Low-cost 5G iPhone SE and new iPad Air expected at Apple’s March 8th ‘Peek Performance’ event

Apple on Wednesday announced a special event where the company is expected to announce, among other things, a new low-cost 5G-capable “iPhone SE” model. The event, which Apple has tagged “Peek Performance,” will be streamed online.

It's official: Apple to hold special event on March 8th

Kif Leswing for CNBC:

Apple could announce a new low-cost iPhone with 5G support and a fingerprint reader, as well as a midrange iPad, according to media and analyst reports.

The company currently offers a low-cost iPhone called the iPhone SE, which was introduced in the spring of 2020, and retails for $399.

The new iPad is expected to be an updated version of the iPad Air, according to Bloomberg. That device was last updated in October 2020 and currently retails for $599.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote early last month:

The 5G iPhone SE is going to sell like crazy at $399. We’re hoping Apple is able to bump up the $399 base model from 64GB to 128GB and the $449 model from 128GB to 256GB. But, even if the onboard storage stays the same, being able to get a real 5G capable iPhone for $399 is going to open up many markets for Apple. Hopefully the company will have stockpiled enough to satisfy demand!

For the iPhone SE to follow this upcoming model, we expect Apple to finally do away with the Home button, bringing on Face ID and an edge-to-edge display, but that will have to wait until the component pricing is right (which should be the case in 2024 or so when that model’s release arrives).

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    1. Yea, for people looking for a budget phone with a small screen and home button, I just don’t know if 5G is important at all for them. Budget phones are for people who want a basic working phone, basic working internet for email and browsing. But I guess we’ll see…

      1. If you have a fast, wired internet connection, 5G isn’t a particularly big deal, but in many countries, the main way of getting the internet is via cellular radio. In those countries 5G is a really huge deal, especially if it’s available on a reasonably affordable phone. There is a massive market for such a product. Apple knows what it’s doing.

    2. Wait until new one is released, and if it’s basically the same except for slightly faster processor and 5G, get the 2020 iPhone SE with 4G for a significant discount. I might do that because I don’t really need 5G. Eventually, when the latest iOS no longer supports my 2016 iPhone SE.

  1. There’s nothing wrong with the Home Button and having Touch ID there instead of Face ID with kludgy notch. My iPad has Home Button, but with iPadOS, I can choose to use the swipe up gesture and ignore button (except for Touch ID). I’ve tried doing the swipe up, but always come back to simply pressing Home Button. Note that current devices with Home Button (iPhone SE, iPad, and iPod touch) are all aimed at first-time Apple customers. I think there’s a reason that goes beyond higher cost for using Face ID. Presence of Home Button is more intuitive for a novice user, and devices with Home Button are easier to hold and use without accidentally touching or blocking edge-to-edge screen, especially big heavy iPads used by kids at school.

    The cost of implementing Face ID may go down over time, but the cost of using a Home Button with Touch ID will stay lower, so Apple can continue to offer the “lower cost” devices at lowest cost. And also keep customers who like the Home Button satisfied. If the next version of entry-level iPad continues to have a Home Button, with screen going from 10.2 to 10.5 inch, with at least A14, it’ll be a great value replacement for my workhorse 10.5-inch A10X iPad Pro from 2017.

    1. You sure you want to be replacing an iPad Pro with anything other than another Pro? You’re going to lose the pro-motion display, which you will certainly notice, the better screen/glass overall and the quad stereo speakers, and maybe other features I am forgetting. I also have the 10.5” Pro, looking to upgrade it to a new Pro some day soon. Hopefully a 12.9”.
      Curious if your iPad suffers lock-ups and freezing like mine does all the time. I couldn’t even type this comment without it freezing several times with the keyboard not responding to keystrokes etc.
      Happens in many apps, Safari all the time. Don’t know if it’s the iPad getting old or if the battery is hanging like when iPhones can’t get peak performance, or something else. Maybe time for a wipe/reset.

      1. Mine is working normally. Battery is the best I’ve experienced in an Apple device. It doesn’t last quite as long on a charge now, but there is no performance unreliability. It works as expected from 100% to 1%. Apple still sells the 10.5-inch iPad Pro on the Apple Store certified refurbished page, so you know its design (with A10X) is still viable as a “new” iPad. It doesn’t feel slow at all, and I’ll keep using it. At some point, battery will become unusable, and I’ll decide to replace battery or get new iPad.

        I also have a more recent previous gen iPad mini (5). It doesn’t have the “pro” features, but I don’t feel the difference in day-to-day use. Sound is noticeably worse, but I usually have my AirPods on. It has an A12, so a new iPad with A14 or A15 (currently A13) should exceed (or at least match) the old A10X. And I like having Home Button with Touch ID, not Face ID. I don’t need fancy cameras on an iPad. I’d also consider iPad Air (rumored new one), if my Pro suddenly stopped working.

    1. Beosjim, I see a few online Apple fans get their hopes up with laughably unrealistic expectations. But in your case you’re keeping it real. I’d bet money there will be a Mini “Pro” that’ll sport M1 Pro, Max or choose either option.

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