Apple’s Spring Loaded event was, as the name suggests, filled with announcements. To start with, there’s a new, entirely redesigned (and gorgeous looking) iMac family. The 24-inch iMac (starting at $1,299) will arrive in several pastel hues, including a new purple color, which is also coming to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. The 24-inch iMac features Apple’s M1 chip, making it not only more powerful than its x86 predecessors but also less prone to producing heat and noise. The M1 chip found another home, surprisingly, in a new iPad Pro series. The 12.9-inch model also comes with a new mini-LED display for better contrast and brightness, while both sizes include support for 5G and Thunderbolt connectivity.
Then there was the new Apple TV (yep, we’re still not done) with a new A12 Bionic chip, which will enable HDR video with Dolby Vision at higher frame rates. You can now use an iPhone to calibrate your TV for more accurate colors. I don’t know why, but I’m most excited by the redesigned Siri remote, due to the addition of a new click wheel. I’ve missed you, click wheel.
And to cap it all off: AirTags. Apple’s location tracking fobs have arrived in a glossy metal finish, priced at $29. We’ll elaborate on those a little more below. Oh, and there was Ted Lasso news, too.
— Mat Smith
The new 24-inch model is only slightly larger than the last 21.5-inch.
I just think they all look really attractive. But let’s get to the specs: Apple’s M1 chip is finally making its way to iMacs, along with a slew of other long-awaited upgrades. The new design has far slimmer bezels on their 4.5K Retina Displays, as well as a completely flat rear case. As Devindra Hardawar put it: Say goodbye to the iMac hump. The new iMacs feature updated 1080p FaceTime cameras with larger image sensors. They’ll be able to work together with the M1 processor to handle white balance, noise reduction and exposure settings. There are also three microphones that can use beamforming to reduce background noise.
So far, Apple’s silicon has shown a significant performance boost over Intel’s x86 hardware — and we can’t wait to see how well the M1 performs in a much larger machine that’s constantly plugged in. The new 24-inch iMac is available starting at $1,299 with a 7-core GPU. The more powerful 8-core GPU, with three USB 3 ports, starts at $1,499.
The award-winning series is back.
Nestled among all the hardware announcements Apple shared at its Spring Forward event, the company had a fun surprise for Apple TV+ subscribers waiting for something new to watch on the service.
Jason Sudeikis will return as the perpetually positive football coach leading an English soccer team on July 23rd, as revealed by a two-minute teaser trailer. To start season two, Lasso’s AFC Richmond team is in a rut, having come off eight straight draws, but of course, that doesn’t seem to have dampened his enthusiasm.
These tablets look familiar, but it’s what’s inside that really counts.
We’ve touched on the addition of the M1 chip, but when it comes to the bigger 12.9-inch model, the screen tech is possibly a bigger change. It has a Liquid Retina XDR panel, with a new mini-LED backlighting system. Because each lighting element is much smaller, this means more tightly controlled lighting for better contrast and significantly higher brightness overall. The new bigger iPad Pro can reach 1,000 nits of brightness, compared to just 600 nits in last year’s model.
With the M1 chip inside both iPad Pro models, these are iPads that truly pack desktop power. To compliment that, the new iPad Pro’s USB-C port doubles as a Thunderbolt port with USB 4.0 support. Apple says the bandwidth for wired connections peaks at around 40Gbps, ensuring power users with high-speed external storage should be satisfied. Both models will go up for pre-order on April 30th.
This may explain why it’s starting to crack down on password sharing.
The good news for Netflix is that a year of COVID lockdowns drove its subscriber numbers through the roof, and the company is more profitable than ever. The bad news, at least in the short term, is that the pace of subscriber additions is slowing, as it fell short of projections in the first quarter by about two million customers.
The streamer still has 208 million subscribers in the fold, far more than any of its competitors, but this is a bad time to show weakness while Disney+, HBO Max and the rest continue to pump out tantalizing new content like WandaVision and this week’s big release, Mortal Kombat.
You might be able to access a virtual Windows 10 desktop from just about any device.
According to a ZDNet report, Microsoft is gearing up to flip the switch on its Azure-powered Cloud PC service as soon as this summer. With Cloud PC, you may be able to access a Windows desktop remotely and use software, such as Microsoft Office. That could come in handy if you frequently switch between devices and want access to the same desktop anywhere, or if you have an underpowered system and a solid enough internet connection. Companies would also be able to set up employees with basic hardware and manage their Windows 10 networks with Cloud PC.
Separately, Windows Central said a redesigned Microsoft Store is on the way for Windows 10. While a new look could resemble the revamped store we’ve seen on Xbox platforms, the more important changes are reportedly on the back end to help address developer complaints. Expect to hear more at Build 2021, due to take place in late May.
Or you can buy a four-pack for $99.
After all the rumors and wait, Airtags have landed. Or at least, they will on April 30th. The fobs can be customized with engravings of characters, letters and emoji, while there will also be a Hermes edition if you’re feeling particularly glamorous. You’ll be able to use the Find My app to locate your AirTag and any Apple phone with a U1 chip (like the iPhone 11 and 12 series) can give you AR overlays to direct you to your lost item.
The company is calling this feature Precision Finding, which combines camera, accelerometer, gyroscope and ARKit data, along with ultra wideband tech, to hone in on your lost item. When your belongings are further away, Apple says it will use the Find My network, which is approaching a billion devices, to locate it. It will detect Bluetooth signals from lost AirTags and “relay the location back to its owner, all in the background, anonymously and privately.”
They heard your complaints about the remote.
At its Spring Forward event, Apple announced a refreshed Apple TV 4K streaming box, its first since 2017. New to this model is the company’s A12 Bionic chip. Apple says the updated silicon allows the Apple TV to play HDR video with Dolby Vision at higher frame rates, as well as to decode video faster. You can also use your iPhone as a sensor that automatically calibrates the output from your Apple TV without touching your television’s settings.
A more important change is likely the new Siri remote, with an adjusted shape and additional buttons that should make it harder to lose in couch cushions and easier to use without looking to see if you’re holding it upside down. The clickpad is back, and you can use it as a jog wheel to navigate videos, while the Siri button is now on the side of the remote.
Finally, the specs reveal this box will have an HDMI 2.1 output; however, at launch, its max framerate output is 60 fps. It has Thread wireless tech built in, which is a mesh networking standard that should make it useful as a smart home hub and is also included in Apple’s HomePod mini. The new Siri remote will be available on its own for $59, while the new Apple TV 4K goes on sale for $179 starting April 30th with shipments starting in late May.
Polaroid has revealed what it claims is the teensiest analog instant camera on the planet. Polaroid Go is apparently designed to be worn wherever you go and measures 4.1 inches long, 3.3 inches wide and 2.4 inches tall. There’s a counter that displays how many more photos you can take before having to reload the film. It has a 750mAh battery, which will let you capture up to 15 packs of photos on a single charge. Pre-orders are open now, and the camera will be available on April 27th. The camera itself costs $100 and a double pack of Go color film, which includes 16 frames, is $20. Make that selfie count.