Most Surprising Revelations From Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event
After days of teasing from Siri, Apple finally confirmed its long-awaited 2021 event, which streamed live at 1:00 PM EDT — dubbed "Spring Loaded." This event saw the company reveal new AirTags, a colorful iMac design, and much more.
The event streamed live on Apple's YouTube channel (featured below), so get ready for a taste of the cutting edge of digital technology.
Update: Our pre-event coverage can be read below, at the bottom.
Apple's iPad Pro can support 'up to 16GB memory'
The new Apple iPad Pro comes with "up to 16GB memory." We're literally talking about RAM in an iOS device. The 12.9-inch model will come with an XDR display. This was an extremely packed Apple event — but there's almost certainly more to come from the corporate superpower later this year.
Apple's new iPad Pro now has an M1 chip, an 8-core CPU
Apple is putting the M1 chip in its iPad series. The iPad Pro will feature an 8-core CPU — a performance jump of 50% over earlier iPad Pro models. While the general design will remain the same, the iPad Pro will now support Xbox and PS5 controllers — with full haptics capability.
The new iPad Pro also comes in a 2TB version, with USB4 and Thunderbolt capability. Critically, the new iPad Pro supports 5G — significant, since the iPad still outdoes the MacBooks. The iPad will also support LIDAR apps — yes they're real. People use them constantly.
The iPad Pro also comes with an ultrawide camera, customized for the new device. It includes a 12mp sensor, with a 120-degree range of view. "iPad is a magical sheet of glass that can become anything you want it to be," said the live stream.
The 11-inch iPad Pro will sell for $799, with the 12.9-inch going for $1,099.
Apple's iMac sells for as low as $1,299 in four different colors
The iMac is roughly twice as fast as other GPUs — 50% faster than the next-fastest 21.5-inch iMac. The new iMacs can run iOS apps, like any other computer supporting Apple's newer M1 chip. Sadly, the new iMac does not support touchscreen capabilities. They will include "up to four" USB-C ports, which hints at the availability of different models.
A new Magic Keyboard comes with a Touch ID sensor, an emoji button, and comes in multiple colors to match your iMac. The iMac will sell for $1,299 in four varying colors, with seven total colors for sale at a higher $1,499. Orders open today, with units hitting the market sometime in the second half of May.
Apple's new iMac models are raising the ante against Intel
The new iMac models are built around the M1 — the same new chip, but come in what appear to be seven different and very vibrant colors. They're extremely thin, and come with a headphone jack on the side. They also seem to include two USB-C and Thunderbolt ports, from the presentation.
Unlike the old iMacs, the "bulky thermal system is replaced by two small fans," according to the live stream. The new iMac keeps below 10dB, and is roughly 50% smaller in volume — at 11.5 mm thin. It has a 24-inch display supporting 4.5K resolution. The iMac also has P3 gamut, and 500 levels of brightness — supporting True Tone.
The webcam is 1080p, with FaceTime HD and a bigger sensor that's "great in low light." The M1 image processing also ups the ante against Intel for computational video. The iMac also includes a new speaker system — with two pairs of force-canceling woofers. Incredible. "This camera will make you look like a rock star," according to the live stream. In total, the iMac will include six speakers.
Apple TV 4K and new iPod-like remote
Apple announced its next generation of Apple TV 4K, employing an A12 Bionic chip. It can run high frame rate HDR, which is where the latest game consoles are going. AirPlay also works for high frame rate HDR for iPhone 12 Pro mobile phones.
The Apple TV will also come with a new remote — with a touchpad instead of the touch clickwheel that swipes. It swipes! Dubbed a "new five-way click pad," it's designed to mimic the job control feel of an iPod. It even comes with a power button.
The new iPod-style scroll wheel remote will sell for $179 for the 32GB version, with the 64GB version going for $199.
Apple's AirTag creates audio, visual, and even haptic feedback
Apple revealed a new AirTag tracking device that will use UWB for direction and make a little "beeping" noise to assist users in their pursuit of their lost iPhone. It's a little circular puck that leaves space for people to place an emoji on its surface. It can be fully-customized, and comes with a tiny keychain holder.
Precision Finding employs a U1 chip to offer the precise distance between the AirTag and device — creating audio, visual, and even haptic feedback. Like a video game. "Air tag is designed to track items, not people," was spoken during the live stream. Selling for $29, a four-pack goes for $99, with orders going live on Friday, April 30.
Apple podcast expansion and new iPhone color
Apple has totally redesigned podcasts — called Apple Podcasts subscriptions, the new offering will provide early access, ad-free listening, and will launch in 170 regions in May. Apple also unveiled a new iPhone color. In the spirit of Willy Wonka, they went with purple — available on the iPhone 12.
Apple Card allows partners to merge accounts
Apple kicked off the event with words from CEO Tim Cook on the end-to-end footprint of Apple's supply chain and products. Apple's investments goal in renewable energy involves removing more than 1 million tons of carbon every year.
Apple Card is getting an update — allowing spouses and partners to merge their financial accounts into a single Apple Card account. The plan is called Apple Card Family, and seems marketed as a way to help families build their credit score.
Apple might announce new colorful iMac offerings
Last weekend, the reliable Apple-leaking Twitter account L0vetodream hinted that the company might finally reveal its iMac during Tuesday's live stream — posting an image of the G2 iMac lineup in all of its multiple colors. L0vetodream had previously tweeted another image of the event invite — but with an extra caption: "enjoy these colors." The precise colors of the redesigned iMac are rumored to closely match those of the iPad Air.
Apple might also reveal a new Podcasts+ subscription service during the Spring Loaded event, according to a Vox Media report. This isn't exactly a new rumor, but Apple hasn't opened an expansive podcast collection yet — but this could change during the event. Apple might also unveil new versions of the entry-level iPad — and its iPad mini and iPad Pro, according to a 9to5mac report, citing Wedbush analysts.
In case you missed it, Apple events happen all the time — last June we saw WWDC, and the annual iPhone event went down in fall 2020. This means we're likely going to see another fall event emphasizing Mac news this fall. Last fall, Apple unleashed three events in three months: with the Apple Watch and iPad in September, the iPhone 12 in October, and the wave-making Apple Silicon Mac last November.
Years of global calamity can't stop Apple from releasing new products
However, it's less straightforward to predict precisely what to expect in Apple's Spring events. The company didn't hold one in 2020 due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic landing in the U.S., but the company still announced a new Magic Keyboard, MacBook Air, and iPad Pro in a series of March press releases. It even announced the iPhone SE relaunch in an April press release. Even world-historical calamity can't stop the corporate juggernaut from taking products to market.
Since the COVID-19 crisis is far from finished with us, this Apple event will be delivered virtually, streamed from Apple Park. The "Spring Loaded" tagline on the April 20 event is pretty, but doesn't really reveal what's coming — unless Apple is undergoing a serious pivot from battery- to spring-powered devices (it's not). Jokes aside, we're in for a beautifully shot, pre-recorded video production with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other C-level Apple officers speaking at the event.
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.