5 major takeaways from the first Apple event of 2021

21 Apr 2021

Redesigned iMac. Image: Apple

From a slick iMac redesign to a new product that helps you find your stuff, here’s what you need to know from the Apple Spring Loaded event.

The first Apple event of 2021, Spring Loaded, came jam-packed with product announcements and big reveals, including some brand-new items and some redesigned classics.

Apple’s last major event was in September and its iPhone 12 range was launched a month later due to delays.

While the hour-long virtual event last night (20 April) saw the phone get a snazzy new purple colour, there were many more interesting highlights to pique customers’ interests. Here are the main highlights you need to know.

Apple will help you find lost items

After much anticipation, Apple finally launched its AirTag item trackers, complete with user-replaceable batteries.

Similar to products such as Tile, AirTags will help you keep track of whatever items you want to keep an eye on. Unsurprisingly, Apple’s product uses the Find My app to help you locate items.

Each one is €35, with a pack of four available for €119, and they will be available to purchase from 30 April.

Apple's new AirTag trackers from the front and back.

AirTag tracker. Image: Apple

A new podcast subscription service

To compete in the podcast ring, Apple unveiled its plans for a new podcast subscription service that will allow users to access additional benefits such as ad-free listening and early access to episodes.

The service will be rolled in May as part of Apple’s Podcasts app, where free podcasts are also found. The app itself will have a redesign to make it more user-friendly.

Apple CEO Tim Cook dubbed the new service “the biggest change to Apple Podcasts since its debut”.

Apple TV’s big refresh

Apple announced a big refresh to the Apple TV 4K, which will be powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic chip and will be able to play HDR and high frame rate videos.

The remote control has also been redesigned, moving away from the touchpad design and instead opting for a five-way clickpad and scroll wheel, reminiscent of the old iPod. It will also include a Siri button on the side so users can talk to their TV.

Prices for the new Apple TV will start at €199 and you can also buy the new remote separately to go with the 2017 model and Apple TV HD.

The iMac gets a redesign

The redesigned iMac is much more compact than its predecessor and extremely thin, which is made possible by Apple’s M1 chip, which was unveiled in November last year.

According to Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, Greg Joswiak, it’s the first Mac specifically designed around the M1 chip.

The redesign includes a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, studio-quality mics and a six-speaker sound system. It also includes Touch ID for the first time, enabling users to log in with their fingerprints the way many do on their smartphones.

Seven iMacs from a side profile in a variety of colours.

iMac. Image: Apple

The redesign also means a variety of new colours, a reminder of the brightly coloured Macs from the ’90s. It will be available to order from 30 April with prices starting at €1,499.

The latest iPad Pro tablets are revealed

Another major product launch at last night’s event was the new iPad Pro tablets, which come with the same M1 chip that’s featured in the new iMac.

The new iPad Pros will include 5G support on cellular models, increased storage capacity of up to 2TB and an upgraded camera.

The 11-inch model starts at €909, and the 12.9-inch model starts at €1,229. Both can be pre-ordered from 30 April.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic