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Apple Spring Loaded event summary: new iMac, purple iPhone and more

Here’s everything you need to know about all the new products and updates that were announced during Apple's 'Spring Loaded' event.

When is the Apple Spring Loaded event

Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ event unveiled a whole host of exciting new products and updates. We got the rundown on new devices like the new iPad Pro, the all-new AirTags tracking devices, and the all-new iMac. As expected, we didn’t hear anything about the iPhone 13 or AirPods – we should get updates on those later in the year.

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Our live blog is over now, but here’s our summary of the main highlights during the event:

Apple Spring Loaded event live blog 

19:05:
A sign-off from Tim Cook

That seems to be the end of the proceedings, and we’re back with Tim Cook. He gives us a quick recap of all that’s already been discussed – the new iMac, AirTags, the M1 chip, the iPad Pro, Apple TV – before the camera pulls out to reveal the Apple headquarters in all its glory. We feel like we’ve just walked off a rollercoaster ride – of the best possible kind.

18:58:
The iPad Pro will be $799 and $1099 across respective sizes

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Bose has just confirmed the price of the iPad Pro models in US dollars – that works out as approximately £573 and £788 pounds. Of course, the actual numbers may match that of the US prices, as official UK prices yet to be confirmed.

New iPad Pro

18:55:
Glowing testimonials from creatives

Creatives adore Apple, and that’s not changed. Officials from the likes of Procreate and LumaFusion attest to the vast capabilities of the new iPad Pro, with an emphasis on that XDR display and – you’ve got it – the M1 chip. Plus, the new Thunderbolt connection is given lots of praise, and we think this will be a major sell for visual artists, musicians and filmmakers who are already using the iPad Pro.

18:51:
New Liquid Retina XDR display and mini LEDs coming to the iPad Pro

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1000 nits full-screen brightness, 1,600 nits peak brightness: these levels of brightness you’ll get in the new iPad Pro. Goodness, the stats just keep coming and coming. We’re also pleased to find more about the mini LEDs that we knew would feature in the iPad Pro: smaller, more diffuse lights that offer more control over the various zones of the image. In other words: a more vibrant and high-contrast image.

18:49:
Center Stage camera function on the iPad Pro will follow you around the room

A ‘huge step forward’ is heralded in the iPad Pro – 12MP Ultra Wide camera and a feature called ‘Center Stage’. This uses the devices machine learning to let the camera follow you around the room – so if, say, you’re cooking while on a video call, it’s the ideal fix.

18:47:
iPad Pro gets super fast 5G

We were hoping this would be confirmed – Bose has just announced that the all-new iPad Pro will support 5G connectivity – that’s connection speeds of 3.5 GbP/S. It’s ‘blazing speeds’ rather than blazing performances this time.

18:43:
The M1 chip delivers a 75% faster CPU performance on the iPad

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Raja Bose, the iPad Product manager, is clearly very proud of the M1. His emphasis is on the terrifically improved performance, which delivers incredible results in digital painting, image processing and video editing. Apple remains an industry leader for creatives, thanks to the chip’s ‘blazing performance’ and ‘complex effects.

18:40:
Apple are REALLY keen to chat M1

We’re back with John Ternus, who now talks us through an entirely different product. Which involves abseiling and breaking-and-entering, it seems. At least, that’s what the promo video suggests. Actually, the intruder has just entered the Apple headquarters to steal the M1 chip – and it’s Tim Cook in disguise! Clearly, Apple is keen to champion the capabilities of their homegrown, brand-new chip.

18:36:
4.5k retina display, 1080p camera in the new iMac

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These are statistics we like the sound of. Apple is clearly aware of how much multitasking a family computer needs to do, as the next segment focuses on a busy household. The emphasis is all about the new computer’s speed and multitasking capabilities.

18:35:
New magnetic power connection, Touch ID keyboard

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Noviello lays out various new features in the iMac accessories, these include a magnetic power connection and a Touch ID incorporated into the aluminium keyboard. She also gives a call-out to the iMac’s Big Sur OS.

18:31:
‘Best camera ever in a Mac’

Navpreet Kaloty is on hand to talk about the camera that’s going into the iMac. The new M1 will reap all sorts of benefits thanks to its ‘neural networks’ – its camera will auto-correct images along six different criteria, including noise, focus, colour and contrast.

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Colleen Novielli is back, now, to chat performance in the new iMac. She says its GPU is 85% faster than previous models – a pretty incredible statistic. Photo editing software is twice as fast. And there are plenty of games to enjoy too.

18:25:
The all-new iMac is unveiled!

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Whoo! The latest generation of iMac is finally revealed. Here’s what’s been announced by Colleen Novielli:

  • Six different colours to choose
  • A single sheet of glass makes up the front displays
  • The back is where you’ll see that colour scheme (the rainbow theme of the intro is now starting to make sense)
  • It’s way more compact than the previous iMac
  • The M1 chip is far smaller than processors, hence the super-slim build.
  • The display measures a seriously impressive 24 inches and 4.5K retina display. That’s right: 4.5K.

