It’s finally happening, ladies and gents, and although invitations didn’t go out quite as early as some may have expected, the next Apple event is indeed taking place when Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicted it would almost a month ago.
If you like affordable iPhones and mid-sized iPads with non-Pro specifications, you might want to circle March 8
in your calendars… or simply bookmark and set a reminder for the YouTube livestream embedded below.
Naturally, this (not so) mysterious “special Apple Event” will be broadcast in real time starting at 10 a.m. PST next Tuesday, allowing the entire world to tune in and check out the first live demonstrations of the 5G-enabled iPhone SE 3 and fifth-gen iPad Air.
If you’re the least bit familiar with how the Cupertino-based tech giant operates ahead of these shindigs, you won’t be shocked to hear that those two devices haven’t been confirmed, teased at, or alluded to in any official capacity yet.
You should also not expect any revealing or exciting buzz-building material between today and March 8. Then again, there’s certainly plenty of (unofficial) buzz surrounding the iPhone SE (2022) anyway. This has been long and widely expected to add 5G speeds to an already hugely popular budget-friendly equation including a lot of raw power and a terribly outdated design.
Instead of going down the notch path this year, it looks like Apple will opt to keep the iPhone 8 memory alive with yet another set of massive bezels surrounding a tiny (by 2022 standards) 4.7-inch screen. The good news is that might allow the company to also keep the $399 base price unchanged despite the aforementioned 5G upgrade and a predictable but more than welcome bump from A13 Bionic to A15 Bionic “peek performance.”
What about the iPad Air 5?
Well, curiously enough, Apple’s next big tablet has yet to show its face (or rear, or sides) in any renders or prematurely revealed real-life photographs. That can only mean one thing, and it’s actually the thing that also explains the absence of (legit) visual iPhone SE 3 leaks.
That’s right, we fully expect the iPad Air (2022) to look virtually identical to its 2020 predecessor on the outside while hiding a hot new Apple A15 Bionic chip and (optional) 5G modem under its undoubtedly premium aluminum hood.
This is the iPad Air 4… and, most likely, the iPad Air 5 design too.
Obviously, the 5G-capable fifth-gen iPad Air won’t come cheap, as suggested by the $649 and up iPad mini (2021) with next-gen cellular connectivity on deck. That thing is 150 bucks costlier than its entry-level Wi-Fi-only counterpart, which probably means the first-ever 5G iPad Air will also start at $150 more than a non-cellular-enabled variant likely to fetch around $600.
At $750 or so, the 5G iPad Air 5 would be just 50 bucks pricier than a Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab S8, which sounds like a battle Samsung can never in a million years win. Of course, the 10.9-inch iPad Air (2022) is likely to start at 64 rather than 128 gigs of internal storage space, with no microSD card slot in tow… or complimentary stylus.
Like the sixth-gen 8.3-inch iPad mini, this bad boy could rock a 12MP front-facing camera with Center Stage functionality, and like its 10.9-inch forerunner, the fifth-gen iPad Air will probably rely on a top-mounted fingerprint scanner for biometric recognition instead of joining the iPad Pro (2021) duo in the hip Face ID club.