Apple Spring Event. Rumour Roundup.

The Apple event is just one day away and the rumour mill is in overdrive. Just this morning Macrumors reported that Apple plans to unveil a subscription podcast service. With so many different rumours floating around on the internet, I thought I’d gather them all in one place. Let’s dig in.

iPad Pro

The product that seems most likely to see an overhaul at the event is the iPad Pro. It’s been a year since Apple last updated the iPad Pro back in the spring of 2020. The 2020 model was a minor upgrade at best, with Apple adding a wide-angle camera, a marginally faster processor and a LiDAR Scanner.

Image – Pixel and Polygons

This year we’re likely to see major upgrades with a much faster A14X Bionic processor, a mini LED display offering deeper, richer blacks thanks to local dimming zones and possibly support for Thunderbolt, bringing additional compatibility with accessories and monitors.

We may also see 5G as an option on the cellular models and some upgrades to the camera system, potentially even to the same system as the iPhone 12. Pricing isn’t anticipated to increase dramatically but we’ll find out for certain after the event wraps up.

Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard

The Apple Pencil was last updated to its 2nd generation and current form factor at the end of 2018. At the moment it isn’t clear what features Apple might be planning to add, but thanks to some alleged leaked images, it may come with a glossy finish.

The glossy finish was used on the original Apple Pencil but it seems like Apple may be reverting back to the original styling. However, we may be getting some more colour options including black, rather than the standard white colour option we have at the moment.

Image via Twitter user, Mr White

As for the Magic Keyboard, the expensive but impressive accessory for the iPad Pro released just last year alongside the 2020 iPad Pro. Unless Apple is making significant changes to the camera system or design of the 2021 iPad Pro (which is not expected), then it seems less likely that the Magic Keyboard will be updated.

If Apple does update the Magic Keyboard speculation would suggest that they may choose to add some user-requested features such as a function row and a force touch trackpad. Force touch trackpads come as standard on the MacBook range so it seems plausible that Apple might want to include this in a future Magic Keyboard for consistency.

AirTags

The mythical unicorn of Silicon Valley. AirTags, (the alleged name of Apple’s long-rumoured item trackers) have supposedly been ready to ship for quite some time. But due to ongoing antitrust cases faced by the tech giant, it seems Apple may have chosen to delay the launch to address any concerns of ‘monopolisation’.

To address this Apple launched an open-source project a couple of weeks ago that allows manufacturers of third party item trackers to add compatibility with Apple’s ‘Find My’ network. Given this has now rolled out and third party trackers can now be purchased, it seems like a good time for Apple to make the announcement.

A third party tracker by Chipolo. Image – Chipolo.

iMac

The iMac is long overdue for a design overhaul. The last time the iMac received a design update was in 2012. And while Apple only updated the iMac in August of 2020 with faster Intel processors, the company is in the process of transitioning to its own custom silicon.

The colours shown in the announcement poster for the event seem reminiscent of the colour options of the original 1998 iMac. Could Apple be about to bring back colours to the iMac instead of the standard silver that we’ve become accustomed to? According to certain Apple leakers that looks to be the case.

We’ve also seen it suggested that the firm might only unveil the smaller iMac at the event to replace the current 21-inch model. With stock dwindling of the 21-inch model online and in stores, along with the discontinuation of certain configurations, this theory does seem to have a basis in reality.

I hope that we see the larger machine unveiled at the same time, even if it isn’t available right away. That way prospective buyers can make an informed decision, rather than being stuck choosing between a new design with a smaller screen or a larger screen with an old design.

In terms of processor, the next version of Apple silicon may be a beefed-up version of the M1 called the M1X according to some alleged benchmarks that have shown up in geekbench. And the performance gains do look very impressive!

Software Updates

Apple has been testing iOS 14.5 for a while now. Now in its 8th beta, it seems likely that the update is ready to go. Topline features include:

  • Face unlock while wearing a face-covering and wearing a paired Apple Watch
  • Support for the latest version of Unicode which brings along dozens of new emoji
  • Dual Sim 5G support
  • Crowdsourced mapping data in the maps app
  • App Tracking Transparency will give users global or granular control of tracking within apps. Apps will be required to display a pop up if they want to track you across other apps and the web

The latest version of macOS Big Sur, 11.3 is also in development and may bring across some of the aforementioned features from iOS 14.5. We could see this release at the same time as iOS 14.5.

Tidbits

We’re likely to see some routine colour updates to various accessory ranges such as iPhone and iPad cases and Apple Watch bands. Thanks to some leaked photos from the supply chain this seems almost certain.

Other products that could do with an update include the Apple TV which has not received an update since 2017 and there are various other Mac models due to make the transition to Apple Silicon. I think we’re unlikely to see these updated at the event and the rumours suggest that these might be updated in the autumn.

Summary

The event is likely to jam-packed with new products and announcements, and probably more than in a typical Apple event. It’s no wonder the event is called ‘Spring Loaded’. What products do you hope to see Apple announce? Let me know in the comments!

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