Apple has officially announced its “Spring Loaded” event for April 20th, kicking off at 1 PM ET (10:30 PM IST), its first major product announcement of 2021.
Unlike a lot of events conducted by Apple, its spring events tend to be a bit more broad and random in range: 2020 saw high-end iPads, 2019 saw a launch of a comprehensive service strategy, and 2018 saw a more education-focused event.
This year, the rumor mill is focusing on a refreshed iPad Pro lineup, along with new AirPods, the company’s long-rumored AirTag trackers, a new iPad Mini, and more.
If you’re looking for an early preview, here’s what you can probably expect to show up.
It’s been over a year since Apple’s last refresh of the iPad Pro and compared to the beefed-up specs on Apple’s latest iPhones and M1 Macs, we are hoping to see the new iPad Pro announced soon.
Two models are rumored, 11-inch and 12.9-inch; but the larger iPad Pro is expected to make a big switch in screen technology to debut Apple’s first Mini LED display. An earlier report indicates that the Mini LED panel might be short in supply.
Apple is expected to switch the A12Z chip for a newer processor that is expected to be on par with its more recent M1 chipset. The new iPads are also said to feature upgraded cameras and upgraded to a Thunderbolt port (with faster data speeds and a wider peripheral selection than the standard USB-C port).
Images of a new, glossy version of the Apple Pencil accessory have been circulating on Twitter, and you can expect it o release along with the iPad Pros.
Since early 2019, Apple’s Tile-like AirTags have been rumored to surface at nearly every Apple event. According to The Verge, these are “small, circular tags with Bluetooth and ultra-wideband radio chips, AirTags would rely on Apple’s existing Find My app and network of iPhones, iPads, and Macs to allow users to track and find missing objects (similar to how users can currently track lost phones).”
Apple’s oft-neglected iPad Mini, which was last refreshed over two years ago in March 2019, is long overdue an update as well. (Its last update came after a four-year drought, a refresh this year would actually be beating par.) The current model features an older A12 processor and the exact outdated design that Apple’s been using for nearly a decade, so the company has plenty of room to improve things.
Bloomberg and Ming-Chi Kuo, a noted Apple analyst, have pointed at a larger iPad Mini (an 8.5-inch display) for 2021.
Apple’s AirPods’ third-gen version has been rumored for months, set to feature replaceable ear tips and shorter stems, similar to the current AirPods Pro design. The updated AirPods are also said to feature longer battery life than the previous versions.
The Apple TV 4K was released in 2017 and is one of the oldest Apple products still being sold. At a high price of $180, it has seen companies like Roku, Amazon, and Google, provide comparable 4K streaming boxes at a fraction of the price.
The company is rumored to launch a refreshed model for 2021, which would add a faster processor and a new remote to replace the infamous Siri Remote. Also on the cards could be, support for HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz refresh rates.
Given the pace of both developer and public betas, Apple will soon officially release iOS 14.5. It could be either at or immediately following the ‘Spring Loaded’ event. The new software promises to add the ability to more easily unlock an iPhone through an Apple Watch while wearing a mask, new emojis, and Apple’s highly debated App Tracking Transparency feature.
MACBOOKS AND IMACS AND MAC PROS
Apple is rumored to be developing plenty of new Macs as it moves forward and looks to achieve its ambitious goal of switching fully from Intel’s chips within two years. That includes “more powerful MacBook Pros that would ditch the Touch Bar, bring back MagSafe and additional ports, and feature an improved M-series chip. A new iMac and a smaller Mac Pro (also featuring M-series chips) are said to be in the works as well.”
Of course, with Apple, you never quite know what to expect — with the wide range of the company, we can’t possibly predict every product. There’s room for a surprise announcement or two at the Spring Loaded event.