After the classic lack of any meaningful news or releases from the tech industry in January, we’re finally starting to see some interesting stuff on the horizon.

This week, we’ll be treated to the Galaxy UNPACKED event, during which Samsung will reveal the latest iteration of its ’S’ smartphone lineup.

I’m personally looking forward to getting my hands on whatever it is that’s announced, and will be pitching it against the iPhone in due course.

This brings me to Apple; when are we going to see Tim hit the virtual stage?

Well, according to Mark Gurman, we could be heading towards a March 8th event.

But I’m a little underwhelmed, to be honest.

The new iPhone SE

At £389, the iPhone SE is a rather wonderful, cost-effective method for getting yourself into the Apple ecosystem. Sure, it looks rather dated now, what with that home button and those huge bezels, but it’s easy to forgive Apple when they point out that this is, technically, an iPhone 11 Pro dressed in loungewear.

This results in a cheap iPhone that’s super-fast and which benefits from all the internal gubbins that deliver such a wonderful performance from the camera system on the 11 Pro.

Besides, some people still prefer Touch ID, which I totally understand.

It is, however, a bit of a shame to hear that the next iPhone SE is probably going to look identical, and simply receive beefed-up internals (featuring the A15 Bionic from the iPhone 13). There’ll apparently be no sniff of MagSafe or an update to the screen, either, which I think would have been a rather nice cherry-on-the-top from Tim and co.

Oh, sorry. There is something else.

It’s going to have 5G.

Hello? Are you still there?

An updated iPad Air

Although it now plays second-fiddle to my iPad mini, I’m still very fond of the iPad Air. Paired with the white Magic Keyboard, it looks and feels great as an occasional replacement for my MacBook Air.

In March, we’re probably going to be treated to a new version of the iPad Air. Just like the iPhone SE, it’ll keep its current chassis and design but receive the A15 Bionic chip, which will bring it in-line (performance-wise) with the iPad mini.

It’ll also gain the same 12-megapixel ultra-wide FaceTime camera with Center Stage support and a quad-LED True Tone flash on the back.

So, not a huge amount to get excited about, but maybe Apple has another trick up its sleeve with this one.

Oh yeah, sorry. I keep forgetting.

It’ll have 5G, too.

Please try and keep awake at the back.

Which Mac?

I noted recently that I’m expecting a Big Mac event later this year.

Like, really big.

My reasoning is, I think, pretty watertight. Apple needs to finish the year with a complete transition to their own silicon, thus waving a less than fond goodbye to any form of Intel tomfoolery on their new machines going forward. And what better way to do so than with a massive bunch of releases across virtually the entire product line?

This stacks up with the rumoured March event because even Mark Gurman can’t say with any confidence which Mac may or may not make an appearance.

It’s unlikely to be the next big iMac, we’re told, which is apparently slipping further towards the end of the year (see – I told you). That leaves either the new MacBook Air or a high-end Mac mini featuring the M1 Pro and M1 Max chip configurations.

But I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if we see nothing from Team Mac next month. I think this is going to be an iPhone and iPad-only affair with, possibly, a little surprise thrown in for good measure.

Wrapping up

This rumoured March event still feels odd to me.

I get the impression that any new Mac releases are being hampered by supply chain constraints and the ongoing chip shortage. If that’s the case, my prediction of a bumper Mac event in the fall is probably bang-on, but that makes next month’s event potentially a bit of a damp squib.

The iPhone SE is a very important product for Apple. Similarly, the iPad Air remains the best normal-sized iPad for those who have ambitions above the regular iPad 9th generation.

But the upgrades on offer for both of those devices aren’t going to set the world alight – unless Apple has something else up its sleeve.

Is Apple planning something else? Will there be an unsuspected, big update to the Apple TV? Will the next Apple Watch make an early appearance this year? Have I got it totally wrong? Will we see the new MacBook Air, Mac mini, and the big iMac next month?

As always, let me know what you think, below.