Apple Event Recap: iMac, AirTags, iPad Pro, More

Posted on April 20, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS, iPadOS, Mac and macOS, Music + Videos with 108 Comments

 

At a virtual event today, Apple announced new M1-based iMacs and iPad Pros, a new Apple TV 4K, the long-awaited AirTag, and more.

So let’s start with the biggest news first and move on from there.

iMac 24-inch (M1)

Apple introduced its first Apple Silicon-based iMac, but it ships with the same M1 chip it unveiled last year and not a next-generation M1X or M2 chip as many expected. But it’s available in seven stunning colors, which is kind of fun, and it has a 24-inch 4.5K Retina Display, and not a 21.5-inch display like the previous entry-level iMac. The iMac 24-inch starts at $1299 will be available to order starting April 30 and it will ship to customers starting in the second half of May.

iPad Pro (M1)

The new iPad Pro 11 and 12.9 share the same form factors as their predecessors, but they’re now based on the M1 chipset and not the mobile-focused Ax-series chipset, as before. Both feature optional 5G networking, but the 12.9-inch version is the better upgrade, with its new Liquid Retina XDR display. And check this one, Surface fans: Both new iPad Pros support Thunderbolt. There’s also a new white version of the Magic Keyboard. The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $999 but the 12.9-inch version jumps to $1099 and up. Both will be available to order starting April 30 and will ship to customers starting in the second half of May.

AirTag

We’ve been waiting for Apple’s Tile ripoff for over two years, but it’s finally here. The AirTag costs $29, but you can buy a pack of five for $99. “Whether attached to a handbag, keys, backpack, or other items, AirTag taps into the vast, global Find My network and can help locate a lost item, all while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption,” Apple notes. AirTag will be available beginning Friday, April 30.

Apple TV 4K

Speaking of something we’ve been waiting years for, Apple also finally revved the Apple TV 4K with a new version featuring a faster A12 processor and what looks like a significantly better Siri remote with a power button and a dial for scrolling through content. The new Apple TV 4K will be available for order starting April 30 at $179 for a version with 64 GB of storage, and it will ship in the second half of May.

iPhone 12 in purple

Apple isn’t changing the iPhone 12, but it is offering the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini in a new purple color if you’re so inclined. Prices remain the same and the purple versions will be available for pre-order beginning Friday, April 23, with availability beginning Friday, April 30.

Apple Podcasts subscriptions

The Apple Podcasts app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac is getting a major upgrade with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, a way for customers to discover and pay for ad-free podcasts that will go live starting in May. (Why didn’t they call it Apple Podcasts+, one wonders?)

Apple Card Family

Apple is expanding its credit card offerings with Apple Card Family, a way for people to share their Apple Card, track purchases, manage spending, and build credit together. Starting in May in the U.S. only, Apple Card Family will let two people co-own an Apple Card, and share and merge their credit lines while building credit together equally. And it will let parents share Apple Card with their children 13 and older, with optional spending limits and controls, and with a single monthly bill.

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Comments (113)

113 responses to “Apple Event Recap: iMac, AirTags, iPad Pro, More”

  1. yoshi

    I wish Tim Cook broke into the lab and stole those colors for the MacBook Air.

  2. jaredthegeek

    11 inch iPad Pro with 5G is quite a tempting machine. I really like having integrated cellular in my devices and miss it when I don't have it. An iPad and use all MS services since I can set defaults is a very compelling device to carry around all the time for the work I do with it.

  3. djross95

    Much of this stuff is fluff, and pointless fluff at that (purple iPhones?), but MS better pay attention to the new iMacs. Anyone buying an all-in-one PC after this announcement has to have their head examined. When Big Sur gets v. 14.5, and 15 later this year, Windows 10 will look positively prehistoric. And "rounded corners" in Sun Valley won't be enough to stem the tide--Microsoft better have their act together and not just do a "barely good enough" upgrade.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to djross95:

      ? Those iMacs will never find a home in our company. And who's up for buying one with macOS vs Windows 10? Oh yeah still pitifully no touchscreen. Sorry but Microsoft has nothing to worry about with the rainbow line up from Apple.