Colleen herself describes the new iMac as ‘awesome’. We’re not going to disagree.

18:17:
Apple’s smart TVs are next on the agenda

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We’re introduced to the next generation of television, the Apple’s TV 4K – and the A12 bionic chip that’s going into these televisions. Expect better frame rates, Dolby Vision. Unsurprisingly, they pair particularly well with iPhones, which can auto-correct the output of your TV with an app on your smartphone. Pretty cool, Apple!

18:15:
Apple TV+ gets a shout-out

Back to Tim Cook and over to the world of Apple TV. Apparently, Ted Lasso is one of Tim Cook’s favourites. Indeed, it’s the next series that forms the basis of the next segment. It’s an important reminder of how, in the year 2021, Apple is as serious a cultural force and not just as a tech manufacturer.

18:12:
AirTags available April 30th

There’s the first release date we got: the AirTags will be available as of April 30th. So by the end of the month, you can have one of these goodies strapped to your bag or wallet.

18:11:
The AirTags are officially unveiled

AirTags

Okay, and now here’s something that we expected: an introduction to the Apple AirTags. Apple’s cute video, featuring a man crawling into his sofa searching for his keys, does a pretty good job of explaining what these tracking devices are all about. We’re happy to see how you get to personalise them and turn them into something of a style statement.

The technology is undeniably cool: the AirTags will tell you in feet how far you are from your missing object.

18:09:
The iPhone is going purple

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Surprisingly, the iPhone gets an early mention – with a song from ‘Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ an unlikely soundtrack. That’s because the next one is being launched in purple. Wow. The iPhone 12 in purple is available on April 30th, with preorders starting on Friday.

18:07:
Cook talks Apple card, Apple Podcast, iPhone

An unusual opening move: Cook announces the ‘Apple Card Family’, which is part of Apple’s ongoing mission to reinvent the credit. Spouses and partners can now merge their credits, and anyone in the family over 18 can use it.

There’s also a brand-new look to the Apple Podcast page, with channels and podcast subscriptions. A flashback to the very first Podcast page was very nostalgic – it looks kind of prehistoric.

Here’s what the new Podcast app should look like:

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18:03:
Tim Cook introduces Spring Loaded

And we’re off: Apple is treating us to an exciting shot of rainbow colours arcing around Apple Park. And Tim Cook, Apple CEO, is on hand. He assures us ‘better days are ahead of us’ – a reference to the pandemic, of course. He also told us that Apple aims to be carbon-neutral by the year 2030 and to remove one million tons of carbon a year. Clearly, as a company, it has its sights on a bright future.

17:53:
Apple’s tech launch has just kicked off

Stand by, lights, cue music and we’re underway with Spring Loaded. The stream is now live. That name is still making us chuckle. Even after a year of Covid restrictions, it’s still a little strange seeing these tech launches take place entirely online. A quick reminder: You can watch this either via Apple’s website or on YouTube. Settled in? Okay, let’s see who from Apple introduces the launch…

17:36:
Apple Pencil another likely fixture in today’s launch

Less talked about (but still on lots of people’s radars) is the third-generation Apple Pencil – or the Apple Pencil 3. A leaked video has been doing the rounds online since this morning, which suggests it will continue in the white, glossy tradition of its forebears. The previous Apple Pencils have always made a natural companion to the iPad (magnetically) connecting it to the side, so it stands to reason the latest generation of both products will be unveiled today.

17:20:
Other products that might get unveiled today

There are other items that may get a mention in the launch today. One is the latest generation of Apple earbuds, the (not officially called) AirPods 3. However, we think it’s unlikely they’ll be unveiled as online leaks suggest that the new Airpods won’t go into production until the third quarter of the year.

The other is the (also not officially called) iPhone 13. The reason that’s a long shot at today’s event is that, as everybody knows, iPhones are always released in the autumn. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of rumblings on the gossip mill about both products – take a look at our AirPods 3 release date page and iPhone 13 release date page to find out more.

17:00:
What we know so far about the launch

In a nutshell, here’s what we know so far about Spring Loaded: Apple is due to unveil a selection of its products slated for a 2021 release. We think this will include a new range of iPads, and the all-new AirTags (tracking devices). Check out our new iPad release date page and Apple AirTag release date page for more rumours about these items.

16:40:
The Apple Store is currently down

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The UK Apple Store is currently down – but relax, people: there’s no cause for alarm. This always happens in the lead-up to a major Apple product launch, presumably as the sales folks do the digital equivalent of clearing the shelves and making space for the shiny new merchandise. We’re already excited!

16:20:
Apple Spring Loaded event due to stream at 6pm

Welcome to RadioTimes.com’s live coverage of this evening’s Apple Spring Loaded event. We’ll be posting regular updates on everything that’s announced during the livestream, which you can tune into at YouTube or on Apple’s website. It’s likely to run for about a couple of hours, from 6pm BST – that’s 10am over in sunny Cupertino, California.

How to watch the Spring Loaded event

Apple’s Spring Loaded was livestreamed on the official Apple site and YouTube. You can rewatch the whole thing via Apple’s YouTube page.

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