From the Editor's Desk: Apple's 'Spring loaded' event came and went with a bang
It finally happened folks, we got our April Apple event, which was appropriately dubbed 'Spring loaded,' because it was absolutely bonkers and full of new products. So let's dive in!
AirTags are finally a thing, hip hip hurray! It has felt like absolutely forever (though in reality just a few years), but Apple finally revealed the AirTag, the company's item tracker meant to take on competitors like Tile and Chipolo. Unlike the competition, though, the AirTag not only has Bluetooth LE, but it packs in the U1 ultra wide-band chip, so you can get Precise Finding with iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 devices. This is no doubt what I'm looking forward to the most — haptic, audio, and visual feedback to locating my item. From what I've seen so far, it doesn't look like you'll get a notification if you leave an AirTag behind (Tile's Smart Alerts feature), so that's a little disappointing. However, I'm thoroughly impressed with how Apple is handling privacy and safety with the anti-stalking measures, which seem like the tradeoff.
When I awoke from my deep slumber at around 6 am PDT the day pre-orders went live, I made sure to pick up a 4-pack, so it will be getting here by Friday. I honestly really wanted to get them engraved with my initials and some fun emojis, but that would have pushed it back to mid-May, and honestly, "I ain't got time for that!" So I went with no engraving — perhaps if I like them enough, I'll get another engraved set later on. I am a tad annoyed that Apple's accessories for the AirTag cost more than the AirTag itself, but of course, there are already plenty of great AirTag accessories from third-parties out there, so you can definitely find more affordable alternatives. As far as where I'll be putting my AirTags, I think keys (obviously), my wallet, I'll probably tuck one away in my car (I hate forgetting where I parked), and maybe put one on my dog's collar or give it to my husband. With up to 16 AirTags linked to one Apple ID, I may very well end up buying more down the road.
Now, enough about AirTags — there were plenty of other exciting things that Apple revealed during the event, too, like the brand new, colorful M1 iMacs. I won't be getting one of these since I just bought a 27-inch iMac a few months ago (I really needed an upgrade from a dying late-2013 15-inch MacBook Pro), but I absolutely love the colors! The iMac comes in seven vibrant hues, including a gorgeous pink that would totally match all of my pink desk accessories. However, I have to say that I'm not a big fan of that white bezel. I find it a little distracting, to be honest, especially if you're going to watch videos in full screen or something. I never liked the white bezels on the iPhone or iPad because they stuck out like a sore thumb when watching videos, so the same applies to the iMac. But that's the only real issue I have with it. How Apple managed to make it super thin with an iPad-like design (flat edges) is pretty impressive, and that new magnetic (MagSafe) power cord is nice. And, of course, the M1 chip means these babies will be packing a lot of power for the price.
The iPad Pro (2021) was also a big reveal. In a big surprise for everyone, it is now packing an M1 chip inside, rather than the previous A-series. This means more power, performance, and efficiency. We can only hope that iPadOS 15 will take full advantage of this new power for the iPad Pros, otherwise, it may feel like a waste. The new iPad Pro has an awesome new Liquid Retina XDR display, at least only on the 12.9-inch version. This new display is built for high-brightness and high-contrast HDR content, so it's perfect for those who edit a lot of HDR photos and videos, as well as other visual productions. I'm still rocking a 2020 11-inch iPad Pro, so I'm not sure if I'll be upgrading, especially since the 11-inch doesn't get the new display, and I prefer that size, to be fair. Still, the M1 chip is a great addition, and I look forward to what iPadOS 15 brings in a few months.
Other things of note at the event include the new Apple TV 4K with updated Siri Remote. I personally don't own an Apple TV myself, but this definitely feels like a minor spec bump with the A12 Bionic, considering that a few of the new features they showed off are through tvOS 14, like the new Color Balance process. The only real difference between this updated Apple TV 4K and the one before is that the new one supports High Frame Rate HDR and Dolby Vision video. Surprisingly, there is no new focus on gaming like a lot of us were expecting. And the new Siri Remote looks way better in terms of functionality than previous iterations, and it can now control your entire television set too. The clickpad wheel definitely makes me think of the old iPods. Still, those who hated the old remote are sure to love the new Siri Remote.
And let's not forget that Apple surprised everyone with a beautiful new purple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. I do wish that the purple color was more of a deep grape hue than lilac/lavender, but it's still cute. But I strongly dislike how Apple always seems to release a new iPhone color in the middle of the cycle — how about those of us who want colors like this on launch? C'mon!
Anyways, that's enough for this week. Did you order a new iPhone 12 or some AirTags for yourself? Or are you waiting for the iMacs, iPad Pros, and Apple TV 4K?
- Christine Romero-Chan
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.