      • ianbetteridge

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Touchscreens on laptops I can see the point of. Touchscreens on desktops? Nope.

      • retcable

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Sitting at my desk with an iMac on it and a perfectly fine expanded keyboard and Magic Touchpad on the keyboard tray under the desktop, I feel absolultely NO need to raise my arm/s and touch the screen to manipulate something on-screen. It's just not necessary.


        Plus, the thought of having to "Windex" my computer screen every little bit to remove smears, smudges, and fingerprints is total anathema to me. If someone wants to do that, fine & dandy, more power to them, and there are plenty of touchscreen Windows machines available, and maybe Apple should make one as well for that market, but for me it would be totally unused.

  4. innitrichie

    The Hermes Airtag key ring looks a steal at $299

    I'll also need the Hermes Airtag Luggage Tag for $399


    Great solutions to an age old problem.

    • crunchyfrog

      In reply to innitrichie: Lest we forget the $10,000 Series 1 Apple Watch. Who's toting that around now...


    • nbplopes

      In reply to innitrichie:


      Personally I will go with the $10 Belkin option also on the site. Or even cheaper in some china shop.


      PS: Hermes stuff always have been outrageously, stupidly and humanly offensive expensive. Check the €2.200 Cleophee Hat or the €500 caps. Its as ridiculous as far as some rich people can go.


      Someone people call it Prestige. But the origin of that word is actually quite contrary to the common thought. It used to mean: deceit, imposture, illusion. A interpretation more accurate in my opinion. But hey, don’t see anything wrong Hermes trying to bank on people with that kind of mentality, there is a market for that. Brand.

  5. anoldamigauser

    Looks like they borrowed the wheel for the TV remote from the old Macbook Wheel

  6. scovious

    I'd be curious of the GPU performance on the iMac, if there's anything beyond what's on the SOC at all. Any idea if there is anything user upgradable on it, like the RAM or the SSD?


    I also wonder why Apple won't make a flush back on the iPad Pro, does Apple think people don't put iPads down flat on a table? They all wobble pretty hard with that camera bump. iPads could definitely use extra battery life, so that seems like a bad design choice in my opinion.


    I definitely like the Thunderbolt and USB 4 addition, I wouldn't invest in any tech without that.

  7. cavalier_eternal

    The new iMac is probably the best example of why Apple is moving on from Intel. There is no way they could have made that with an Intel chip and maintained performance. It will be interesting to see what they do with the designs of their other systems as Apple Silicon progresses.

  8. nanovak

    I just want the new Apple TV remote. Don't need the new box ... just the remote. :-)

  9. will

    Hardware is no longer an issue with the iPad Pro, it is the software. iPadOS needs to somehow break into a full desktop replacement.


    Maybe they will virtualize macOS so when docked it is macOS and when portable it is iPadOS...or something like it

    • jm2016

      In reply to will:

      I don't think the M1 in the iPads Pro is necessarily the start of full OS convergence, but the idea of virtualization is interesting.


      Adding M1 to the iPads is more about building scale in the new chips (a margin play) as they get ready to roll out the next wave of Mx chips. It wouldn't surprise me if this time next year, the M1 is moved down to the iPad Air as well.


      A series in iPhone and lower end iPads, M series in Macs, iPads Pro really gives them 2 broad chip ranges at a decent scale.


      If they can fit an M1 in an iPhone, that would be interesting.

  10. jm2016

    I think this is sets the stage for an M1 iMac Pro. This looks similar to first wave of M1 Macs - the low end/middle of the range. I think this will lead to a line of iMac Pro models with larger screens, and beefier specs.


    Time will tell, but maybe this will make consumer/pro models more distinct. Like with the M1 MacBooks - if you're at the low end or middle of the intel iMac spectrum, this looks like a good upgrade.

    • will

      In reply to jm2016:


      Not 100% sure on this as they discontinued the iMac Pro line and yet they still have the intel iMac line as well as the M1 iMac.


      They are however missing the space grey color so maybe there is something more up the Pro side later this year as the MacBook Pro 16 and Mac Pro are what's left as of now.

