Apple's March 21 Event: What We'll See and What We Won't

We're about to find out if Apple really has a slimmer iPhone or a new iPad Pro up its sleeve — or maybe both. The tech giant will host an event at its Cupertino headquarters on March 21, and all signs point to new mobile devices landing in your hands soon.

We'll be on the scene when Apple's press event gets underway at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on March 21. And while Apple is as tight-lipped as ever about what's on tap, we can make a few guesses as to what you can expect to see, along with some things you definitely won't.

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iPhone SE

Apple's current iPhone lineup is fine — if you like your phone displays on the larger side. But people who like compact devices can only turn to the iPhone 5s, a phone that debuted in 2013. If Apple wants to broaden the iPhone's appeal, it can turn back the hands of time to the days of a 4-inch iPhone — albeit one with 2016-era specs.

Apple's next phone will reportedly be called the iPhone SE, and we've taken a closer look at all the rumors surrounding the new phone elsewhere. But expect a 4-inch phone that has a processor and camera matching what you'll find in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, even if the new iPhone doesn't have that spiffy 3D Touch feature that responds to different presses and taps.

Chances of Happening: As certain as certain can be.

Smaller iPad Pro

The iPad Air hasn't seen an update since October 2014. So obviously, it's long past time for a new 9.7-inch tablet, right? Probably, although it may not be called the iPad Air.

Instead, rumors about Apple's tablet plans have the company releasing a smaller version of the iPad Pro released last fall. The screen may be smaller on this rumored iPad Pro, but the processor is likely to be the same. And the rear camera could be upgraded to a 12-megapixel camera capable of shooting 4K video.

Chances of Happening: Seems very likely.

A New Apple Watch

It was just a year ago that Apple summoned the press for a close-up look at the smartwatch it would release in April 2015. If the past really is prologue, maybe we could be in for a repeat performance with the next version of the Apple Watch.

Probably not, though. 9to5Mac has long since concluded that the Apple Watch 2 will debut in the fall, and that sounds convincing to us. Some minor updates such as new bands and maybe software improvements seem more likely for this March 21 get-together.

Chances of Happening: A new watch, no; new bands, sure.

New Mac Hardware

Speaking of Apple's greatest hits, you might remember that it unveiled a new MacBook and updated MacBook Airs at that Apple Watch preview event. Apart from a MacBook Pro update last May, the laptop lineup has remain untouched since then. The iMac lineup got a more recent update, but otherwise it's been pretty quiet on the Mac front lately.

It may remain quiet on March 21, especially if Apple wants to keep the focus on its mobile products. Still, if Apple wants to keep people on its toes, some sort of new Mac would certainly do that.

Chances of Happening: Stranger things have happened.

New iPods

Apple stopped reporting iPod sales figures more than a year ago. It's moved on, and so should you.

Chances of Happening: You're more likely to see an Apple-branded 8-track tape player unveiled.

New Software

Apple sticks to annual updates for both iOS and OS X. But it also sticks to talking about those at its annual developer conference, and there's no reason for that to change any time soon. That said, Apple has been testing an iOS 9.3 update — we're up to our seventh public beta — so that update could drop at the same time as the new iPhone.

Chances of Happening: Ask again in June. 

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.