Apple just held its first product launch event of the year. It announced a new iMac that ships in seven colors, the new iPad Pro with an M1 chip and support for faster 5G networks, an AirTag lost-device tracking gadget and a refreshed Apple TV 4K with a brand-new remote.
Apple just held its first product launch event of the year, where it announced a colorful new iMac and an updated iPad Pro with 5G and the M1 chip that's also used in the company's desktop computers.
Apple also announced an AirTag lost-device tracking gadget and a refreshed Apple TV 4K with a brand-new remote.
Investors didn't appear to be impressed by the news. Shares of Apple were down about 2% after the product event wrapped up.
Here are some of the highlight announcements, but scroll down to see more.
- Apple Card features for teens and families
- Podcast subscriptions
- AirTag lost item finder
- A purple iPhone 12
- A new Apple TV box and remote
- iMacs in seven colors with Apple's M1 chip
- Improved iPad Pros with Apple's M1 chip
Apple announces updated iPad Pros with chip from desktop computers
Apple said on Tuesday that it will release new high-end iPad Pros that use the company's M1 chip, which is also used in its Mac computers. Previously, iPads used A-series chips, which are what powers the company's iPhones. Apple says it is the most powerful tablet on the market.
It also includes an improved USB-C connector that will allow the iPad to connect to higher-resolution monitors and download images from a camera more quickly.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro features an improved screen using an array of LEDs that is brighter and has better color resolution than previous displays using a technology called Mini-LED.
The iPad Pro will also have a 12-megapixel front-facing camera with an ultrawide lens that can automatically pan to keep human subjects in the shot.
Some models will include 5G support, Apple said. The 11-inch model starts at $799, and the 12.9-inch model costs $1,099. They will be available for preorder on April 30 and will ship in late May. — Kif Leswing
Apple announces new iMac models that come in different colors
These iMacs are powered by Apple's custom M1 silicon, not Intel processors. The computers have a new, thinner aluminum design, and they come in red, blue, purple, orange, yellow, silver, and green. The new thinner design looks a lot like a big iPad.
Apple says the volume of the computer has been reduced by 50%, resulting in a smaller computer that can fit on a desk more easily. It comes with a 24-inch built-in display and an improved camera that can record 1080p video in low light. Apple says the display runs at "4.5K" resolution.
It ships with a new magnetic power connector reminiscent of Apple's previous MagSafe laptop chargers and a slightly updated keyboard with an emoji key and a fingerprint sensor. Apple's mouses and keyboard come in the same colors as the new iMacs.
The entry-level model costs $1,299, and an upgraded version costs $1,499. The new iMacs will go up for preorder on April 30 and will ship in the second half of May, Apple said.
Apple's first iMacs, released 20 years ago, also came in different colors.
The Apple TV finally has a brand-new remote
Apple is finally rolling out a new, redesigned remote for the Apple TV. It's made of aluminum and has dedicated buttons for navigating menus, which should solve some of the headaches caused by the earlier remote. It will ship in the second half of May with the new Apple TV 4K, which costs $179 or $199 depending on the model.
— Jessica Bursztynsky
Apple updates Apple TV 4K box with new processor
Apple announced that its Apple TV 4K box has been updated with a new processor, and it will be able to handle high frame rate HDR video which will result in displaying smoother, more colorful sports events.
It will also include a new feature that will use the iPhone's camera to tune the TV's picture quality.
It also comes with a completely redesigned remote made of aluminum with physical buttons, instead of the old remote's touchpad. It can also control your TV's power. Instead of a touchpad, it has a wheel for controlling the display.
It starts at $179 for 32GB of storage. It goes up for preorder on April 30 and will start shipping in the second half of May, Apple said. — Kif Leswing
Apple announces long-expected lost-item tracker called AirTag
Apple announced AirTag, calling it an iPhone accessory, priced at $29 for one or $99 for four. It will be on store shelves on April 30.
It uses Apple technology called Find My, which uses a network of iPhones to find lost objects. It's using a technique Apple calls "precision finding" that it says is privacy-sensitive.
This product has been the source of some scrutiny from lawmakers who have heard that Apple is privileging its own lost-item trackers over others' using anticompetitive practices and access to the iPhone operating system. Find My opened to third-party accessory makers last month. — Kif Leswing
Apple introduces new iPhone 12 color: Purple
It goes up for preorder on Friday and will ship on April 30. — Kif Leswing
Apple launching podcast subscription service
Apple announced that it's launching its podcast subscription service next month, putting itself up further against Spotify and other competitors in the audio streaming wars.
The company is also redesigning its Apple Podcast app.
— Jessica Bursztynsky
Apple says that credit scores are unfair, expands Apple Card to kids over 13 years old
CEO Tim Cook said Apple will allow partners and spouses to share a credit line on a credit card, allowing both people to build credit scores. It's also introducing features for families and teenagers. Apple was notably under fire from co-founder Steve Wozniak after people discovered that sometimes spouses had different credit limits. — Kif Leswing
Apple CEO Tim Cook kicks off the event
Walking around Apple Park, Apple's campus in Cupertino, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event with factoids about Apple's environmental efforts, saying that Apple is carbon-neutral and hopes to remove 1 million tons of carbon from the environment per year. — Kif Leswing
Over 360,000 people livestreaming Apple launch on YouTube
As Apple's event kicks off, YouTube shows more than 360,000 people are streaming it on that platform. Apple's three launch events last fall each garnered millions of people watching live on YouTube. It's also available streaming directly on Apple's website, which isn't counted in the YouTube numbers. — Kif Leswing
Data point: iPads have been on a hot streak
As Apple prepares to potentially release new iPads, remember that the product has had a great pandemic: In the fourth calendar quarter of 2020, Apple shipped $8.44 billion in iPads — which was up 41% year over year. — Kif Leswing
Apple's spring events are typically more muted than its fall launch extravaganzas
Apple is best known for its fall launch events, where it reveals new iPhones, but it's no stranger to hosting somewhat lower-profile events in the spring.
Apple didn't hold a spring event in 2020 due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and instead launched new iPads and other gadgets on its website. In 2019, Apple's spring announcement focused on services such as Apple TV+ and the Apple Card. But it also announced new iPads in 2018 during an education-focused event at a school in Chicago.
Last fall, Apple broadcast three prerecorded product launch events in three months, each of which garnered millions of live viewers on YouTube. — Kif Leswing
Yes, the Apple online store is down. No, it's not a problem, it's a tradition.
One of Apple's silliest traditions is that on the morning of an event it pulls its online Apple store down, giving up a few hours of online sales in exchange for building hype over its new products. Apple has done this for years, and technology has certainly gotten to the point where Apple could update its store without downtime — it does it all the time — but why mess with a tradition? — Kif Leswing
What's at stake for Apple?
I wrote yesterday about some of the tensions bubbling under the surface at Apple. Yes, this is just another product event, but there are a lot of headaches on the horizon that could threaten its growth, especially in the App Store.
There's the war of words with Facebook over the impending iOS privacy feature. There's the upcoming trial with Epic Games that centers on Apple's control of the App Store. And then there's Apple's dependence on China, which is an obvious target for Apple critics. (Just ask Peter Thiel.)
— Steve Kovach
Cook gets ready to kick off the event
Apple CEO Tim Cook is gearing up for Tuesday's "Spring Loaded" event, where the company is expected to announce new iPads and potentially a handful of other products. "It's a beautiful spring morning for an #AppleEvent! See you soon," Cook tweeted.
— Jessica Bursztynsky