Apple March Event: iPhone 9? AirTags? What to expect from the rumoured showcase

Apple ended 2019 with a flurry of product releases, including the excellent AirPods Pro and MacBook Pro 16, and we’re expecting a whole load of new tech from the Cupertino company in the coming months.

One possible home for these new announcements could very well be a spring event, something that has become a staple of Apple’s calendar in recent years.

While nothing has been confirmed yet, and likely won’t until a fortnight before the event is scheduled, here are a few rumoured products we could see unveiled.

What products has Apple released in the spring before?

To really get an idea of what kind of products Apple tends to release in the spring months it’s handy to look back at previous years. We had the Macbook announcement during this period, a bunch of services like Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus along with more affordable iPads in recent years. It was also the period we saw the iPhone SE, which could tie in nicely to our first rumour.

What could we see from Apple this spring?

iPhone 9

The rumoured iPhone 9 is shaping up to be an oddly predictable device. It looks like this will, in some ways, be a followup to the much-loved and never updated iPhone SE. While it won’t look like the SE, it will come in at a similar price and offer a more affordable entry into the iOS ecosystem.

iPhone 9 might seem like an odd name – we had the iPhone X (10) a few years ago – but it kind of makes sense. Rumours suggest the phone will borrow the design of the iPhone 8, possibly with the internals of the newer iPhone 11.

Apple has previous for reusing old parts – last year it released updated versions of both the iPad Mini and iPod Touch, both of which were the same visually as their predecessors.

AirTags

Originally expected to see a release late in 2019, AirTags are Apple’s rumoured rival to Tile’s trackers. These are small plastic discs that you attach to valuables and then track via an app on your phone.

The AirTag is reported to work in tandem with the Find My app on your iOS device and we saw some mentions of the product buried inside iOS 13 code. That’s all though and we’re still not sure whether this will actually become reality.

Tile does seem to believe it will be a real product though, as it has already hit out at Apple for copying.

2020 version of the iPad Pro

If you’re eagerly awaiting the launch of the next iteration of the iPad Pro then you might not have to wait too much longer. After a baron 2019 for the high-end tablet, all rumours seem to suggest the iPad Pro will see an update early on in 2020. It might, however, be something of a minor refresh.

We’ve seen from renders that the next Pro could pack a similar design, but with space for an extended camera array on the back. This camera setup could mimic that of the iPhone 11 Pro, or possibly pack a 3D sensor for depth mapping and improved AR.

We’ll also no doubt see updates to the chipset, two available sizes and possibly a backlit Smart Keyboard (according to Digitimes) and an Apple Pencil with some haptic responses. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be any signs pointing to it replacing the LCD with an OLED panel.

New MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard

Towards the end of 2019 Apple finally ditched its controversial Butterfly keyboard layout and launched a new Magic Keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Now it is expected to bring that keyboard to the smaller MacBook Pro.

Considering Apple pushed that from 15-inch to 16-inch, we wouldn’t be too surprised if the 13-inch was stretched to 14-inch and we get a slimmer bezel.

But it’ll be the keyboard that’s the big draw for this machine. The ‘Magic Keyboard’ has more travel in its keys, a physical escape button and slightly more distance between the Touch Bar and the keys below.

AirPods updates and possible over-ear headphones

AirPods had a fantastic holiday period and early on in the year doesn’t strike us a great time to update something that has just sold so many units, however Apple did upgrade its wireless buds at the start of 2019 – even it was a very minor refresh. A wireless case option was added and there were a few internal tweaks but that was it.

We’re still waiting for a true AirPods 2, possibly with improved audio and a slightly rejigged design. A lot of the rumours we thought we were about the AirPods 2 ended up relating to the AirPods Pro. The biggest of these was the addition of active noise cancelling (ANC).

There have also been suggestions Apple has been working on a pair of over-ear headphones, likely without the Beats branding, that will become part of the AirPods family. Little is even rumoured at the stage but we’d like to see what Apple can do if it is bringing across its excellent ANC tech from AirPods Pro to a larger set of cans.

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