The world’s richest technology company is “spring loaded” and ready to launch a raft of shiny new gadgets in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Australian time.
Following a record year for Apple devices, which saw the company launch new smartphones, tablets, laptops, its first fitness service and its first headphones, the company is strongly tipped to refresh older products and introduce new tech.
This is what to expect when chief executive Tim Cook hits ‘play’ on Apple’s first big event of 2021.
BIG IPAD LAUNCH
Apple biggest and most powerful tablet computers got a revamp just last year, arriving in March as everyone was adapting to work-from-home lifestyles.
Those 2020 iPad Pro models added a LIDAR scanner, a faster chip, more RAM, extra storage and could be used with the elevated Magic Keyboard stand.
The changes were handy but not revolutionary, however, and we noted at the time that upgrades would be “difficult to justify for recent iPad Pro buyers”.
That’s why many analysts and tech pundits are tipping Apple’s springtime to be all about the iPad Pro.
Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said he expected a big upgrade to iPad displays.
“A screen update is likely in terms of brightness and resolution,” he said.
“Its video performance and speeds might also be comparable to a benchmark for the M1 MacBooks, bringing the pro iPads to entry-level MacBook speeds.“
This, Mr Fadgahi said, would help the iPads compete with rival Windows devices offering to serve as tablets and laptops in one.
He said Apple may also add enhancements for videoconferencing to meet modern business demands, and there was “speculation” the company could turn the iPad Pro’s on/off button into a fingerprint sensor, like it did for the iPad Air last year.
SMALL IPAD LAUNCH
While iPad Pro models were refreshed just last year, it has been two years since Apple last updated its smallest tablet, the Mini.
Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted the company will launch a Mini with a larger screen — potentially saving space and keep its form by whittling down its large borders — while others have tipped the Mini for a screen quality boost too.
A MIGHTY PEN
Apple iPad accessories may also get a makeover this week, with rumours and leaked images of a third generation Apple Pencil circulating on the internet.
A new model may arrive with a glossy, black finish and a differently designed tip, according to the leaks.
FIND MY GEAR
Apple fans have been talking about these mythical devices for yonks and it might finally be time to see AirTags.
These tiny gadgets — rumoured to be small, round and potentially sticky — are designed to track everyday items using Apple technology.
AirTags may connect to smartphones and tablets using a Bluetooth connection (though it’s unclear whether they’ll have a rechargeable or disposable battery inside) so users can track exactly where their camera, keys, hairbrush, or TV remote control has ended up.
Rumours of their launch have strengthened in the past fortnight after Apple announced its Find My Network Accessory Program that will support tags from third parties.
ONE OR TWO MORE THINGS?
This announcement is coming from Apple so, like every one of the company’s secretive events, there’s a chance something unexpected will be unveiled.
Some have tipped third-generation AirPods to make an appearance, for example, while others say Apple could show off a more powerful TV device to keep up with pandemic streaming demands.
The iMac is also due for a design overhaul this year and there is talk that Apple has been working on the development of smart glasses, though some analysts say those launches are more likely to occur at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Whatever Apple does announce will become clear online after 3am (or later for Aussies who can wait to wake up to the news).