On April 20, Apple hosted the “Spring Loaded” event—the company’s first substantial launch of 2021. Just like it’s colorful name, the event revealed new striking and daring products all from a redesigned iMac to a bright purple iPhone 12. Chief executive officer, Tim Cook, began by discussing Apple’s environmental efforts due to the event’s close proximity to Earth Day.
He then transitioned to sharing new updates on the company’s credit card, Apple Card. Now card holders can share their card with anyone in their household 13 years of age or older. Additionally, holders were granted the ability to‘co-own’ the card with another adult who can simultaneously build up their credit.
While no new iPhone models were announced at this year's event, the iPhone 12 certainly received a makeover. Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are now available in a vibrant lavender shade which will be available for preorder Friday.
Apple also announced their new service, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, which allows users to gain access to ad-free listening, the ability to support favorite creators, and early access to episodes on top of Apple’s free podcasts which can be found in their Podcasts app that has been recently updated. The service will be available in May and the pricing will be dependent on each podcast creator. This new expansion into podcast subscriptions comes years after Apple’s persistent podcast competition with Spotify. According to Cook, this has been “the biggest change to Apple Podcasts since its debut.”
One of the most significant product reveals of the event—the AirTag—was announced next. The accessory, curated to track items like wallets,bags, and keys, can be used through the “Find My” app which has been previously used to find various Apple devices. Once attached to various objects, the built-in speakers in the AirTag help customers to find their lost items. The accessory, which has user-replaceable batteries, individually retails for $29, but can be bought for $99 in a pack of four. AirTags lack attachment loops, so if you would want to attach anything, you’ll need to purchase a case. When bought online (beginning on April 30), you can engrave the accessory with text or emojis.
Apple also revealed their new update to Apple TV 4Ksince it’s 2017 debut. The update begins with a remote redesign. The control button clickpad at the top of the remote is now a circular scroll wheel. The remote also now has a Siri button on the side which users can use to verbally choose movies and/or television shows. The TV is now built with Apple’s A12 Bionic chip that allows for a much higher-quality video. Owners can also calibrate the television picture from their phone by using the light sensor to adjust the color balance on the TV. In terms of pricing, it is $179 for the 32 GB model or $199 for the 64 GB. The remote will be sold separately for $59.
The iPad Pro also got some revamping. With two models(the 8-core GPU and the 8-core CPU), the iPads have 5G support and Thunderbolt/USB4 support through the USB-C port. The 11-inch model sells for $799 and the 12.9-inchmodel will be on the market for $1,099which will also have a “Liquid Retina XDR'' display which tremendously increases the brightness of the screen. Apple also introduced the feature entitled “Center Stage'' which will ensure that your face is constantly in the center of the screen during FaceTime calls regardless of your movement. The iPads contain up to 16GB of Ram and 2 TB of built-in storage.
The next reveal was all about the iMac which underwent an entirely new design. It features a 24-inch “4.5K” display and received a major improvement in the webcam (a 1080pFaceTime camera). There are two separate models; the 8-core CPU/7-core GPU setup which retails for $1,299, and the 8-core CPU/8-core GPU which retails for $1,499. Both models include two Thunderbolt ports and a 256 GB SSD. The more expensive model adds two additional USB3 ports. One of the most notable changes is the new variety of colors available for the iMac: pink, yellow, blue, purple, green, silver, and orange.The opportunity to preorder began yesterday, and it will ship in late May. Apple additionally remodeled its Bluetooth Magic Keyboard which includes a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
Apple also announced that beginning next week, iOS14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will be available for download. The updates will include numerous new features such as the exciting ability to unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. It will be preinstalled on the new purple iPhone 12 and 12 mini, and will be necessary for the new AirTag tracker.
While the “Spring Loaded” event certainly revealed an enormous amount of new, exciting gadgets and products, it most likely will not be the last product reveal of the year for Apple.