Cupertino (CBS SF/CNN) — Flying in headwinds to a turbulent stock market, Apple on Monday prepared to unveil several product updates including faster chipsets, more devices with 5G connectivity and more powerful iPhone cameras.
At Tuesday’s virtual event, themed “Performance Peek,” Apple watchers are expecting the company to announce several product updates including a major upgrade for MacBooks and iMacs, powered by the second iteration of its internal processor.
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But the unofficial star of the event may be the updated iPhone SE.
Apple is rumored to be planning a 5G version of the SE, its less expensive iPhone model, which could boost demand for its core smartphone business. In January, Apple reported record revenue during its most important holiday quarter, driven in part by demand for its latest iPhone lineup.
Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said there was “pent-up demand for the next SE” globally and predicted that the new device would help Apple drive more iPhone upgrades and draw more users away from Android devices.
However, the event comes at a time of some turmoil for Apple and the broader business community. Apple recently announced that it will stop selling products in Russia amid the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Like other companies, Apple has also had to grapple with supply chain issues for its products in recent months, though CEO Tim Cook previously said that supply chain delays during the holiday shopping season have since improved.
Apple’s event will be broadcast live on its website, YouTube, and other social media platforms. It’s scheduled to go off at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET. Here’s a closer look at what to expect:
Affordable iPhone 5G
While Apple typically releases flagship iPhones in the fall, the rumor mill suggests it may introduce a third iPhone SE this week. Apple initially released the device in 2017 and updated it in 2020.
The new version is expected to run on Apple’s faster A15 Bionic chip, feature an updated camera that shoots 4K video and can drop the classic notch normally found at the top. But it’s the potential of 5G that could be the ultimate drag for customers, by giving them access to the faster wireless network at a reasonable price — or at least that may be Apple’s hope.
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“We still haven’t seen huge demand for it from consumer smartphone surveys,” said Anthony Scarcella, an analyst at market research firm IDC. “It just so happens that most of the new devices entering the market are 5G-enabled; it’s more than just a supply-side boost.”
But he thinks the expected $399 price tag – like the current iPhone SE – will appeal to first-time buyers, as well as those looking to switch from Android and people who prefer smaller screens.
5G iPad Air
The next generation iPad Air is also said to get the same A15 processor as the new iPhone SE, along with 5G connectivity and a new front camera.
Apple is expected to show off new versions of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and 24-inch Mac, as well as a completely redesigned MacBook Air — all with the rumored M2 silicon chip, according to a recent Bloomberg report.
Apple launched its first in-house silicon M1 chipset for its PC lineup in 2020, moving away from years of using Intel’s one-size-fits-all option. At the time, Apple claimed it was the world’s fastest CPU and the fastest integrated graphics in a PC. A year later, Apple introduced the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro line.
CEO Remarks on the War in Ukraine
Cook often starts company keywords by addressing key topics in the news, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he tackled the war in Ukraine.
In late February, Cook wrote on Twitter: “I am very concerned about the situation in Ukraine. We are doing our best for our teams there and will support local humanitarian efforts. I am thinking of people who are now in harm’s way and joining all those who are calling for peace.”
Last year, along with the new iPad Pro, colored iMacs, and purple iPhones, Apple also unveiled AirTags, a tile-like Bluetooth locator that connects and helps you find items like keys, wallets, laptops, or even your car. So Apple will likely have a hidden gadget or two hiding in the wings this year as well.
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