What we know about Apple’s TV series, a new subscription news service and the products that may make an appearance at Apple’s next big launch event.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple’s March 25 launch event is upon us, and we’re expecting it to bring details about Apple’s product lineup for the first half of 2019, and when the latest software updates will roll out for all your Apple devices later this year.

Apple’s March event could be all about services

After weeks of rumors, Apple finally sent out an official invitation for a launch event on March 25 at 10 a.m. PT to be held at the Steve Jobs theater in its Cupertino headquarters. The tagline on the invite for this event: “It’s show time” followed by an old-time movie countdown — further proof that this event could be about film.

Even before Buzzfeed and Bloomberg published reports about a potential March 25 event, a spring announcement from Apple didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. Last year the company held its iPad event in Chicago during the last week of March. Except this time around the event is not expected to be about iPads, or hardware of any sort for that matter. The main headliners, according to the reports, will be Apple’s new subscription services.

According to Bloomberg, Apple will finally unveil its video streaming and subscription magazine and news services at this event. It’s no secret Apple has invested about $1 billion in creating original content for a Netflix-style streaming service with a library of at least 25 original shows ranging from dramas, comedies, docuseries and kids’ programming. The company has reportedly invited some of the celebrities to the event from some of the series it’s working on, including Reese WitherspoonJennifer AnistonJennifer Garner and director J.J. Abrams, to attend.

Apple’s news service would also be a premium subscription plan on its current News app that would allow users to view content from different publishers. The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are just some of the major news outlets rumored to be in talks with Apple to be part of this service. But according to a Wall Street Journal report, publishers are hesitant to sign on because Apple would take 50 percent of the revenue from the service.

AirPods, the iPad Mini and Apple’s rumored spring products

These big announcements may not leave room for anything else at the March 25 event, but there is a remote possibility that Apple decides to throw in a few devices to the mix: AirPower wireless charging mat, iPads and a wireless charging case for the AirPods.

According to Greek blog site iPhonehellas (via 9 to 5 Mac), which cites supply chain sources, Apple is set to unveil new iPads, AirPods and an AirPower mat at a spring event — different from Bloomberg’s reporting.

Apple has already registered seven new iPad models with the Eurasian Economic Commission, typically a precursor to launch. And there appeared to be mention of some of these models in the public beta code of iOS 12.2 as described by Apple developer Steve Troughton-Smith on Twitter. The seven models could include a cheaper 10-inch iPad to replace last year’s 9.7-inch iPad, and a new iPad Mini, a model that hasn’t gotten a refresh in over four years.

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The iPad Mini 5 is rumored to look almost exactly the same as previous models, but with a faster processor.

Josh Miller/CNET

A report from Mac Otakara (via MacRumors) this week suggests the new Miniwould have the exact same design and dimensions as the previous model, meaning no Face ID or slimmer bezels, but it would keep the headphone jack and Lightning port missing from last year’s iPad Pros and gain a faster A10 or A10X processor.

We could also finally see the AirPower wireless charging mat that the company first mentioned in September 2017 and a sequel to the long-forgotten iPod Touch. CNET’s Scott Stein would also love to see an iPhone SE 2.

The AirPods 2 earbuds, though, may have to wait until a September launch event. According to longtime Apple leaker Steve H.McFly (@Onleaks on twitter) Apple would only launch the wireless charging case in the first half of 2019, while the redesigned AirPods sequel with biometric sensors, noise cancelation, water resistance and new color options would come alongside the new iPhones later this year.

When is WWDC?

Next on the events calendar: WWDC, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which as of this week is rumored to be starting on June 3.

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Apple

Again, no official word from Apple yet, but MacRumors seems to be fairly confident that 2019’s conference will be held from June 3 to 7 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. This would make sense considering it always falls on that first week of June, and the fact that there was a brief mention of it on the City of San Jose’s Office of Cultural Affairs events calendar that has since been removed. Just don’t book any travel until registration opens officially, likely mid-March, just in case.

Early rumors suggested this was where Apple would announce its new streaming service, but at any rate we are definitely expecting software updates across the board. The next iOS 13 update is rumored to be bringing Dark Mode to the iPhone, as Apple did on MacOS last year, and those 230 new emoji we heard about last week, along with updates to MacOSWatchOS and TVOS.

And that would just get us through the first half of the year. Needless to say, it’s looking like a busy 2019 for Apple.

Originally published Feb. 15.

Updates March 13: Adds details about the official invitation for Apple’s launch event.

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