Apple event — here's what 'Peek Performance' could really mean

Apple peek performance event is set for March 8
(Image credit: Apple)

The title for the Apple event March 8 is not subtle. Apple is calling it Peek Performance, and we expect that means the company will be touting how Apple silicon runs circles around the competition in its new products. The event should be streamed live on Apple's site as well as YouTube. See our guide on how to watch the Apple event.

So what new products do we expect? The iPhone SE 3 seems like a lock at this point, as Apple's low-cost 5G phone has been rumored for months and has been tipped for a release date of March 10

But we've also heard about other new Apple products that could be announced at the Apple event, including a new iPad Air 5, a possible new Mac mini 2022 and an entry-level MacBook Pro 2022.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman on Twitter (opens in new tab), "Peek performance clearly = 5G for the iPhone SE, new Macs with Apple Silicon and iPad Air with an A15."

Based on the leaks, here's what Peek performance could mean for you. 

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iPhone SE 3

A render of the iPhone SE 3, featuring the rumored Face ID notch

(Image credit: TenTechReview/xleaks7)

The iPhone SE 3 could easily be the fastest phone in its price range if the rumors prove true. it's expected to feature the same fast A15 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 13, which blew away Android flagships in our iPhone 13 benchmarks. This includes the new Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip. 

Whether you're talking about Geekbench 5 single-core or multicore performance, 3DMark graphics tests or our own home-grown video encoding test, the iPhone SE 3 should have no equal in terms of raw horsepower. The 5nm A15 Bionic chip should also lead to longer battery life, which is important because the iPhone SE 3 should once again have a small battery due to the small size of the phone. 

The addition of 5G, while welcome for this price range, is not exactly groundbreaking. And that's because there are plenty of affordable 5G phones out there, like the $449 Google Pixel 5a. It's possible the iPhone SE 3 will get a newer 5G modem than the iPhone 13, but I doubt it. 

iPad Air 

iPad Air 5 rumors

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPad Air 5 should also take Apple's performance to the next level in mid-range tablets, The previous iPad Air 2020 was already one of the swiftest tablets for the money, thanks to its A14 Bionic chip. So a jump to the A15 Bionic would give Apple even more of an edge over the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Galaxy Tab S8 Plus with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip. 

You should also expect better gameplay on the new iPad Air, as the A15 Bionic chip's  4-core GPU is up to 30 percent faster than the competition and enables more lifelike visuals and lighting effects in games.

The A15 Bionic isn't just about performance, though. It enables all sorts of other capabilities, including better computational photography abilities. The same thing goes for the iPhone SE 3. 

MacBook Pro 2022 

MacBook Pro M1 sale

(Image credit: Apple)

If Apple decides to debut the entry-level MacBook Pro 2022 at the Apple event, we could see Apple's new M2 chip for the first time. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman (opens in new tab), the M2 chip could keep the same 8 CPU cores as the M1 but add more GPU cores. This would make sense as a way to further differentiate the MacBook Pro from the current MacBook Air M1, though the new MacBook Air 2022 is rumored to get the M2 chip as well whenever it arrives. 

As reported by Macworld, the transistor density on the M2 chip could be 6% higher, so there could be as many as 10 CPU cores. But we'll have to wait and see. 

Mac mini 2022

New Mac mini just leaked — what you need to know

(Image credit: Jon Prosser & Ian Zelbo)

The Mac mini is definitely not a lock for the Apple event, but we have heard that Apple could release two models by mid-2022. The first would feature an Apple M1 Pro chip, the same powerful processor inside the MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch

The M1 Pro features up to 10-core CPU with, plus up to a 16-core GPU. This results in 70 percent faster performance than the M1 chip and up to 2x faster GPU performance. Add in support for up to 32GB of fast unified memory and the new Mac mini could be an absolute beast. 

Another Mac mini could arrive later in the year with an M2 chip, but there's no telling what Apple might release first. 

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.