  11. crunchyfrog

    Seriously, a purple iPhone 12? Not to nitpick but that does not look like purple to me, more like lavender...

    • bkkcanuck

      In reply to crunchyfrog:

      For most men when it comes down to colours.... there is actually a very small colour palette : Black, Grey, Blue, Black, Brown, Green, Purple, Red, Yellow, Orange, and White.... anything else is really just a fancy one of the others.... /s


      • Truffles

        In reply to bkkcanuck:

        Having just painted my house, I can confirm that the shade of white chosen for the ceiling is not different to the shade of white chosen for the walls which is not different to the shade of white chosen for the skirting boards. However, I can confirm that the three partially used tins of white paint do take up a very real amount of space in my garage.

  12. crunchyfrog

    I thought this was a great launch and had more stuff than I had expected come out. The AirTag's are interesting and I hope the AppleTV remote can be purchased for the previous gen devices, although I am sure it can be. The changes in AppleCard are also interesting and I'll be curious to see the details when it's launched.

  13. spiderman2

    - An all in one pc with an external power brick

    - A 2014 air tag st1.bgr.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/nokia-treasure-tag.jpg

    - An ipad PROOO that can replace a pc like this www.zdnet.com/a/hub/i/r/2018/11/12/96dd4e8f-e8b5-463f-8ff3-8da444279f06/resize/1200xauto/fbbb083d78cb385da61e0a712bc762fd/apple-ipad-pro-2018-1.jpg

  14. MTrimmer

    I find the iMac design unappealing. The colors are unique, but I spend little time looking at the back of my computer. And when I look at the front, I see this enormous chin that reminds me of Sylvester Stallone staring at me all day long where there should be more screen. No thanks, not interested.

  15. simont

    I am surprised there was nothing said about IOS 14.5 as the privacy options are going to cause head aches for a lot of companies.

  16. justme

    Am I the only one that sees AirTags as a well-meaning but a potentially bad idea? Might be my latent cynicism, but all I can see are potential misuses of such tags. Yes, you can Find My with your phones these days, but that can be turned off.

  17. macguy59

    The 2 items I was waiting for are finally here (Mini-LED iPad Pro and Airtags) The new ATV remote is a nice bonus. Hard pass on the iMac . . . now if they do a 32" version, I'm in

    • bkkcanuck

      In reply to macguy59:

      I am hoping they are just clearing the schedule of items they don't want to talk about during WWDC... and some non-entry machines starting being announced there.

    • michael_babiuk

      In reply to macguy59: I was also hoping for an :"M2 32" iMac Pro" type desktop computer. However, I suspect we will have to wait until the M2 chip arrives in the rumored MacBook Pro refresh later in the year. I also suspect that such an "iMac Pro" may have to wait until 2022. Then again we may never see it since that type of computer would best be served by the rumored MX based Mac Pro device.
      At any rate, I do like the new iMac (in green - Michigan State University colors -grin) and it would make for a nice relatively inexpensive desktop platform to host or participate in ZOOM or virtual meetings.


  18. bettyblue

    A home run by Apple. Air tags and new Apple TV will be purchased.

  19. nbplopes

    What’s with that chin in the iMac? Jezzz

  20. garrygbain

    Isn't the new MAC a dead ringer for a Surface Studio.... Apple copying MS again, catch up Apple.

  21. matsan

    Phew - I was afraid I’d have to buy an Intel 27” iMac right away but it seems like they will be around for some time, guess until parallels get their virtualization working with x86 which is a deal breaker for me.

    • ivarh

      In reply to matsan:

      I don't think they will start emulating an x86 CPU. I remember soft PC from the PowerPC mac days and it was not a speedy thing. The reason rosetta is so fast is that its emulating x86 for macos. This means that as soon as the app calls an API call it will be handled by native arm code and not emulated x86 code. Trying to run Windows under rosetta will be a lot slower since the OS itself has to be running on an emulated x86 and not using an ARM version of the windows system. This is probably why the ARM version of Windows runs x86 apps pretty well since once an emulated app calls a windows API it can be executed by the underlying ARM windows routines.

