Expectations were high for Apple’s first event of 2021, and while the “Spring Loaded” launch today may not have had new AirPods Pro or a new MacBook Pro, that’s not to say that plenty wasn’t squeezed into the hour-long stream. New iMac, new Apple TV, new iPad Pro, and the long-anticipated confirmation of AirTags was certainly enough to fill sixty minutes – with some news left over, too.
The 24-inch iMac shows the true power of Apple M1
That Apple was going to shift away from the current design of the iMac seemed obvious, but even the leaks didn’t quite prepare us for just what the new 24-inch iMac would look like. Waif-like thickness paired with a rainbow of bright colors highlights just what Apple Silicon means for Mac, with cooling and components far reduced in size compared to the old Intel-based iMac models.
2021’s iPad Pro levels-up with M1 and 5G
The spread of the M1 chipset is relentless, and latest to get assimilated is the new iPad Pro. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions of the high-end tablet now use the same chipset as Apple’s most recent Macs, with the option of built-in 5G too. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro goes even further, with a new Liquid Retina XDR Mini-LED display borrowing tech from the Pro Display XDR.
Apple finally found time to launch AirTags
A perennial rumor, AirTags waited until just after Apple expanded the Find My network to arrive complete with Bluetooth and U1 ultra-wideband tracking. Coin-sized dongles, they promise to help hunt down your keys, backpack, purse, or pet, with aggressive pricing.
For the new Apple TV, the magic is in the Siri Remote
The updated Apple TV 4K may get a new chipset, but more exciting is the revamped Siri Remote. Replacing the little-loved control that has featured for the last couple of generations of set-top box, the new Siri Remote adds buttons and improves on ergonomics.
The new Magic Keyboard is hungry for your fingerprints
Biometric security like Touch ID and Face ID has become a mainstay on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and MacBook ranges, but until now the desktop Mac has been left out. That all changes with the new Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, which features a fingerprint sensor and some clever wireless security.
There’s a purple iPhone 12 and it looks amazing
Joining the iPhone 12 line-up comes a new color finish, but it’s no ordinary hue. The purple iPhone 12 may not have any new hardware or change in specifications compared to the existing smartphone, but when it looks this good, maybe that doesn’t matter.
There’s a VESA iMac too
Apple’s second 24-inch iMac version didn’t get any stage-time during today’s event, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to make a lot of people happy. The VESA-mount iMac performs just like its desk-bound cousin, but supports whatever wall, arm, or other mounting system you might prefer. With the whole computer weighing under 10 pounds, you have plenty of options.
A new 10-Gigabit Mac mini option
Another recent Apple M1 recipient, the revamped Mac mini quietly added a new networking option today. No event mention, but Apple now offers a 10 Gigabit ethernet port on the back for $100 more. Previously that was only offered on the Intel version of the Mac mini.
The new Apple TV 4K supports Thread
While the second generation of Apple TV 4K may not look different on the outside, there’s more going on inside than just the new chipset. Apple also quietly added a Thread radio, helping position the set-top box as a smart home hub. Right now that’s not really going to be used for much, but it’s a sign of how seriously Apple is taking its renewed push into the connected home.