New iPad, MacBook Air, Mac mini: What to expect from Apple in the spring

Posted:
in iPad edited March 4

There's a lot of products in Apple's pipeline, including some Mac refreshes, new iPads, and more. Here's what Apple is rumored to deliver in March 2024.

iPad Pro and MacBook Air are March launch candidates.
iPad Pro and MacBook Air are March launch candidates.



Following the launch of the Apple Vision Pro in early February, the rumor universe turns its attention to Apple's next product launches. Luckily, you may not have long to wait for them to arrive.

With the strong possibility of big Apple releases right around the corner, here's what leakers and industry observers think could be on the way.

Is Apple going to have a March event?



Apple is a very regular-as-clockwork entity when it comes to special events and product launches. Excluding some outliers, there's a fairly standard cadence to Apple's event schedule.

Everyone is familiar with the September event, which sees iPhone launches and some other products. That, and the usual appearance of Mac updates a month later.

Another fairly static event is WWDC, which is Apple's venue to show off its operating system updates that will come out with its fall product lineup. Though software and developer-centric, Apple does use the event for some hardware launches, with recent years including a lot of Apple Silicon discussion.

There is a third general event period for Apple, and that is in the spring. However, it's not a guaranteed thing.

In the last ten years, Apple has held an event in the Spring six times: 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022. The lack of a Spring event in 2023 makes it a little more probable that one will take place this year.

For timing, three of those events were for late March, two were for early March, and one was for April. A late March event is therefore the favorite.

It also helps that rumor reports have referenced a March update for product launches.

One March 3 report claimed that Apple could launch new products within the first week of March. As evidence, it cited alleged media briefings and that stores would be refreshing their marketing materials at around the same time.

This discussion is about events, but it's equally plausible for Apple to perform a press release launch for products instead of a full-blown presentation.

In 2020, it brought out updated iPad Pro models and a 13-inch MacBook Air in March, followed by an April iPhone SE update, and MacBook Pro updates in May. In 2017, Apple did March launches for the iPhone SE and an iPad, and in spring 2014, it did the same for the iPhone 5C 8GB and a MacBook Air.

A formal event is Apple's preferred vehicle for launches, certainly. But at the same time, it gets a similar reaction from the media by handing out press releases.

On March 3, a pair of reports were published claiming that Apple wasn't going to go down the event route. One more persuasive report from Mark Gurman claimed that the launch would consist of website announcements, online videos, and marketing campaigns.

M3 MacBook Air



After the introduction of the M3 chip generation and new models of MacBook Pro in October, it seems that the MacBook Air lineup are prime candidates for an update to the latest Apple Silicon range.

2020 MacBook Air
2020 MacBook Air



Both the 13-inch MacBook Air and 15-inch MacBook Air should see changes in the opening months of 2024.

Rumors from a March 2023 DigiTimes report put forward the case of there being a MacBook Air update in 2024 or 2025, but with Apple switching over to an OLED-based display instead of an LCD version. This may not necessarily happen, due to the added cost of production that will increase the price of the MacBook Air itself.

In October, before the "Scary Fast" event, Mark Gurman proposed that the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines would get updates in spring 2024. While we already have the MacBook Pro on sale, that leaves the MacBook Air to actually ship.

After the October event, Gurman revised his predictions, reporting instead that M3 editions of the 13-inch MacBook Air and 15-inch MacBook Air will arrive in March. Codenamed J613 and J615, the models would be a spec-bump update in nature, namely one that has upgraded chips and internals without other big feature changes.

iPad and iPad Pro



Apple did not make a significant change to its iPad or iPad Pro ranges in 2023. The only change that occurred was the introduction of a new USB-C Apple Pencil.

This makes early 2024 ripe for iPad updates.

2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro on the Magic Keyboard
2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro on the Magic Keyboard



Starting with the iPad Air, a November claim from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo offered that two iPad Air models could arrive, with a 10.9-inch model accompanied by a 12.9-inch version. Rumors in October offered similar proclamations.

In theory, this mirrors the sizing of the iPad Pro lineup, but it won't have the mini-LED backlighting of the iPad Pro. Even so, it could still benefit from using a similar-spec Oxide backplane.

Kuo also forecast that there would be two OLED iPad Pro models that replace the mini-LED versions that already exist. Offering new form factor designs, the tablets will still continue in its use of the latest M3 chip, with the OLED display itself using a tandem design with LTPO backplanes.

In December, Gurman's proclamations doubled down on the larger iPad Air update, as well as the OLED display iPad Pro models, with no size changes. Updates to the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard were also touted by the reporter.

Later in December, Gurman added that the iPad Pro would get a revamp, but stopped short of saying what the revamp entailed.

In that report, he also offered some information about the rest of the iPad range, with both the iPad mini and entry-level iPad expected to be upgraded. Rather than an outright change, it will instead consist of a spec-bump for both models to newer A-series chips.

One April 20 anonymous leak made claims about the dimensions of the new iPad Air and Pro models.

Compared to the current models, the new 11-inch iPad Pro would be almost 2cm longer in length and 1cm shorter in width while also just 5.1mm thick. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro would change to gain 1cm in length, gain 0.6cm in width, and slim down to a 5mm thickness.

For the Air, the 11-inch model would be the same as current. The 12.9-inch model would measure 280.6mm long, 214.9mm wide, and 6mm thick, giving it a smaller footprint than the iPad Pro but marginally more thickness.

Mac mini



The Mac mini is usually among the first devices to be updated in an Apple Silicon generation, but it has so far missed out on being given the M3 chip. The only problem is that there's not really been much in the way of rumors for the compact desktop Mac in recent months.

Mac mini
Mac mini



There was some alleged testing of an M3 Mac mini in August 2023, meanwhile a Gurman prediction that it wouldn't appear in the fall turned out to be correct later in the year. At that time, Gurman deemed the M3 Mac mini as a "sure thing" that is "eventually coming," but could potentially arrive in late 2024.

As for what it could look like, a January 2023 claim by Kuo predicts that the 2024 Mac mini will look like previous models in terms of design.

It is possible that Apple could bundle the Mac mini alongside other Mac updates for a WWDC announcement, but it's entirely possible for an earlier launch to be made using the available M3 chip range.

Unlikely Appearances



While there are lists of products that could make an appearance in the spring, there's also a collection that are unlikely to surface.

Earlier iPhone SE models
Earlier iPhone SE models



For a start, while there are many rumors about the iPhone SE 4 gaining elements such as the Action Button and a new design, the rumor reports also continually say the release will happen in 2025, not 2024.

There are also many products that have been released too recently to be potential candidates for an updated version around March. Specifically anything that appeared from WWDC 2023 onwards, since they are too recent and could trigger a severe case of buyer's remorse.

Apple's heavy-hitting powerhouses, the Mac Pro and Mac Studio, last saw updates at WWDC 2023 to offer the M2 Ultra chip. Neither would be a good fit for a March launch, not least because of a nine-month difference in time.

With both requiring the M3 Ultra and their statuses as performance-led hardware, they seem to be more fitting for a launch at WWDC 2024, a time when it is more likely for Apple to roll out the required chips. Though after a disastrous launch, the Mac Pro may well skip this release entirely.

We already have an M3 24-inch iMac, but there have been rumors about a larger model on the way. However, rumors point to a 32-inch model arriving later in 2024, or more likely, 2025.

HomePod updates are also entirely a possibility for launch, but there's not been any significant rumor coverage in many months, for HomePod and HomePod mini.

There was a rumor about a HomePod with a seven-inch display arriving in the first half of 2024, according to Kuo. However, there's not been that much concrete rumor activity following the March 2023 forecast.



Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,281member
    The Mac mini is usually among the first devices to be updated in an Apple Silicon generation
    (bold added)
    It’s happened twice. The plural of anecdote isn’t “data.” We also have instances when the mini went so long without updates that people thought it was going to be cancelled.

    quibbling aside, I’m very curious to see pricing on the Mac mini. My hope is that M3 pro will get a price cut, given that it’s arguably not much of an upgrade relative to m2 pro.




    thtmuthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonbandits1
  • Reply 2 of 24
    Usually in March or April we also get a new iPhone color, it’s only been carried to the pro models once in 2022, but I’m really hoping it does again this year. A dark green like on the 11 pros &13 pros or a deep red would look amazing on the titanium versions.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Hope they update the iPad mini.
    OnPartyBusinessdav
  • Reply 4 of 24
    lewklewk Posts: 25member
    I'm going to be very annoyed if they don't finally update the iPad mini!  My iPad mini 4 is coming up on nine years old and is starting to show it's age.  It no longer can run the current version of iOS, is slowing down, the battery is no longer lasting as long, and it is likely that support will end fairly soon.  It is my main reading device and I'd really like to get a new one.  Even the current iPad mini (gen 6) is coming up on 3 years old.
    OnPartyBusinesstomwickland
  • Reply 5 of 24
    I'm definitely looking forward to products that I'm interested in... more than a spec bump on the iPad Mini could be interesting... I'll aim high... OLED iPad Mini Pro!
    iOS_Guy80entropys
  • Reply 6 of 24
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,281member
    I'm definitely looking forward to products that I'm interested in... more than a spec bump on the iPad Mini could be interesting... I'll aim high... OLED iPad Mini Pro!
    Might as well add 'foldable' to that :-)

    I want a 13" iPad Air. I'll very likely buy one right away. 


  • Reply 7 of 24
    Why is Apple waiting so long to give a true update to the iPhone SE? 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 24
    Why does he always look like he is praying?
    williamlondon9secondkox2
  • Reply 9 of 24
    thttht Posts: 5,443member
    Why is Apple waiting so long to give a true update to the iPhone SE? 
    Waiting on the production costs for an iPhone 6.1" form factor to drop enough so that they can sell it at $450.

  • Reply 10 of 24
    tht said:
    Why is Apple waiting so long to give a true update to the iPhone SE? 
    Waiting on the production costs for an iPhone 6.1" form factor to drop enough so that they can sell it at $450.

    They don’t have any X form factors laying around? 
  • Reply 11 of 24
    Why does he always look like he is praying?
    Well, at least he is not playing the accordion.
    9secondkox2fred1ForumPostpulseimages
  • Reply 12 of 24
    xsmixsmi Posts: 139member
    For my use case, I can’t justify upgrading from my 2018 12.9 iPad Pro until Apple makes a larger screen. For the music I create on the go, this iPad is plenty fast. I’d just like to have a larger screen for ForScore. 
    9secondkox2
  • Reply 13 of 24
     A dark green like on the 11 pros &13 pros or a deep red would look amazing on the titanium versions.
    I agree completely!  Both those colourways would look killer!!
    pulseimages
  • Reply 14 of 24
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,063member
    There's not much here for me to get excited about; but of course YMMV. Many of these items will likely have good followings and likely sell well. I'd personally be excited about a return of networking things, most notably a new Airport line. This would seemingly be a natural for Apple, particularly if it included an Apple branded VPN service. Really want hit that out of the park? Put it in a ATV box. Hey, I can dream, can't I? And believe it when Kuo breaks the news.
    xsmiOfer
  • Reply 15 of 24
    anomeanome Posts: 1,533member
    I still need a new iPad. I was looking at the Air, but the unqualified iPad could be an option if they have them in decent colours.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,166member
    Hope it’s early March. About to change jobs and have to give the current model work IPP and iPhone back and I would like to buy personal replacements.  
    Thinking a 13 mini and a new model IPP, stick with an 11 inch.  
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Again no 27 inch M3 iMac? Disappointing. 
    pulseimageswilliamlondonxsmi
  • Reply 18 of 24
    OferOfer Posts: 241unconfirmed, member
    dutchlord said:
    Again no 27 inch M3 iMac? Disappointing. 
    If they plan on introducing a new iMac this year, I’m guessing it wouldn’t happen until WWDC
  • Reply 19 of 24
    thttht Posts: 5,443member
    tht said:
    Why is Apple waiting so long to give a true update to the iPhone SE? 
    Waiting on the production costs for an iPhone 6.1" form factor to drop enough so that they can sell it at $450.

    They don’t have any X form factors laying around? 
    Ones that they can build and sell for $450? I would think the iPhone X or XR would fit the bill, but apparently not.

    Maybe they are just waiting on the iPhone 14 models to get old enough? It has an internal structure to make the back and front more easily repairable?
  • Reply 20 of 24
    thttht Posts: 5,443member
    You know, I kind of buy into a battery powered Mac mini to be used as an AVP accessory, or perhaps a display-less Macbook Pro or Macbook Air. A device as such would be interesting for any future eyeglass form factor Vision product.

    As long as the Mac apps aren't available for visionOS, there is just going to be need for it. Also would be interesting if iPhone's can share their dislplay inside the AVP.
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