  22. jdawgnoonan

    Nice large white bezels on that iMac.

  23. prebengh

    Just a correction, the 11” iPad Pro starts at $799, and Apple TV is $179 for the 32 GB version and $199 for the 64 GB version.

    And it seems like the Podcast subscription is a subscription to individual podcasts, and not like a collection of different podcasts. So it more like a way to pay for individual podcasts (which in my view makes it less compelling).

  24. RobertJasiek

    Where are new iPad, iPad Mini and iPads with user-replaceable, world-wide standardised batteries?

    • hbko

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      They are replaceable, if your iPad has troubles you can get it swapped/serviced at the nearest Apple Store.

      • RobertJasiek

        In reply to hbko:

        Can I open my iPad within a minute and without risking to break the display? No. Therefore, I have to delete my data to protect them, go to the Apple store (currently impossible due to Corona), wait a couple of days while I cannot use my iPad, go to the Apple store again, pray that I get back my property instead of of some other user's device (Apple reserves the "right" to swap devices) and pay the excessive amount of €120 for ca. €15 of true value.

        For comparison: changing the battery of my mouse takes 1 minute. This is what I call replaceable.

    • Sir_Timbit

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      Apple is never, ever going to do these things.

    • ianbetteridge

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      Why is user-replaceable preferable to replaceable by a qualified technician? Old parts the have been replaced by users are much more likely to end up being disposed of unsafely, sometimes in domestic waste landfill or incineration. Companies, on the other hand, have to follow local e-waste disposal laws which means they are more likely to be disposed of safely.

      • RobertJasiek

        In reply to ianbetteridge:

        Advanced repair can be best done by a qualified technician but I do not speak of this exception. I speak of the frequent cases. The most frequent hardware service is battery replacement. Apple / iPad: it costs ca. €120 in Germany. Electronic device with a user-replaceable, non-standard battery: the user pays €15 ~ €60 depending on the battery and the device manufacturer's greed if not as outrageous as Apple's greed. Electronic device with a user-replaceable, standard battery: the user pays €1 ~ €35 depending on the battery.

        Having to consult a technician wastes time. Depending on the product, place of living etc., it can be hours or days, during which one cannot use one's device. User-replaceable battery means that the user buys the replacement battery in time and then needs about 1 minute to replace it. The user can always continue to use his device (and continue earning any money with it), except for 1 minute. Incomparably better! (Not to mention side effects on data management and security if having to give a device to a technician.)

        See also my other reply.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      Where are new iPad, iPad Mini and iPads with user-replaceable, world-wide standardised batt


      Where are *any* tablets that do this? A Surface Go, maybe?


      Also, this sounds horrible. I’d specifically avoid any tablet that took regular batteries.

      • RobertJasiek

        In reply to curtisspendlove:

        "this sounds horrible. I’d specifically avoid any tablet that took regular batteries."

        You do not join the choir of those reading "AAAA batteries" when instead I mean a new battery standard for mobile devices, do you?

        Standardisation of batteries for mobile devices should be very much easier than standardisation of eletronic parts or protocols. Industry just needs to agree, or politics or ISO needs to declare, a set of standard sizes, places of connections, voltage and the requirement that each declared capacity in Wh is provided for a period of warranty, such as at least 3 years.

        This would allow competition between battery manufacturers so consumers could buy the best batteries with large capacity, reliability and long life from one manufacturer and use them in a device of another manufacturer. You call this horrible - I call this highly desirable.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In your imagination. :)
  25. anthonye1778

    Some interesting product launches for sure. But there sits that gorgeous-looking iMac... still without any sort of touch interface. Sinofsky is right. It's a gigantic iPad without touch. It's frankly incredible NOT to have touch at this point, especially since the device is near-perfect for such a capability. I was almost expecting them to include pencil capabilities as a sort of half-measure, which still would have been phenomenal. But alas...


    Oh well, the new Apple TV 4K is interesting as are the AirTags. Not in the market for a new iPad Pro but the Mini-LED display on the larger one looks absolutely sick for content creators.

  26. corbey

    The new 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799, not $999.


    Also, the new Apple TV remote is supposed to be compatible with older units and available by itself for around $60.

