The event is called “Spring Loaded.” It will be Apple’s first product announcement run of 2021 — webcast worldwide Tuesday (April 20). Whether or not the title accurately describes the latest product line, it certainly sums up the anticipation for what’s next from Cupertino, California, heading into the event.
The spring event, by nature, is a bit freer form than its annual counterpart in the fall, which is generally centered on the latest edition of the iPhone — with the focus varied over the last few years between Apple’s other big offerings — the watch, iPads and Apple TV.
And while Apple hasn’t confirmed much about what to expect from the Spring Loaded events, the debate on the web as to what to expect has been lively and come to a consensus on a few points.
Most expect to see new things out of the iPad this time around — with new editions of the iPad Pro with mini-LED panels for its display. The Pro has not had an update for over a year, and many have commented that one is due. However, there have been concerns about the new Mini LED panels and supply constraints that could delay the release of the 12.9-inch version of the unit. Reports further indicate that a new version could be offered with an upgrade to a Thunderbolt port (with faster data speeds and a wider peripheral selection than the standard USB-C port) and upgraded cameras.
Also reportedly due for an announced upgrade tomorrow is the iPad Mini — which has not seen an update since 2019. Both Bloomberg and noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have pointed at a larger iPad Mini (potentially with an 8.5-inch display, which could come from eliminating some of the chunky 2012-era bezels) on the docket.
Among the more anticipated potential releases coming to the forefront is Apple’s long speculated on AirTags — small, clear circular tags with Bluetooth and ultra-wideband radio chips built in. It is designed to run on Apple’s existing Find My App and network of iPhones, iPads and Macs to allow users to track and find missing objects and potentially be paired with the iPhone to enable augmented reality (AR)-based ultra-wideband tracking in local areas.
And while AirTags, and the roles they could play in the connected economy, have been the subject of leaks, rumors and speculations since 2019. So far, they’ve never actually made their long forecast debut. Could April 20, 2021, finally be the day? Stay tuned.
Also tied to Apple expanding efforts to increase its influence within the connected home, the latest iteration of AppleTV is reportedly primed to hit the market in 2021 — adding a faster processor and a new remote to replace the famously unreliable Siri Remote. Support for HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz refresh rates could also be in the cards. But what the market is really looking to see is whether Apple will make like its competitors at Amazon and Roku and actually lower the price of the device, the upgrade analysts agree Apple most needs at this point and is most unlikely to embrace.
But more than new features, the Apple TV 4K is in dire need of a price cut — something that Apple is historically more reticent to provide.
The most often speculated upon surprise player tomorrow, at this point, is a new variation of Apple’s iMac line — after announcing earlier this year that the iMac’s currently in stock will not be replaced or replenished in stores. The new iMacs, according to speculation, are anticipated to come in a variety of bright colors, a more powerful internal processor and potentially the much speculated mini-LED display.
And while the iMac is the most common speculation heading into the iPhone events, it is not the wildest or most outsider box. Various watchers have speculated that Apple, ever fond of ending on a dramatic turn, could use this to give the world the first glimpse of long speculated on projects like the Apple Car, a VR headset or a surprised iPhone SE refresh add a bit of sparkle to the day.
No way to know from the outside, but tune into PYMNTS; we’ll keep you posted.