone SE could stand out compared to bargain phones and there is “pent up demand” for the model globally.

iPad Air

iPad Air
Source: Apple Inc.

Apple released new high-end iPads Pro last spring and updated the iPad Mini and regular iPad last fall.

That leaves the iPad’s middle child, the $599 iPad Air, as the model that is most eligible for an update. The current model has a 10.9-inch screen, and a fingerprint sensor built into the power button.

Apple could release a new version of the iPad Air with the same overall design this spring, TF Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo said in a note earlier this year, adding Apple’s most up-to-date mobile chip, optional 5G support and improved cameras.


Apple launches new iMac with new colors.
Source: Apple Inc.

Apple’s promotional tagline for Tuesday’s event is “peek performance,” suggesting that at least one new device will have significant speed or power. So maybe we’ll see new Macs.

Apple has been transitioning its laptop and desktop lineup to run on its own chips, called M1, instead of Intel chips. Last year, Apple released iMacs and MacBook Pros with its chips. In late 2020, it released MacBook Air, Mac Mini and a single MacBook Pro model.

Many of those devices are starting to enter the eligible window for a refresh, although Apple hasn’t announced the successor to its M1 chip family yet. In addition, Apple fans are clamoring for a bigger version of the iMac with Apple’s chips and a 27-inch display.

Apple news website 9to5Mac said last week, citing sources, that Apple is also working on a new model with a fast chip that could be called the Mac Studio in addition to a new external display. However, Apple also holds an annual developer conference in June called WWDC, which could be a better fit to launch pricey professional-level macs.

iOS 15.4

Apple iOS 15 Spotlight search

Apple will also likely announce a release date for its next major software update for iPhones and iPads at the event.

Apple has been testing iOS 15.4 since January and it will be the second-biggest update of the year after the yet-to-be-announced iOS 16, which will be revealed in June at WWDC and released in the fall.

iOS 15.4 will include several new features, including the ability to unlock a phone with a mask, new emoji, and Apple’s new payment product that allows anyone with an iPhone to accept credit card payments without additional hardware.