For Apple, 2021 is likely over — at least in terms of new hardware announcements. While the AirPods Max arrived unexpectedly on December 15 last year, we’re not expecting a similar Hail Mary move this time around, so all eyes are on 2022.
And 2022 could be a massive year for Apple. Not only are we anticipating the usual refreshes of iPhones, MacBooks and iPads, but the company is tipped to be taking its first step into a whole new product category with the launch of its AR glasses.
Here’s everything we’re expecting from Apple in 2022.
Given Apple has released a flagship iPhone every year since 2007, nobody seriously expects the company to take a break in 2022. The iPhone 14 is almost certainly going to arrive in September, given that’s when almost every other flagship Apple handset has launched.
It’s early days in terms of what to expect, but leaker Jon Prosser did give us an early look at the expected shape of the iPhone 14 Pro, with the notch finally removed and a new titanium frame. Said notch will reportedly live on with the regular iPhone 14, which will also apparently get its own super-size 6.7-inch ‘Max’ variant. The mini — a long-time sales disappointment for Apple — will apparently not be revived for a third year.
Apple in 2022: iPhone SE 3
But that’s still a long way off, and before that Apple will apparently have a treat for its fans on a budget. The iPhone SE 3 is said to be arriving in the first quarter of 2022 — possibly March — packing the same Apple A15 Bionic chip that makes the iPhone 13 family fly both in benchmarks and day-to-day use.
Confusingly, it could be called the iPhone SE Plus despite packing the same 4.7-inch screen size and iPhone 8-like design as its 2020 predecessor (Home button and all). While Apple has previously used the word “Plus” to denote larger screens, the rationale here is to promote its 5G credentials — a first for the iPhone SE line.
Apple in 2022: Apple Watch
Apple in 2022: Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8 will, according to the first leak based on CAD files, look a bit like the Apple Watch 7… which in turn looked like the previous six generations of Apple Watch.
But for the Apple Watch, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and a ho-hum design could push Apple towards more bold changes to the internals. It’s too early to know for sure what this will entail — the Apple Watch tends to launch alongside flagship iPhones in September — but we have a fascinating early indication that it will involve a whole host of new health sensors.
Back in May, SEC documents showed Apple to be the largest customer of a business called Rockley Photonics, which happens to specialize in medical sensors for measuring everything from blood pressure to alcohol levels. At the time, the CEO said he expected the tech to arrive in consumer products in 2022, which is extremely exciting — especially given the long-running rumors that Apple one day hopes to make diabetics’ lives easier with non-invasive blood glucose measurements.
Apple in 2022: Macs
Apple in 2022: iMac 2022
Earlier this year, Apple’s 21.5-inch iMac transformed into the colorful, M1-powered 24-inch iMac. The 27-inch model, however, retains the old look and Intel chipset. For now.
In 2022, it’s highly likely that the big-screen iMac will get a refresh and one leaker with an extremely strong track record — Dylandkt — believes that it’ll be replaced by something branded as the iMac Pro. “Why will it be called this? To better distinguish this device from the iMac 24,” the leaker with an enviable 75% accuracy rating on AppleTrack tweeted. It will apparently feature the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips seen in the new MacBook Pros, and come with an enviable list of specs:
iMac (Pro)Promotion and Mini LedBase model 16gb Ram 512gb StorageM1 Pro and MaxDark bezelsHDMI, SD Card, Usb CSimilar design to iMac 24 and Pro Display XDRStarting price at or over 2000 dollarsEthernet on brick standardFace ID was tested (Not confirmed)1H 2022October 30, 2021
Apple in 2022: Mac mini 2022
The Mac mini is less sure of a refresh, but the leaker LeaksApplePro reckons that a new model is coming next year, possibly getting the same M1 Pro and M1 Max chips for power users. If it does come, it’ll likely feature more ports and a new, slimmer design.
Apple in 2022: Mac Pro
Apple’s modular workstation is due the Apple Silicon treatment, but quite how is a matter of speculation. The current system has 12 DIMM slots for up to 1.5TB of RAM and eight PCIe slots for further expansion. Apple Silicon, meanwhile, is a fully integrated solution with unified memory and integrated graphics. So it’s entirely possible that whatever Apple does with the Mac Pro will look very different from the current model, or the company’s other M1-powered devices.
Though, as a Bloomberg report notes, a future Apple Silicon chip could have as many as 40 cores — 30 more than the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips and 12 more than the current top-end Mac Pro with its 28-core Intel Xeon W processor. Given said machine starts at $12,999, it’s safe to say this won’t be the go-to Mac for your average consumer, mind.
Apple in 2022: MacBooks
Apple in 2022: MacBook Air 2022
The MacBook Air 2022 is set to get a bold new look, mimicking the colorful range of 24-inch iMacs available. Rather than adopting the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, the laptop is expected to get an upgraded M1 or M2 chip — it is, after all, for lighter work than the Pro Macs.
Like the new MacBook Pro, it’ll reportedly get MagSafe charging back and may or may not feature a mini-LED screen, but probably not with a notch.
Apple in 2022: iPad
Apple in 2022: iPad Pro 2022
In truth, things are a little quiet on the iPad front, but it would be a big surprise if the Pro model didn’t see a refresh in the spring. While it could feature the M1 Pro chip as the recent MacBook Pros have, another rumor suggests that the next iPad could benefit from the first 3-nanometer chip, which could boost both performance and efficiency.
Apple in 2022: AirPods
Apple in 2022: AirPods Pro 2
The AirPods Pro 2 is set to appear in the third quarter of 2022, according to the regular leaker FrontTron.
What might this offer over the first-generation of Pro AirPods? A refined design with a shorter stem, and likely a boost to noise cancellation. There’s also talk of more built-in sensors to aid fitness tracking. All of this will be necessary to differentiate it from the new AirPods 3, which other than lacking ANC has strayed into AirPods Pro territory.
Apple in 2022: AR
Apple in 2022: Apple AR and VR headset
This is one for the ‘maybe’ pile, but rumor has it that 2022 will see the first generation of Apple’s AR headset. This is a big deal, as reports suggest that Apple sees such wearables as replacing the iPhone in the next decade.
The first generation of the Apple Mixed Reality headset will apparently offer similar computing power to the M1 chipset in Macs, and could feature dual 4K micro OLED displays. In other words, it likely won’t be cheap. While Ming-Chi Kuo says it will be a standalone product, others say it will require an iPhone or Mac, just as the first-generation Apple Watch did.
2023 or later
Later Apple devices: Apple Glasses
It’s very easy to confuse Apple Glasses — rumored Google Glass style eyewear — with the AR headset mentioned above, not least because there’s much crossover of possible patent applications. But for now, Apple Glasses aren’t expected until at least 2023, and given the current chip shortages, you wouldn’t be surprised if they slipped further into the future.
Later Apple devices: Apple Car
The long anticipated Apple Car is still years away, with Bloomberg predicting a 2025 launch. However, the same report suggests the car will ship with no steering wheel or pedals, so even that could be extremely optimistic, given the regulatory headache such a product could cause governments worldwide.
Later Apple devices: The big-screen iPhone SE
While next year’s low-price handset could be called the iPhone SE Plus, the actual plus-sized SE is years away, according to analyst Ross Young, who is predicting an ETA of 2024 for big screen on a budget.
Later Apple devices: iPhone Flip
Apple’s first foldable phone, rumored to be called the iPhone Flip, almost certainly won’t be competing with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Ming-Chi Kuo, Jon Prosser and Mark Gurman all think 2023 is the earliest we’ll see it, with the latter suggesting it’s still two to three years away.