  27. bart

    The Apple Card Family is clever. This way you can get that new spec'd out iPad Pro or iMac for your kid to pay off the debt when they're grown up :)

  28. interloper

    What on earth were they thinking with those white bezels? Absolutely horrendous.

  29. ngc224

    As a long-suffering Microsoft fan, Apple is flat-out impressive. Engineering, design, marketing – Apple has it all.


    I’m about to give up on Microsoft.


  30. RobertJasiek

    In reply to Dan:

    Who said that A-standard would be appropriate for mobile computers? It requires a NEW standard for thin devices with long battery life, of course! Currently, batteries have all sorts of weird shapes but standardised shapes enable more reliable batteries (they cannot bend easily) with longer battery duration (because regular shape does not waste space inside).

  31. jcbeckman

    I believe it’s a 4-pack of AirTags for $99, not 5. That’s not terrible, but then Apple wants $39 for a leather key ring holder? I’ll go with the Belgian $13 one, thanks.


    And if the iPad Pro uses an M1 chip, you’d think they could update iPadOS to run M1 Mac apps. I was disappointed they didn’t follow up with that. Seems like Rosetta 2 should work as well.

  32. vladimir

    they did not say what happens when the ipad's thunderbolt port is connected to an external monitor. Interestingly, the new ipad has 16gb of ram, the previous one had 4. It could run macos without any problem. When that is going to happen, it will be a game changer for me

  33. RobertJasiek

    In reply to Dan:

    Countless product categories have user-replaceable, standardised batteries: desktop mainboards, torches etc. Scews, lightbulbs etc. are standardised. However, batteries of mobile devices are specfically designed to restrict life span to 1/4 of what otherwise hardware would survive and to waste earth's ressources and energy for the sake of making the self-declared leader of environmental protection richer at the expense of us endusers. Asking who is asking for replaceable, standardised batteries is singing Apple's PR, which wants to make the world believe that average expense per year and honest protection of the environment would be immaterial.

    • hbko

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      This feels like a very outdated concept. It’s not the screws and user replaceable battery that instantly makes it environmentally friendly.


      The internals of any Apple device are serviceable, also Apple goes to great lengths to recycle materials and parts. They even resell refurbished devices for a “second life” at a lower cost. So yes, they are standard and can be repaired - at the Apple Store or your local reseller.

      • RobertJasiek

        In reply to hbko:

        A proprietary Apple "standard" per device version.

        I get the recycle part of the tale. They speak of aluminium. What about the other elements? Adhesive and difficulty to open intentionally create short product life of many mobile devices.

        • ianbetteridge

          In reply to RobertJasiek:

          The model that you're using is a bit of an over-simplification of the environmental picture of devices.

          First, it's always worth taking a whole-lifecycle approach to environmental impact. Being able to replace a standard battery is no use if the old battery can't be safely disposed of. A serviceable design is no use if that design costs more energy to manufacture (70% of all the power – and hence carbon emissions – for any computer is consumed in making it, not using it).

          It's also worth drawing the distinction between parts which are replaceable, and parts which are user replaceable. The former is generally preferable to the latter: all companies, including Apple, are subject to e-waste disposal laws which individuals are not. A battery that can be taken out by an end user is more likely to end up as hazardous e-waste in landfill than one replaced by a company like Dell or Apple.

          In terms of recycling materials other than aluminium, products returned to Apple for recycling also yield tungsten, copper, steel and rare earth magnets.

          • RobertJasiek

            In reply to ianbetteridge:

            Ok, let's dig deeper into it. Thanks for details of further materials recycled by Apple. Environmental aspects include conditions of mining of ressources, energy of production, energy of use, disposal etc.

            My experience may be prejudiced as a German. Here, disposing batteries is common sense, many supermarkets and every electronics market collects batteries, and sellers of electronics or batteries and waste collecting places accept batteries and electronics as sorted garbage. It is, of course, possible that recycling (at least of batteries and electronics) is not taken at least as seriously in all countries. Needless to say, Germans must also abide e-waste disposal laws, but they are easy to follow because there are enough places of correct disposal.

