While we’re just two months away from Apple’s WWDC event, Cupertino held a special Spring showcase to feature new products and upgrades. The aptly-named Spring Loaded event saw the launch of products that have long been rumored, as well as some updated hardware featuring Apple’s powerful M1 chip.
We may like to focus on the best Android phones here, but these events are always fun to watch for tech enthusiasts, and it’s a good chance to see what the other side is up to. So here’s a roundup of the things that Apple announced at its Spring Loaded event.
One of the best streaming devices is getting even better thanks to Apple’s A12 Bionic chip. With the upgraded chip, the new Apple TV 4K can now display 4K HDR content at high frame rates, which can boost not only movies and shows but also gaming with Apple Arcade. The device also features a cool trick that uses the camera, proximity sensor, and light sensor to adjust the TV’s color balance.
There’s also a newly designed remote that features a directional pad with gesture support for scrolling or scrubbing, a side-mounted Siri toggle, and a power button for your TV.
The new Apple TV 4K will be available for preorder on April 30 and will start at $179 for the 32GB model or $199 for the 64GB model. Devices are expected to ship in late May.
There’s also a season 2 trailer for Ted Lasso, which premiers June 23.
Apple introduced a redesigned iMac that features its powerful M1 chip for 85% faster performance. Thanks to the new SoC, Apple condensed the internals to give the iMac smaller, quieter fans while squeezing in a 4.5K retina display and 6 Dolby Atmos speakers. The iMac is also equipped with an upgraded 1080p ultrawide Facetime HD camera that can track your movements and even pan in or out. The new iMac starts at $1299 and will be available to preorder on April 30, with expected shipping at the end of May.
Apple also introduces new Magic Keyboards with a dedicated emoji key and built-in TouchID for secure profile switching.
M1 iPad Pro
The new Apple iPad Pro may not look very different, but they’re getting a speed huge speed boost thanks to M1. The chip brings 50% more performance and 75% more CPU performance, plus up to 2TB of faster internal storage. There’s now Thunderbolt support for high-speed connections and external 6K displays, as well as 5G connectivity with mmWave. The new 12MP ultrawide front-facing camera has a 122° FOV with Center Stage, which uses machine learning to keep you in the shot while you move around, kind of like the new Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen).
The biggest change to the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is Apple’s use of Mini LED. Apple stuffed over 10,000 LEDs into the display with over 2500 local dimming zones. This represents a shift from the OLED displays that are currently used in iPhones. The benefits of Mini LED include similar image and color quality to OLED but much cheaper to produce. The new iPads will start at $799 for the 11-inch model and $1099 for the 12.9-inch. Both will be available for preorder on April 30 and ship towards the end of May.
After being rumored for quite some time, Apple has finally released the AirTag as an alternative to the best Bluetooth trackers on the market. Similar to how Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag+ functions, Apple AirTag will use Ultra Wideband technology with the iPhone’s Find My feature to provide on-screen guides to lead you to your tag. And the AirTags can be customized with key rings and loops.
Individual AirTags will be up for preorder on April 23 and available on April 30 for $29 or $99 for a 4-pack.
iPhone, Apple Podcast, Apple Card
The only update for the iPhone is a stylish new Purple color that will be available for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini. The new color will be available for preorder on April 23. Apple Podcast has also received a redesign and will launch in 170 regions next month with support for subscriptions. And lastly, Apple is now allowing spouses and partners to merge credit lines with the Apple Card so both can reep the benefits of better credit. And with Apple Card Family, kids 13 and up can use the Apple Card with set spending limits.
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