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Apple event April 20: iPad Pro 2021, new iMac and what to expect from Spring Loaded

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Apple has had a quiet 2021 so far, but that's all about to change, as it has confirmed that it's holding a spring event on April 20. Expect to see a whole host of new gadgets during this virtual launch.

The event - which this year is taglined 'Spring Loaded' - has been rumored for a while, but when or if it would happen was unclear until Apple sent out official invites, as unlike some Apple events such as WWDC and new iPhone launches, the Apple spring event doesn't always happen at the same time each year - or at all.

And while the event itself is now confirmed, what we'll see there isn't. The invite doesn't hold any clues, but there have been numerous leaks, rumors and whispers about what might be unveiled, and the list of potential candidates is long.

From a new iPad Pro to the iPad mini 6, Apple AirTags to a new iMac, April 20 could be a busy day for Apple and its fans, and you'll find full details of all the rumored announcements - along with how likely they are - below.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? An event where we might see new iPads and other devices
  • When is it? April 20 at 10am PT

When will the Apple spring event 2021 take place?

The Apple spring event 2021 is being held on April 20 - we know this because Apple has now sent out invitations for the event.

This will be an online event, as expected, so you'll be able to tune in from Apple's website. It kicks off at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST, or 2:30am ACT on April 21.

This timing doesn't come as too much of a surprise as it's in line with the most recent rumors, but some earlier leaks had suggested it would happen in March.

What to expect at the Apple spring event 2021

While we don’t know for sure what we’ll see at the Apple spring event 2021, we have a good idea of what might be present, with the following things being the most likely.

iPad Pro (2021)

iPad Pro 2020

The iPad Pro 2020 (Image credit: Future)

The iPad Pro (2021) might end up being the headline announcement of the Apple spring event. Multiple sources had said a new model would land in March, and with the previous model landing last March, the timing would have made sense. Of course, we're now in April, but that's close enough.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be unveiled at the spring event, but it’s unlikely that Apple would have two different sets of announcements so close together, and Prosser has suggested it will land at this event.

As for what the iPad Pro (2021) might offer, a large number of leaks suggest it will have a Mini LED screen, offering an improved contrast ratio and color reproduction over a normal LCD display.

We’ve also heard that it will come in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, and that it might support 5G, have a powerful new chipset, and have a tweaked but similar design to its predecessor.

It looks increasingly likely that we’ll see the iMac (2021) at the Apple event. This long-rumored all-in-one PC has been expected since Apple released two new MacBooks and the Mac mini late last year that run on its own M1 chip, rather than based on Intel hardware.

An M1-powered iMac would see a decent bump in performance, and would bring the all-in-one PC in line with Apple’s other new computing products.

Earlier this year, Apple discontinued several existing iMac models, a pretty reliable sign that it was preparing to launch a new version. When the April 20 event was announced, many of us thought this would be an ideal time to launch the new iMac – and it looks like that could be the case.

A tweet over the weekend by Ian Zelbo (@RendersbyIan), states that “Apple is expected to release a redesigned iMac on Tuesday’s Spring Loaded event”, and is based on leaks by Jon Prosser, a very well-known Apple leaker, who has accurately predicted several Apple launches in the past.

Not only will the new iMac apparently come with the Apple M1 chip, but there are also rumors that they will have a new design, and will come in a range of colors – a nod to the classic iMac G3, launched back in 1998.

iPad mini 6

iPad mini (2019)

The iPad mini (2019) (Image credit: TechRadar)

We might also see the iPad mini 6 at Apple’s spring event. Ming-Chi Kuo (an analyst with a great track record for Apple leaks) has said to expect this slate in the first half of the year, and Jon Prosser has said that he’s heard “iPads” are coming in March (which would be almost right if it lands in April).

The plural there suggests multiple models, so it’s not out of the question that the iPad Pro (2021) and iPad mini 6 could both show up.

That said, we’ve heard fewer release date rumors about the iPad mini 6, so we’d say it’s less likely to show up than the iPad Pro (2021).

Whenever it does arrive, rumors suggest it might have a slightly larger 8.5-inch screen (up from the 7.9-inch one used by the iPad mini (2019)). It might also stick with the Lightning port (rather than switching to USB-C), and use an A13 Bionic chipset, like the iPhone 11 range.

Apple AirTags


AirTags might work like Tile trackers (Image credit: Tile)

The other thing that we might well see is the long-rumored Apple AirTags. Jon Prosser had suggested that these would land in March, so the spring event would be the ideal candidate - and he's since hinted that this event is likely to be where we'll see them.

These are expected to be item trackers similar to Tile, so you’d be able to attach them to belongings, like a bag, wallet, or phone, and then track the device if it’s lost or stolen. AirTags are likely to leverage Apple’s Find My functionality, and might be able to use the vast network of peoples’ iPhones to help with the tracking.

Apple AirPods 3

Airpods 3

A leaked image of the AirPods 3 (Image credit: 52audio)

A number of sources have suggested that AirPods 3 might land in the first half of the year, and possibly at the spring event. Prosser has also said they're ready for launch, though he previously claimed not to have heard about any AirPods (or iMacs) for March (when he thought the spring event would be in March), so we’re not at all certain they’ll show up.

Leaks suggest these might have shorter earstems, similar to the AirPods Pro, and may feature pressure-relieving air vents to make them comfortable to wear for long periods. They might also have additional fitness features, such as the ability to use light to measure heart rate or blood oxygen.

iOS 14.5 on your iPhone

This isn't a gurantee, but things are looking likely that we'll see a new update for your iPhone and iPad during the Apple event. Even if the company doesn't release it on April 20, we may hear when exactly it'll be coming.

We've previously seen Apple release iterative software updates during its spring events, so it may be we get a similar thing for the next upgrade that we expect to be called iOS 14.5.

Other possibilities

The products above are the most likely announcements for the Apple spring event 2021, but there are some other possibilities.

We may see a new iMac or MacBook for example, or perhaps a new Apple TV (the latter of which Prosser claims is ready, but hasn't specifically said we'll see at the event).

Other AirPods models (such as the AirPods Pro 2 or AirPods Pro Lite) are also a possibility, as is a new iPad (2021) and even the iPhone SE 3 – though most sources point to April for that.

There’s nowhere near as much evidence for any of these things as there is for the devices above, but they’re not out of the question. Really, the only significant Apple devices that are out of the question are the iPhone 13 range and the Apple Watch 7 – they’re sure to land in or around September.

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