Apple has officially confirmed its long-anticipated spring 2021 event. This year, Apple is holding a virtual event on April 20, and it’s teasing it with the tagline “Spring Loaded.” The event could include a new iPad Pro, AirTags, and more.
Read on as we round up everything that Apple could announce during its April 20 special event.
Table of contents
Update: April 19, 2021
We’re officially less than 24 hours away from Apple’s “Spring Loaded” special event, and a few last-minute rumors have emerged about what could be announced.
Over the weekend, the reliable Twitter source L0vetodream cryptically hinted that Apple could unveil its long-awaited redesigned iMac during Tuesday’s event. In addition to an all-new design and Apple Silicon inside, the new iMac are also rumored to come in a new array of colors similar to the iPad Air.
Another last-minute report from Vox Media indicated that Apple could unveil a new Podcasts+ subscription service on Tuesday. This has been rumored for a while now, but Apple has only dabbled with a small collection of original podcasts so far. It now looks like Tuesday could be when it takes things to the next level.
Finally, analysts at Wedbush also now expect Apple to introduce new versions of the entry-level iPad as well as the iPad mini alongside the iPad Pro. The analysts also predicted that the new iPad Pro models will see a “modest” price increase compared to their predecessors.
Apple spring event history
Some Apple events are almost guaranteed to 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 fall event focused on the Mac. 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 it did announce a new iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, and MacBook Air via press releases in March, followed by the second-generation iPhone SE via a press release in April.
In 2019, Apple held a Spring Event purely dedicated 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 education-focused iPad.
Apple 2021 April Event details
This year, Apple’s spring event will take place on April 20 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this event will be completely virtual and streamed directly from Apple Park.
Apple is teasing the April event with the tagline “Spring Loaded.” The invite is colorful but doesn’t provide many hints at what Apple could announce during the event.
We expect the event to be a beautifully filmed, pre-recorded video featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives. You’ll be able to stream the event through Apple’s website, on YouTube, and through the Apple TV application on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
One of the leading rumors is that Apple will release a new iPad Pro with mini-LED display technology during the first half of 2021. The expectation is that the mini-LED backlighting will come to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro first, followed eventually by the 11-inch iPad Pro
mini-LED is a new form of backlighting that is used for LCD screens. It includes many of the same benefits as OLED but oftentimes can offer increased brightness, improved power efficiency, and a lower risk of burn-in. This is why Apple plans to use it in its larger-screened devices, rather than OLED. Mini-LED is also expected to come to the MacBook Pro lineup later this year.
The iPad Pro (2021) lineup is expected to be virtually identical to the 2020 model in terms of design. So the biggest change will likely be the display technology shift, plus a new chip likely based on the A14 inside for even better performance.
9to5Mac recently found evidence in iOS and iPadOS code of the new A14X processor that is likely to be used in the iPad Pro. This chip appears to be based on the M1 processor that Apple is using in its first Apple Silicon Mac mini, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air.
Most recently, Bloomberg reported 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. The current iPad Pro models are limited to USB-C accessories only, so opening the door to the Thunderbolt ecosystem would be a major change.
But while the new iPad Pros are expected to be announced at next week’s April event, Apple is rumored to have faced production issues, particularly with the new 12.9-inch model. This means availability could be constrained at first, so the new iPad Pros might be hard to come by for a while. The report even mentioned that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro could “ship later and be available in constrained quantities to begin with.”
Read more about the iPad Pro (2021) in our full guide right here.
Apple is also reportedly working on a new iPad mini that could be released this year. The new iPad mini is said to feature an 8.4-inch display with smaller bezels. It, unfortunately, will not feature a design overhaul similar to the iPad Air 4 and iPad Pro, with Apple instead retaining the top and bottom bezels, home button, and Touch ID.
Apple last updated the iPad mini in 2019, bringing a faster A12 Bionic processor as well as other improvements. The 2021 update to the iPad mini is likewise expected to bring a performance increase, perhaps with Apple’s A13 or even A14 processor inside.
Finally, Apple is also rumored to be developing a new low-cost iPad, but we don’t expect it to be released until sometime later this year.
AirTags have been rumored for almost exactly two years, and we could finally be nearing a launch for the item tracker accessories. AirTags are expected to be Apple’s competitor to the incredibly popular Tile item trackers that are currently available on the market.
In June 2019, 9to5Mac reported on assets within iOS 13 that referenced a product type “Tag1,1.” Since then, 9to5Mac discovered evidence of the “AirTags” name and references even appeared in a video published by Apple itself.
Apple also recently announced that its Find My network now supports third-party accessories, including a Chipolo item tracker, VanMoof e-bikes, and a pair of earbuds from Belkin. It could be that Apple wanted to make this announcement prior to revealing its own long-awaited AirTags.
AirTags will be small physical tags that you can attach to any product like backpacks, keys, and wallets. Then, you’ll be able to locate those items via the Find My app on your Apple devices. AirTags will be able to leverage the hundreds of millions of iPhones in the wild to help stay connected and tap into the U1 chip for precise location details.
While it seems almost certain that the new iPad Pro models will be announced during Apple’s April event, we’re less sure about AirTags for now.
Read more about AirTags in our full guide right here.
Similar to AirTags, an update to the Apple TV has also been rumored for several years at this point. Recent reports have suggested that a new Apple TV is still on track for sometime in 2021, but details are unclear.
9to5Mac recently found evidence that the new Apple TV could add support for 120Hz display technology. Bloomberg has also reported that the updated Apple TV will include a new remote that supports the Find My app.
Read more about the Apple TV in our full guide right here.
Apple has acknowledged that it will take approximately two years to transition the entire Mac lineup to Apple Silicon chips. As such, we expect new Apple Silicon Macs to be announced throughout 2021. Rumors currently indicate that we can expect a new iMac lineup, as well as new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros this year.
While the new MacBook Pro models are not expected to be released until the second half of 2021, the redesigned iMacs could be coming sooner than that. Apple has stopped selling a handful of 21.5-inch iMac models, and it also recently discontinued the iMac Pro without a clear replacement.
So the new iMacs could certainly be announced during Apple’s April event, but Apple could also save them for WWDC in June. We’ll have to wait and find out for sure.
Apple April Event wrap up
The most sure-fire announcement slated for Apple’s April 20 event is the new iPad Pro lineup. Again, the new iPad Pro models will feature an A14X processor inside, Thunderbolt connectivity, and mini-LED on the 12.9-inch variant.
Other potential announcements at the April event include AirTags, new iMacs, and an updated Apple TV, but the jury is still out on which products will actually materialize during the event, versus which will be saved for later.
But Apple has shown that it doesn’t need to pack its virtual events full. Last September, for instance, Apple held a virtual event focused on the Apple Watch and updates to the iPad Air and entry-level iPad. It could be that Apple feels a new iPad Pro and one other product is enough for the April 20 event.
Apple is also likely to announce the iOS 14.5 release date during the event, and it could spend stage time focused on highlighting the new features — particularly in regards to privacy and App Tracking Transparency.
What do you think Apple has planned for its April 20 event? What are you most excited to see? Let us know down in the comments, and be sure to stay tuned to 9to5Mac for more coverage of Apple’s April announcement.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.