Could there be an Apple event this spring? There is growing evidence that new products are on the way, from new AirPods to a new iPad Pro and more. The event would almost certainly be virtual due to the ongoing pandemic, but there are many precedents for a spring event …
The March event is not happening
First, March 16 gained traction on social media as a potential date for an Apple event, but trusted sources quickly shot down that expectation.
Then March 23 was also reported as the time when Apple would hold its March event this year. While this date was reported by multiple different sources, a March 23 event did not materialize. As such, we now expect Apple’s first event of the year to be held in April at the earliest.
Whether or not Apple will hold an event in April remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a possibility given the backlog of products the company is reportedly set to announce.
Apple Spring event history
Some Apple events will almost certainly take place every year, including WWDC in June and the annual iPhone event in the fall. Most years, it’s also reasonable to expect a second Mac-centric fall event. Last year, for example, we had three Apple events in three months: iPad and Apple Watch in September, iPhone 12 in October, and Apple Silicon Mac. in November.
Spring events are harder to predict. Apple did not hold a spring event in 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but did announce a new iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, and MacBook Air via press releases in March, followed by the second-generation iPhone SE via from a press release in April.
In 2019, Apple held a spring event dedicated exclusively to its services segment, with details on Apple News +, Apple Card, Apple TV +, and Apple Arcade. In March 2018, Apple invited everyone to Chicago, where it announced a new iPad focused on education.
If Apple held a March event in 2021, we would expect it to be virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It can be argued that virtual events are easier for Apple to host than in-person events, lending more credence to the possibility of a virtual event this spring.
Here are some potential candidates for an Apple spring event, should one materialize.
New iPad Pro and iPad mini
One of the main rumors is that Apple will launch a new iPad Pro with mini-LED display technology during the first quarter of 2021. The expectation is that the mini-LED backlighting will arrive first on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, eventually followed by the iPad. 11-inch Pro.
The iPad Pro (2021) line is expected to be virtually identical to the 2020 model in terms of design. So the biggest change will likely be the change in display technology, plus a new chip probably based on the A14 interior for even better performance. 9to5Mac Evidence was recently found in the iOS and iPadOS code of the new A14X processor that will likely be used in the iPad Pro.
More recent, Bloomberg reported that the new iPad Pro line could be announced in April. The report also mentioned that the new iPad Pros will feature Thunderbolt connectivity for the first time. This would open the door to additional accessories such as external displays, storage, and more.
Apple is also reportedly working on a new iPad mini that could launch this year. The new iPad mini is said to feature an 8.4-inch screen with smaller bezels. Unfortunately, it won’t feature a similar design overhaul to the iPad Air 4 and iPad Pro, and Apple will retain the top and bottom bezels, the home button, and Touch ID.
Apple last updated the iPad mini in 2019, bringing a faster A12 Bionic processor, as well as other improvements.
Finally, Apple is also rumored to be developing a new low-cost iPad, but we don’t expect it to launch until later this year.
Reports of a new Apple TV have been around for a while as the current lineup starts to really show its age compared to competing streaming devices. Recent reports have suggested that a new Apple TV is still on the way sometime in 2021, but the details are unclear.
Similarly, AirTags were rumored for two years at this time. Apple item tracking accessories are still expected to launch this year. Whether the new AirTags or Apple TV materialize this spring remains to be seen, but Jon Prosser recently tweeted that the accessory is slated for March.
Apple Silicon transition continues
Apple has acknowledged that it will take approximately two years to transition the entire Mac line to Apple Silicon chips. As such, we expect new Apple Silicon Macs to be announced throughout 2021. Currently, rumors indicate that we can expect a new line of iMac, as well as new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros this year.
While the new MacBook Pro models aren’t expected to launch until the second half of 2021, the redesigned iMacs could arrive sooner. Apple has stopped selling a handful of 21.5-inch iMac models and has also recently discontinued the iMac Pro without a clear replacement.
The new iMacs could certainly be announced at an Apple event in April if it were to happen. Given the expected redesign, Apple will likely want to hold an event for the iMac presentation, rather than announce it through a press release.
iPhone SE 3
Macotakara has reported that Apple will also launch a new third-generation iPhone SE in April. The details here are not entirely clear, but an April release would come exactly one year after the 4.7-inch iPhone SE launched in 2020. On the other hand, Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple probably won’t announce a new iPhone SE until next. year.
Rumors have suggested that Apple is working on a larger version of the iPhone SE, probably with a 5.5-inch screen and a design similar to that of the iPhone 8 Plus. Whether or not this will materialize in spring 2021 remains to be seen.
AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2
Following the introduction of AirPods Max in December, Apple reportedly has updates on the way for the rest of its AirPods line in 2021.
The new second-gen AirPods Pro are rumored to be on the way. AirPods Pro 2 could feature a “more compact” design that eliminates the stem that currently protrudes from the bottom of the AirPods Pro.
Bloomberg It cautioned, however, that such design changes are not guaranteed. Apple is said to have faced challenges in removing the stem from AirPods Pro while simultaneously including features like transparency mode, H1 chip, and noise cancellations.
Apple is also rumored to be developing new entry-level AirPods with a shorter stem and replaceable ear pads. These would serve as a replacement for the standard AirPods that Apple sells today. Pricing information is unclear, but at least one report has suggested that AirPods 3 will cost roughly 20% less than AirPods Pro, indicating a price tag of $ 199.
That said, the most recent reports have indicated that new AirPods aren’t likely to arrive until later this year, ruling them out for the April event.
Apple Spring Event Summary
Whether or not Apple holds an April event this year remains to be seen. Again, if such an event materializes, we expect it to be completely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is rumored that there are enough new products to fill a 60-minute event, Apple has shown that it is perfectly fine to announce new hardware through press releases.
In short, an April event would likely include the unveiling of the new iPad Pro, AirTags, and perhaps new iMacs. Things like the AirPods 3 and iPhone SE 3 are not expected so soon, and the fate of the Apple TV is unclear.
What do you think? Will Apple hold an event in April this year to announce its new iPad hardware, iMacs, and more? Let us know in the comments!
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