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Apple Spring Loaded event: all the news and announcements

Apple Spring Loaded event: all the news and announcements
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s Spring Loaded event was held today, and the tech giant flexed its considerable range of products through the hour and change presentation. The headline additions, a redesigned iMac and an upgraded iPad Pro line, both are equipped with the company’s powerful new M1 chip.

The iMac, which had been due a refresh for a while but still sports a sizeable ‘chin’, will be available in a series of colours. Whichever one you opt for, it’ll come packing a 24-inch display with a 4.5K resolution. We have more detailed news about the iMac in this story.

Apple also finally improved the cameras, adding a 1080p sensor that offers improved low-light performance, and a new beam-forming mic array that cuts out background noise. The iMac will receive the M1’s performance benefits such as instant app launching, as well as being whisper quiet - just ten decibels while operating. We can't wait to test one and add it to our best home computers guide.

It’ll also offer TouchID capability through a redesigned keyboard that adds emoji, Spotlight, and lock keys, and will be available to order on April 30, shipping in the second half of May.

Apple iPad 2021

(Image credit: Apple)

What's new with iPad?

The iPad Pro, on the other hand, received no visual overhaul but did get some impressive under-the-hood upgrades. The M1 increases the device’s performance, and 5G capability makes it more capable than ever when out and about - provided you have the right conditions.

Apple’s premier tablet also has a new camera system and ‘studio quality microphones’, and the company’s commitment to video calls has allowed for ‘Center Stage’, which pans the camera to the subject even as they move.

The 12.9-inch also gets a new Liquid Retina XDR, which cribs from the company’s impressive (but prohibitively expensive) Pro Display XDR. It’s available to pre-order from April 30, at $799 for the 11-inch version and $1099 for the 12.9-inch one, with both shipping in the second half of May.

Elsewhere, the company also revealed an improved Apple TV 4K which is powered by the A12 Bionic Chip, which allows for HDR playback at high frame-rates, and a new calibration tool called ‘Color Balance’ which utilises an iPhone’s sensors to help ensure you’re getting the best picture. The controversial Siri remote is also getting an overhaul, with a clickpad and more easily distinguishable buttons. It starts at $179 for the 32GB version, and ships in the second half of May.

Personal tracking and iPhone colors

Rounding up the freshly announced hardware are AirTags, Apple’s new personal GPS tracking dongle that allow you to find your misplaced keys or wallet. Utilising the U1 chip, they connect (anonymously) to a network of around 1 billion Apple devices. AirTag is available for $29, while a four-pack costs $99.

Rounding off the event, the iPhone 12 line is getting a new Purple color option which can be pre-ordered from this Friday, while the Podcasts app will allow premium content to be gated behind a Subscription option which launches next month.

Finally, Apple Card, the company’s credit card, will allow partners and spouses to share an account, merge lines of credit, and improve their individual credit ratings over time, while anyone over the age of 13 in your family can use your card with spending limits.