            In Germany, it makes comparatively little difference who (waste collectors or electronics manufacturers) recycles if only they are serious about it. Therefore, a distinction between manufacturer-replaceable and user-replaceable is of little importance as to the quality of later recycling. The key related aspect is that user-replaceable (especially batteries) allows an on average much longer lifespan than manufacturer-replaceable, see below. Typical examples: compare smartphones to torches. Smartphones are very much more expensive but have a comparably short lifespan because their batteries are (if at all) only manufacturer-replaceable - torches are cheap but have a long lifespan because their batteries are user-replaceable.

            "A serviceable design is no use if that design costs more energy to manufacture": This is wrong also for the case of a serviceable design costing more energy to manufacture because it would not be much more just be making a device repairable and battery-replaceable. The most relevant factor here is the lifespan of a device. By making it reliable, repairable and battery-replaceable, the expected average (first hand plus second hand) lifespan of an electronic device is multiplied by 2 to 4, if not more. This means that 1/2 to 1/4 of devices must be built new and later (by consuming more energy) recycled.

            Environment is one important aspect. Expense per device per year is the other major aspect for many of us. Doubled lifespan means half the expense for new devices of the same type etc.! It is as simple as that. Oh, wait, excessive (Apple-like!) servicing costs for repair or battery replacement shorten a device's average lifespan greatly and motivate too many to buy new instead, which, you know, is bad for the environment.

  34. Saarek

    I've been waiting for them to replace the Apple TV, definitely going to be ordering that bad boy.


    But the iMac...... I'd planned on buying one of these iMacs, but I have to say I'm massively underwhelmed. £1649 for the model with 512GB SSD and a paltry 8GB of Ram and last years entry level chip.


    Real nasty taste in the mouth with the £200 jump from the base model which they deliberately neutered to try and force people into buying the middle model. There should be no base model, it should just start at the £1249 with the 256GB SSD and all ports and go from there.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to Saarek:


      I was expecting this chip on entry level iMacs... but was not expecting the 8GB for starters. On another note ... what’s with that chin? I was expecting just sheet of glass with the things on the back. Instead, they seamed to have put almost the entire components in the chin ...


      I’ll pass this one ... waiting for the 29.5” model or so.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to Saarek:

      There should be no base model, it should just start at the £1249 with the 256GB SSD and all ports and go from there.


      Hi, have you met Apple?


      I think we will see something about the more powerful line of iMacs and MacBook Pros in the WWDC keynote.


      Expect them to be even more expensive than the ones released today.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to Saarek:

      For regular use the ram is not a problem. The M1 chip apparently uses it quite differently and for those working with the Mac mini or MacBook Air they’ve had no problems with regular workloads including video and audio editing.

      • Saarek

        In reply to Greg Green:

        I appreciate that, I own a MacBook Air M1 with just the 8GB of Ram so know first hand just how good it is.


        As an entry level point I have no issue with it being 8GB, but, assuming they charge £200 to up the Ram to 16GB, which is likely, that means that I'd be paying £600 more over the base model for a 256GB bigger SSD and 8GB more of Ram (yes, I know you also get one whole core more on the GPU and some ports that should not have been stripped out I the first place).


        I just don't see the value in it. The base model simply should not exist.

  35. michael_babiuk

    The ability to use an iPhone to calibrate a person's HDTV display using the new Apple TV 4k is rather neat.


    The redesign 24" iMac with the improved webcam iSight camera module - coupled to the improved mics and sound system - would make for a compelling ZOOM or virtual meeting desktop computer.


    I suspect that a hypothetical "iMac Pro" with an upgraded M2 chipset and rumored larger display (perhaps without the chin bezels) will wait until the fall or September when the new MacBook Pro laptops are introduced. Waiting until then could be a result of "chip supply shortages" - even Apple is not immune from them it would seem. At any rate, I will wait to upgrade my desktop system if a new "iMac Pro" is introduced. (But I was sure hoping that I didn't have to wait and that I could have purchase one of those hypothetical beasts in a few weeks.)

  36. red.radar

    Can't wait for the dog collars with airtags


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