Apple’s Spring Loaded event generated a cornucopia of announcements. This is easily the most action-packed event we’ve had from Apple this spring and certainly beats last year’s announcements. There was a new iMac, two new iPad pros, an updated Apple TV, AirTags and even a new color for the iPhone 12. Oh, and there were also announcements from the Apple Card Family and Apple Podcasts.
We covered all of these messages, but some of them deserve a closer look because there are many questions that need answers. For example, does the new iMac look good, or is it just colorful? Is there even any point to the mini-LED screen on the iPad Pro? Is it easier to spend $ 99 on a four-pack of AirTags than to be careful about your stuff? The $ 449 Hermès version is available you when you lose that? Read on to find out.
After living in the minds of people for the last few years, AirTag was finally announced during the event, which will henceforth be known as the AirTag event. Finally, people can deliberately start losing things instead of just by accident.
For what it’s worth, the AirTag is a simple, no-nonsense device that does one thing and only one thing: profit from clumsiness. All
facts jokes aside, it’s a nice little device for which there is clearly a market, given that Apple was not the first for the segment. If you want to keep track of your belongings, if you misplace them, and you use an iPhone, AirTag can be handy.
That said – and not that it is advertised as such – but I doubt it will do much to deter theft. It’s a pretty obvious thing if it’s just dangling outside of what it’s attached to, and any clever thief would be careful enough to loosen it immediately before plundering your belongings. So it probably should not be bought to keep track of potentially stolen goods. Although you can always count on a dumb thief.
The pricing is pretty decent considering it is made by Apple and even supports standard button cells that last over a year, making them more reliable in the long run than AirPods. But the price of the Hermès edition seems like a crime against humanity. With a starting price of $ 299 and going all the way up to $ 449, I would be more worried about losing the AirTag than it is associated with.
Little iPhone 12
I just have one thing to say about the purple iPhone 12. It is purple. You do not have to agree with me, but you are also wrong.
iPad Pro and Pros
Apple had two new iPads to show off during the AirTag event, both updates to the previous 11-inch and 12.9-inch. The most important new feature in the 11-inch model is that it now comes with the M1 chip. The M1, if you remember, was such a monumental leap forward in portable hardware that Apple’s former supplier Intel, which had run out of actual hardware to compete with, launched a new CEO instead. And even that was not enough.
The switch to the M1 alone would have been a game changer, especially since iPad hardware was already an industry leader in many ways. But while Android tablets are still going through the several-year-long phase of deciding whether or not to exist, Apple decided that it was not enough just to be light years ahead, but to be so far ahead that the mere thought of Buying another tablet would produce the most heartfelt of laughter and a slap in the face.
So now the 11-inch iPad also gets up to 16GB of memory, up to 2TB of storage space, Thunderbolt 4 with support for an external 6K screen, 5G and a new 12MP ultra-wide front camera that follows your movement
and sees you sleeping. All this on top of an already impressive design and spec sheet.
Then there is the 12.9-inch model, which decided that it was not content with just being the larger version, but that it would literally surpass its smaller sibling. The screen now has mini-LED backlighting with over 10,000 lights grouped in 2596 zones across the entire panel. For those who do not know, the mini-LED is currently the best way to locate backlighting on an LCD, and although it is not as pixel-accurate as a self-emitting display technology like the OLED, it can be much brighter because it is made of non-organic materials. The iPad Pro screen can reach 1600 nits peak brightness while displaying HDR content and 1000 nits full field.
Apple calls it the Liquid Retina XDR, which it obviously does, though it doesn’t make sense. But that’s not important. What’s important is that this is probably the brightest and most calibrated HDR monitor you can get for under $ 1100. And this includes professional monitors.
But beyond just bragging rights, the point of having such a screen on an iPad is something lost to me. As much as Apple wants it to happen, most non-professional HDR videos produce and edit on their iPad. And most other types of workflows, such as drawing and image editing, do not require an HDR monitor, let alone a light one.
In addition, HDR workflows and mastering are something that is performed under controlled lighting environments. This is why professional HDR monitors lock their brightness depending on the color gamut chosen, including Apple’s own Pro Display XDR, because you’re expected to use them in a dark room with ambient lighting of just a few nits above zero. An iPad is meant to be used on the go outdoors, which is not the best place to classify HDR videos.
Moreover, Apple still has not given the iPad Final Cut Pro, which would at least give you an excuse to use the screen as it is intended. But right now, the best need for what I can see is just to lower your eyeballs while watching the latest Netflix or Apple TV + program in Dolby Vision.
Maybe I’m cynical, and maybe there’s a real use of this screen that goes beyond just watching content. I’ve seen and heard of enough people using their iPads as computers. But as has been the case for a while now, the iPad hardware department sees just several steps ahead of the software department, and the device is still missing several important apps that would make it a valuable replacement for a computer. But right now, it’s still just a tablet with ambitions, not an actual replacement for a computer.
The last thing announced at the AirTag event was the new 2021 iMac. I just want to go on and say that everyone has been too shocked and dazzled by the colors to notice. This thing is ugly. It’s just that. You may disagree with me, but it’s just going to be the purple thing again.
When I say it’s ugly, I do not mean that it’s ugly on a Windows PC in any way. These things obviously have very little effort, so it makes sense that they are ugly. The new iMac looks very clear as designers at Apple spent months designing it. That’s why it’s so funny, it’s so ugly. They really thought they were on their way with this thing, but they just weren’t.
The reorganization is also strangely degrading and infantilizing. The previous iMac was a classic workhorse on a machine. It had customizable hardware, many ports to connect a lot of things and looked like it was made to get things done. The new iMac appears to be designed to sit in a receptionist or hotel office. A computer you buy for your kids that gets more impressed with the color than what the computer can actually do. This is how characters from other franchises look when added to Fortnite.
I know the iMac once came in different colors in the G3 era. But macOS also had Aqua UI back then and there is no way we would tolerate it today. I would also argue that the colors of the iMac today are more in line with Apple’s current products (iPad Air, iPhone 12) than any previous product. And while I can get over the colors (there’s a silver model after all), the front looks like they forgot to design it because they were so busy with what it would look like from the back when you walk into the office and see the receptionist using it.
The only hope for those who loved the old iMac and especially the now defunct iMac Pro is that this new model is only a replacement for the old 21.5-inch model, which means that there may be a larger or even a Pro version underway with possibly faster, newer generation of Apple silicon. A black maybe? With a matching black front frame? I would be willing to apologize for the iPad-on-a-stand design for that. Until then, this thing can go back to the Fisher-Price catalog where it came from.