We're in the Tim Cook era now. Apple’s current CEO tends not to offer much in the way of eye-openers. It’s usually what you see is what you get, with no headline-grabbing “one more thing.” 

Consequently, Tuesday’s "Peek Performance" may be more about what we won’t see, rather than what we will. Here’s what we think we know so far.

Through the Grapevine

Last week, we laid out what the Cupertino rumor mill is saying Apple may announce, but for the sake of review, here’s a quick list:

  • A new Mac Mini with an M1 Pro chip
  • A 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 chip, to succeed the 2020 model and sit below the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro in the line
  • A Mac Mini with an M2 chip
  • A 24-inch iMac with an M2 chip
  • A redesigned MacBook Air with an M2 chip
  • A larger iMac Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max chip options
  • A half-sized Mac Pro, the first with Apple Silicon, with the equivalent of either two or four M1 Max chips

Along with the Macs above, Apple is expected to reveal a next-generation, budget-friendly iPhone 13 SE with an updated A15 processor. This 5G-capable SE is unlikely to have a complete redesign and might simply be a refresh to bring the SE model in line with the current slate of iPhone models with increased battery life, faster performance, and 5G.

iPhone SE and iPhone 11 ProiPhone SE and iPhone 11 ProCredit: Daniel Romero

Also, expect a better camera for photos, but no Cinematic Mode, to be sure. And don’t expect a myriad of colors for this $299 mobile device. Tech insider Ming-Chi Kuo said on Twitter that the iPhone SE will come in a garden variety black, white, and red. That’s it. 

Capacities will start at 64GB and go up to 256GB. Experts are also expecting a mainstream iPad, probably the Air model since it’s due for its own performance boost with the same A15 processor. 

New MacBooks and More?

The star of the show, however, according to the MacHeads on the Interwebs, will likely be a next-generation MacBook Air. 

The Air was the first Mac computer to be upgraded to Apple’s M1 platform, along with the Mac Mini (which 9to5Mac exclusively claims will be called Mac Studio instead), and there’s a good chance we’ll see a huge refresh with an M2 chip, or at least an M1 Max. So expect both to get their next-generation update.

MacBook Air 2020MacBook AirCredit: Daniel Romero

Moreover, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg cites a Digitimes article that points to a new entry-level MacBook Pro that Apple plans to launch in "early March" with an M2 processor. Will they leapfrog the M1 Max, or M1 Pro to do that? On the other hand, it would be an ideal “peek” into what’s coming later in the year for a performance boost to the MBP line with the M2 chip.

Also, according to 9to5Mac, there could be a new display to replace the Pro Display XDR, which could have a resolution of around 7K. If we’ll meet it during the press event remains to be seen. 

What Not to Expect

Outside of that, they may not announce new Pro models until June’s WWDC conference, in order to keep the event to under an hour. With the current processor shortage, it would make sense for this year to save the Pro offerings for their developers, who will likely throw down their credit cards and preorder them right away. 

The rumblings are also starting to move away from the Mac Pro tower to get a refresh. So maybe that’ll come in June along with the rest of the Pro lineup. As far as the smaller Pro Tower? Who knows if that’s anything more than just a wish list or not. As for the 24” M2 iMac? Historically speaking, that seems more of a November announcement.

One thing is certain, Tim Cook seems to prefer steady improvements from generation to generation, with the occasional game changer, which we already had with the M1. So don’t expect “one more thing.”

The Peek Performance Apple Event will stream live on YouTube Tuesday, March 8, at 10 a.m. PT.