Apple launches AirTag, new iPad Pro, TV and iMac desktop at Spring Loaded
Online event marks Apple's first product launch of 2021
Apple launched a range of products, including its long-awaited AirTag to track and find missing items and a redesigned iMac desktop in a variety of colours that use chips designed by the company in-house chips instead of those made by Intel.
Other products launched during the event included a new iPad Pro with 5G connectivity, a smart TV, a family Apple Card to let people share the same credit card, a new podcast subscription service and a purple iPhone 12.
The iPhone maker showcased its latest products and services at its Spring Loaded event, which was streamed online from the Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday.
The company’s iMac line-up has undergone one of the biggest redesigns in years and uses a processor developed in-house, the M1, as opposed to chips developed by Intel for the first time.
Available in seven colours, the 61-centimetre iMac is more compact than previous models as the volume of the machine has reduced by up to 50 per cent. Apple has also shrunk the size of the internal fans to make the device quieter.
Priced from $1,299, the IMac will be available to pre-order from April 30 and delivery will begin in the second half of next month.
Apple, which launched four models of 5G-enabled iPhones in October, is making its own chips to reduce its reliance on other manufacturers. These are being used in both iMacs and iPads.
Many manufacturers including Samsung and Xiaomi are dealing with a severe shortage of chips after demand for gadgets picked up amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Apple's AirTag is a small disc that can help users to keep track of and find products such as electronics, luggage, wallets or keys through the Find My app. It can be attached to personal belongings and sends users regular notifications about the location of their product.
It does this while keeping the location data of the user private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption, the company said.
“We are excited to bring this incredible new capability to iPhone users,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPhone product marketing.
AirTag can be bought in packs of one and four for $29 and $99, and will be available from April 30.
They also come with a built-in speaker that plays sounds to help users locate them. Users can also ask Siri to find their item and AirTag will play a sound if it is near by.
Facing stiff competition from the likes of Spotify, Apple also announced its expansion into podcast subscriptions.
This will be a global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favourite creators, alongside millions of free shows on Apple Podcasts, the company said.
Some of the benefits will include advertisement-free listening, access to additional content and early or exclusive access to new series.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said this was “the biggest change to Apple Podcasts since its debut”.
“We are proud to lead the next chapter of podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services.
The service will be available to listeners in more than 170 countries and regions from next month.
Apple also introduced Apple Card Family, which allows people to share their Apple Card, track purchases, manage spending and build credit together with their family sharing group.
Customers can add up to five people to their account. All users must be part of the same family group to be invited to Apple Card Family and be 13 years or older.
“We designed Apple Card Family because we saw an opportunity to reinvent how spouses, partners and the people you trust most share credit cards and build credit together,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay.
Apple is working with Goldman Sachs, the fifth largest lender in the US, which is the issuing bank for Apple Card.
Apple also announced the next generation of Apple TV 4K that comes with A12 Bionic, which that provides a significant boost in graphics performance, video decoding and audio processing.
With tvOS, the new TV will work seamlessly with other Apple devices and services, the company said.
It also offers thousands of applications on the App Store for more entertainment options.
The company unveiled a new, 32.7cm iPad Pro, which it claims to be the most powerful and advanced.
It comes with Apple-designed M1 chip and 5G connectivity to deliver fast performance.
It will also support the Thunderbolt connector, the same port on the latest Macs, which will enable connectivity with external monitors, hard drives and other peripherals.
The company also unveiled a purple finish for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, which were originally launched in October.
Updated: April 21, 2021 01:55 PM