Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021, 22:20 Events

Comment: Apple's Spring Loaded Event – The Good the Bad... And Almost No Ugly

The "Spring Loaded" event is now over and Apple showed various new products - starting with the AirTags, a new iMac 24" with M1, two new iPad Pro models and a new Apple TV model. Boredom did not arise at the speed of the new presentations - the pre-recorded video went exactly one hour with no chance to take a break. Read what we think about the news here.

Monetization in podcasts
Apple is addressing a problem with podcasts that many producers suffer from: Difficulties in monetizing their content. High-quality produced podcasts cost a lot of money, but until now it's been hard to generate enough revenue. Apple is now allowing podcast producers to charge for additional content, earlier access to episodes, or ad-free podcasts. This is Apple's way of ensuring that higher-quality content is produced - but whether this model is successful will only become clear in the coming years at the earliest. In principle, it is commendable that Apple is now offering producers additional monetization options to ensure the continued existence of podcasts.

Since 2019, the smart Apple tags were ghosting through the rumor mill - and Apple finally presented them today. For 29 Dollars, the customer receives one AirTag, for 99 Dollars even four. Apple's price is quite competitive when you compare the offer with "Tile". AirTags can be located quite precisely via ultra-wideband and the U1 chip - a useful function in addition to the audio signal. It is commendable that the AirTags are not a disposable item: Customers can replace the battery themselves, and Apple states the battery life as a year or longer. After the long time in the rumor mill, the AirTags are no surprise, but it is probably a sensible and well thought-out product.

iMac M1
This evening, Apple switched another Mac to M1 processors: The Intel iMac with a 21.5" screen is history, replaced by the iMac 24". After 10 years, Apple also gives the iMac a new design in seven colors. In the video and on pictures, the design looks very pleasing - however, it's negative that the M1 iMac is still adorned with that big area below the display. Strangely enough, Apple even removed the Apple logo, which is only found on the back from now on. It is nice that Apple now includes the keyboard, the Magic Trackpad or the Magic Mouse in the matching case color, though.

The new iMac comes with the familiar M1 chip from Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro - the small model with 7 GPU cores, the large one with 8 graphics cores. The fact that Apple doesn't give all models the "big" M1 chip here is a bit nickle-and-diming - especially since the 4.5k display of the iMac 24" certainly challenges the graphic chip. Many had hoped to see the next upgrade level of the M1 this evening - but it will likely be reserved for the successor to the iMac 27" and the MacBook Pro 16". Nevertheless, the customer gets significantly more performance at similar prices with the new iMac - here we can speak of a successful upgrade.



Those who use the SD card slot of the current iMac will be disappointed with the iMac M1: Apple axed it - but a headphone jack is still available on the side of the iMac. The new iMac is the first desktop Mac with Touch ID - but Apple unfortunately does not install Face ID. Nevertheless, biometric authentication via fingerprint is a useful addition.

Those who like to use fast network connections via cable will find a suitable connection in the iMac 24" in the power supply: Apple integrates a Gigabit Ethernet port here so that only one cable has to be routed from the desk in the ideal case. Also very useful: The iMac 24" has a VESA mount, so that it can also be attached to the wall or directly to the desk. The iMac 24" is a successful update - compared to the previous generation, it's the way better product

iPad Pro 2021
In addition to the iMac 24", Apple also presented a new iPad Pro - and uses the same chip here as in the Macs: Instead of an "A14X", Apple also installs an M1 here. The iPad Pro's performance should now be similar to the M1 Macs - but the clock rate of the installed chip is not known. Apple gave the large iPad Pro a screen with mini-LED backlight so that it can also produce rich blacks. However, this feature is reserved for the large iPad - the iPad Pro 11" still relies on a conventional backlight. The 2021 iPad Pro is an evolutionary update - it is faster, but should only convince a few users of a current iPad to switch. Features like "Center Stage" should only offer real added value for a few buyers.

Apple TV 4K
Apple also updated the old Apple TV 4K: Instead of an old Apple A10X, an Apple A12 is now used. This should allow apps to be operated more smoothly and enable better graphics in games. Apple finally replaced the Apple Siri remote, which was criticized in many places, with a more sophisticated model with normal directional buttons. Scrolling is now possible by rotating the ring - the center serves as a touch pad. It is very commendable that Apple finally listened to the many customer voices here and buried the old remote.

However, it is doubtful whether the update will lead to the Apple TV having a comeback: The App Store for tvOS resembles a ghost town and modern smart TVs bring many of the Apple TV's features with them anyway. Apple continues to sell the Apple TV HD - with a new remote control, but still with Apple A8. However, the price of 149 Dollars can be called a rip-off, given the 2015 hardware: for only 40 euros more, the customer gets the new Apple TV 4K.

In the past, March/April events were usually not the most exciting presentations from Apple - but there was no trace of boredom at today's event. Although many had wished for a preview of "stronger" Macs, Apple still had enough innovations in its luggage so that we can call it a successful event.

More mtech.news articles you might enjoy to read: