Apple “Spring Loaded” Event Predictions

Apple announced its “Spring Loaded” last week, and as is the case with each of Apple’s events, I have a set of predictions. For this event, I only have a few predictions.

Air Tags

Throughout many of the betas of various versions of iOS, there have been indications of a product called “Air Tags”. The indications show that Air Tags are beacons that can be attached to various items so that should they be lost, and someone comes across it, their iPhone can provide the last location.

I give this a 50% chance of occurring. If Apple does not announce it with this event, I suspect that they will never announce them.

Apple TV

The Apple TV box is in desperate need of an update. The last release was in September of 2017, which was 3 1/2 years ago. In that time, there have been no revisions to the product. I suspect that Apple will release a new Apple TV. The rumors indicate that this would support 120Hz televisions.

I give the possibility of this happening at 75%.

iPad Pros

The last significant update to the iPad Pros was in 2018. While there was an update to the iPad Pro in 2020, it was a minor update to the A12Z, which supported LiDAR in the camera. Outside of these two changes, there were no other changes.

I think Apple will release a new set of iPad Pros, a replacement 11-inch as well as a replacement 12.9-inch model. I think one of them, the 12.9-inch model specifically, will have a different type of display, possibly a mini-led.

Apple Watch Bands

Each season Apple likes to release new Watch Bands. I think these will be briefly discussed, or possibly just shown off in just a few minutes of the presentation. I give this a 90% chance of occurring.

New Macs

Last November Apple unveiled new Mac running Apple Silicon. At the time there were three devices released, the MacBook Air, the lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini. Approximately six months after the release of those devices is a good time to release the next device.

I think there will be another Mac with an M1 released, the 21.5-inch iMac. I suspect this because the 21.5-inch model would likely run the M1, same as the current devices running the M1. I give this a 50% chance of occurring.

There is the rumor that Apple will provide some new colors to the iMacs. While I think this would be a nice change from having the standard gray and space gray, I am not sure Apple would do this, even though it would be very reminiscent of the iMac G3. I give this a 10% chance of actually being announced.

Predictions Recap

Here is a re-cap of my predictions. There are not that many for this event.

Prediction % Chance
New Watch Bands 90%
New iPad Pros 90%
New Apple TV Box 75%
12.9-inch iPad Pro New Screen Type 60%
New 21.5-inch iMac 50%
AirTags Announced 50%
New iMacs in colors 10%

The event begins at 10 am Pacific Time on Tuesday, April 20th. I will post a recap of what was announced after the event.

Apple Announces “Spring Loaded” Event

Today, Apple announced that they will be holding a “Spring Loaded” event. The event will be streamed on April 20th at 10 am Pacific Time. The invitation states “Please join us for a special Apple Event from Apple Park.” This makes me think that it will be an event similar to the fall events.

While there has been speculation that there would be an event this spring, it looks like Siri let it slip that it was going to be next Tuesday. Here is a screenshot of Siri’s response my Mac, as well as another one from my iPhone, when I asked “Siri, when is the next Apple Event”.

Response from Siri on a Mac when asking "When is the next Apple Event". The response was ""The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all of the details on Apple.com"
Response from Siri on an iPhone when asking "When is the next Apple Event". The response was ""The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all of the details on Apple.com"

Siri’s response is “The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all of the details on Apple.com”. As is the case with other Apple events I will post my predictions for what I think we will see at the event, so stay tuned for that.

Apple Announces WWDC21 Dates

Today Apple announced that they will be holding their annual World Wide Developer Conference, or WWDC, again this year. The theme for this year is “Glow and Behold”. WWDC21 will be held in an all-online format starting June 7th and going through June 11th. Apple’s WWDC20 was also held in an all-online format. While last year’s was due to Covid-19, and the reluctance to gather so many people in one place, there has been no mention as to why Apple is having an all-online conference.

Even though there is no mention for the reason, the all-online format is somewhat better for all developers because everyone can see the exact same sessions as the same time and there is no lottery for tickets, no rushing to be the first, and just like WWDC20, this is a free conference which provides more accessibility for all developers to attend. Everyone can see the same conference no matter where in the world they are.

Swift Student Challenge

Animoji in 3D of a student with a Graduation Cap, wearing gray glasses, with the Swift and Xcode icons reflected from an M1 MacBook Air.
Swift Student Challenge

Just as was the case last year, there is a “Swift Student Challenge”. The Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for young developers to demonstrate their coding skills by creating a Swift playground, is now accepting submissions. These submissions are due by April 18th and all of the information, including the application to apply, can be found on the Swift Student Challenge website.

Some of the requirements for the application are:

To be eligible for the Challenge, you must:

  • Be 13 years of age or older, or the equivalent minimum age in the relevant jurisdiction (for example, 16 years of age in the European Union);
  • Be registered for free with Apple as an Apple developer or be a member of the Apple Developer Program; and
  • Fulfill one of the following requirements:
    • Be enrolled in an accredited academic institution or official homeschool equivalent;
    • Be enrolled in a STEM organization’s educational curriculum;
    • Be enrolled in an Apple Developer Academy; or
    • Have graduated from high school or equivalent within the past 6 months and be awaiting acceptance or have received acceptance to an accredited academic institution.

