Today’s the day. We’re expecting to see new iPads and iMacs at Apple’s first big event of 2021. The tech giant is expected to offer a series of conservative tablet updates alongside major software upgrades for its iPads and iPhones. The company is also rumored to show off new iMac computers, powered by some variant of the company’s new in-house M1 chips. And we might even see the long-rumored AirTags tracking accessories.
The event is being streamed through Apple’s website as part of its all-digital announcement strategy amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has spurred waves of lockdowns around the world. The virtual announcement presentations have allowed Apple to stick to its schedule of holding events in the spring, summer and fall. In 2020, as the pandemic took hold, Apple made its Worldwide Developers Conference online-only, with slickly edited videos adding to the typical stage presentation format for its June event. This year’s WWDC, scheduled to start June 7, will also be online-only.
The upcoming spring announcements are rumored to focus on the iPad’s speed and its screens. Apple’s expected to upgrade the chips powering its iPads and to introduce a new screen technology called mini-LED, which display makers say offers improved power efficiency and better brightness. Apple is rumored to be transitioning its MacBook laptops and iMac desktop computers to the technology sometime later as well. Modern iPhones use OLED screens, which are considered higher quality but typically cost more money to make.
Alongside the iPads, Apple’s expected to announce its plans to deliver iOS 14.5, a major software update that offers new emoji, ways to unlock a phone with your Apple Watch instead of your face, and big privacy changes. The new software, which will be made available as a free download, will require apps to ask permission in order to use tracking technology that collect information about users across various apps and websites.
Facebook in particular criticized Apple’s new initiative, called App Tracking Transparency, saying it’ll increase advertising costs. To make its case, Facebook took out ads in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post to argue against the move. Apple’s said it plans to release iOS 14.5 in the coming weeks.
The tech giant may also offer entirely new products, rumored to be called AirTags. The devices are little trackers you can attach to backpacks, purses, toys or whatever else, so you can locate them using the iPhone’s “Find My” app. Samsung beat Apple to market with its $40 SmartTag devices, announced in January. Other companies make similar devices too, including Tile and TrackR.
TIme Of Event
Apple’s online-only event will be held on April 20 at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. BST and April 21 at 3 a.m. AEST (Sorry, Australia).