iPads, AirTags, new Apple TV, colorful new iMacs!
It’s been a big day for Apple product launches. During its Spring Loaded event today, the company announced a slew of new devices. If you missed the whole thing, let’s dive in.
Brilliant new iMacs will feature Apple’s M1 chip, flaunt a super thin 11.5-millimeter design, and ship in a rainbow of colors, including gray, blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow, and green. The new iMac has a 24-inch 4.5K Retina display with 500 nits of peak brightness and 11.3 million pixels. A 1080p HD webcam on the iMac will ensure you look great on your Zoom calls (even if you are wearing sweatpants). Additionally, the iMac will include what the company called “a studio-quality three-microphone array,” so you’ll sound great too. Plus, the iMac’s sound is getting an upgrade with a six-speaker sound system plus two pairs of force-cancelling woofers.
The company says the 8-core iMac will reach up to 85% faster CPU performance, and up to two times faster GPU performance for specific apps like Photoshop and Affinity Photo. The 7-core GPU iMac model will ship with 8GB of unified memory and a 256GB SSD, plus two Thunderbolt ports. The 8-core GPU model will also have 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, a pair of Thunderbolt ports, as well as two USB 3 ports and 1Gbps Ethernet port. Both will have a Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard in the box, though the pricier model will come with a Magic Keyboard that also includes Touch ID. (Apple says the 7-core GPU version “can configure” to the fancier keyboard as well.)
The iMac with a 7-core GPU will start at $1,299, while one with an 8-core GPU starts at $1,499. The iMacs are available to preorder April 30 and will start shipping in the second half of May. If it’s color that wows you with the iMac, you may have to pay a little extra. The more affordable of the two iMacs will only be available in green, pink, blue, and silver.
As expected, Apple also announced an 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a Liquid Retina XDR display. Like the new iMac, the iPad Pro will come equipped with Apple’s powerful M1 chip. Those who use their iPad Pro for creative purposes will be pleased to hear the new Pro will come with up to 2TB of high-speed storage, a four-speaker audio setup, and cameras with a LiDAR scanner. The mini-LED technology found in the 12.9-inch version uses 10,000 LEDs and can reach up to 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness, plus 1,600 nits of peak brightness. In other words, she gets real bright.
Plus, the iPad Pro now supports Thunderbolt and USB-C. (The Thunderbolt supports 10Gbps Ethernet.) The new Pro also has a new ultra-wide front camera with support for a new Center Stage feature. Apple describes Center Stage as using “the much larger field of view on the new front camera and the machine learning capabilities of M1 to recognize and keep users centered in the frame. As users move around, Center Stage automatically pans to keep them in the shot.” It will also account for others as they move into the frame. Center Stage will be available in apps like FaceTime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others, and can be toggled on on an app-by-app basis.
Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models become available to order on April 30 in either silver or space gray. The smaller model starts at $799, while the monster iPad Pro will start at $1,099. Cellular models available at a premium and will support 5G, include the faster millimeter-wave spectrum that delivers gigabit speeds.
Apple took the wraps off a much-anticipated next-generation Apple TV 4K, which will be available to order beginning April 30 and will start at $179 for 32GB and $199 for the 64GB box. The new Apple TV will support high frame rate HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Dolby Vision video and be powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, making it far faster and more powerful than its predecessor. This new box will also allow users to adjust the color balance on their screens with an iPhone for better picture quality.
Retailing for $59, Apple TV also unveiled a new Siri remote, replacing one of Apple’s most maligned but misunderstood gadgets. The new Siri remote features a one-piece aluminum body and appears to be slightly larger than previous Apple remotes. With this new design, Apple has also moved the Siri voice control button to the right side, and the touchpad has been replaced by a clickpad with five-way navigation that’s also touch-enabled.
The tech journalism community collectively heaved a massive sigh of relief when Apple finally, at long last, revealed the AirTags it’s been hanging over our heads for what feels like an eternity. AirTags will work with the Find My app to help locate devices and accessories like your keys, your wallet, or pretty much anything else you want to stick it on. What’s neat about AirTags is that besides being cute as hell and IP67 water- and dust-resistant, a Precision Finding feature will show you exactly how far away from your last item is and guide you using your iPhone. It will also play a sound.
The AirTag will come equipped with Apple’s U1 chip and Precision Finding will be compatible with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12, as well as future generations of iPhone. It can also prompt a website with the owner’s contact information if it’s lost and found by someone else so long as they have an NFC-capable device to scan it. Apple accessories for the AirTag include a Polyurethane Loop, a Leather Loop, and a Leather Key Ring. Custom engraving will also be available for AirTags—you can even choose an emoji to mark each one.
AirTags will be available April 23 for $29 a pop or $99 for a four-pack. Buried in the small print on Apple’s website is a note that AirTags will require the forthcoming iOS 14.5 or iPadOS 14.5 updates, which it says will be available starting next week.
Phew. You good? OK, let’s continue. Apple also announced two new versions of its current iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini in a new purple shade. The two will be available for preorder on April 30 for $799 before trade-in and $699 before trade-in, respectively.
“The incredible iPhone 12 is the most popular smartphone in the world, and the iPhone 12 family has an over 99 percent customer satisfaction rate. The new purple finish, just in time for spring, adds another bright and fun option to the lineup, and we think customers are going to love it,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a statement. “This gorgeous new color joins the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini family, which is available in five other stunning finishes, and features an advanced dual-camera system, Super Retina XDR display, improved durability, A14 Bionic—the fastest chip ever in a smartphone—great battery life, and the best 5G experience on any smartphone.”
In some exciting personal finance news, Apple introduced a new Apple Card Family plan, which will allow families and partners to build credit together. It will also allow parents to share their card with their kids, for whom parents will be able to control spending limits. Up to five people can be added to an existing user’s Apple Card account. They will, however, have to be part of the same Family Sharing group, and kids younger than 13 will not be eligible to participate. Adult participants who decide to merge their Apple Card accounts can also boost their shared credit limit. Variable APRs can vary from 10.99% to 21.99% with this Goldman Sachs-issued credit card.
To read our review of the Apple Card, head right here.
Lastly, it certainly wouldn’t be an Apple event without some mention of its services. Beginning in May, Apple will introduce its Apple Podcasts Subscriptions plan, which is less like the Podcasts+ product many of us likely envisioned and more like a Patreon-like program for podcast creators themselves. Then, they can set their own subscription costs and bill their paying listeners accordingly.
“Today, Apple Podcasts is the best place for listeners to discover and enjoy millions of great shows, and we are proud to lead the next chapter of podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, said in a statement. “We’re excited to introduce this powerful new platform to creators around the world, and we can’t wait to hear what they make with it.”