Apple will be releasing more information in the next couple of months. As has become my tradition, I will be making predictions of what we might see at WWDC once it is closer to the start of WWDC.

Source: Apple

Apple discontinues HomePod to focus on HomePod mini

I meant to post about this before now, but last Friday, TechCrunch reported that Apple was discontinuing the larger HomePod in favor of focusing on the HomePod mini.

The original HomePod is available “while supplies last”, however as of this writing you can still get an original HomePod in white from Apple, and the space gray model is sold out. You still might be able to get one from a third-party retailer.

I cannot say that I am surprised by this move. There has not been any hardware update to the HomePod since its introduction in 2017 and its release in February of 2018. After it was released, I wrote a couple of different reviews about the HomePod.

The original HomePod produces great sound, and I am somewhat sad that they are not doing any updates to the product because the HomePod produces much better sound than the HomePod mini. At the same time, I get needing to focus on one HomePod product and the HomePod mini being the focus makes sense. Given how many people are price conscious, you can get three HomePod minis for the price of one HomePod, and therefore creating a stereo pair of HomePod minis is still cheaper, even with AppleCare+ and tax included.

If Apple is going to focus on the HomePod mini, I hope they plan on releasing updates on a regular basis, otherwise I feel as though the HomePod mini will go the way of the HomePod and there will be no Siri-enabled HomePods available.

The original HomePod will continue to receive updates, but the real question is for how long. I suspect that it may only be a a few years of support left for the original HomePod, in terms of software updates, but I could be wrong.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple Discontinues iMac Pro

It looks like the iMac Pro is not long for this world. As of this writing, the iMac Pro is still available to purchase, however the purchase page has the words “While Supplies Last” on it. While you can still purchase an iMac Pro, you can only get the base model. This means that you are not able to customize it in anyway and there are no upgrades available.

Let us travel back to 2017 briefly. The highest end Mac was the Mac Pro. It was introduced in 2013 to much fanfare and had a radical design. Even though there was a new design, the machine had remained largely unchanged since its introduction. Given that there had not been any updates, many speculated that Apple had given up on the higher-end of the Mac market.

In April of 2017 Apple held a roundtable with some journalists to indicate that they were in fact re-dedicating itself to the Mac. According to TechCrunch, “And later this year we’ll see improved iMacs that Apple feels will appeal to a segment of Pro users, as well.” While they did not have anything to share at that time, the product would be announced quite soon.

At Apple’s 2017 World Wide Developer Conference, they announced a Mac that was aimed at professional users. It would not be a modular machine. Instead, it would be called the iMac Pro. The machine would become available in December of the same year.

The iMac Pro was truly designed for professionals and came with a professional price tag that starts at $4999. However, for this you would get a Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of ECC memory, and 1TB of storage. Plus, it would come in Space Gray with matching accessories.

The current base model of the iMac Pro comes with the following specifications:

  • 3.0GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • 32GB 2666MHz ECC memory
  • 1TB SSD storage
  • Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB HBM2 memory
  • 10Gb Ethernet
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • 27-inch Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display

While the iMac Pro is still a good machine, it is not being updated. It has not seen any significant updates in its three-years on the market. There have been some processor bumps, and additional options, including an additional graphics card option, but nothing major in the time. The iMac Pro was designed to allow users who have higher-end needs to be able to have an all-in-one machine.

I think Apple is retiring the iMac Pro line for two reasons. The first is that there is another machine, the Mac Pro, which can also fill these needs. The Mac Pro provides even more power than the iMac Pro; however not in an all-in-one machine.

The second reason I think Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro is because now is a good time to do so. Apple is refreshing the entire Mac line with their own Apple Silicon processors. Apple has indicated that it will take two years to make the complete transition.

The only machines that have been updated thus far as the MacBook Air, the Mac mini, and the lower-end MacBook Pro. The higher-end 13.3-inch MacBook Pros, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 21.5-inch iMac, 27-inch iMac,, and the Mac Pro still need to get the new processors.

With the eventual release of an updated iMac, I suspect that there will be significant changes on the iMac. This includes thinner bezels, a redesigned body, and redesigned internal structure. I also suspect that with Apple Silicon there will not be as much differentiation between the iMac lines. With not nearly as much differentiation, there is no need for the iMac Pro. I suspect that the iMac line will have a wide range of customizations, including those that would meet the needs of iMac Pro users.

Furthermore, I suspect that there will be some surprises with the iMac line. I am not sure what they might be. Maybe one of them will be an option for selecting either silver or space gray, but that is merely a wild guess.

It will be interesting to see what Apple will with the iMac line, and given that the look of the iMac has remained the same since 2012, it may be time for a complete re-thinking. Again, this makes it the perfect time to eliminate the iMac Pro. I hope Apple continues to provide an option for professional users. What I would really like to see is a cheaper stand-alone monitor, but that is a whole separate topic.