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My Spring Loaded scorecard

Apple marketing image for Spring Loaded event

Last week, I put out a few guesses on what Apple would announce at their ”Spring Loaded” event. Now that it’s done, I thought it was only fair to keep myself honest on how I did. And reader, the scores aren’t pretty.

App Tracking Transparency Update 👎

I was sure there’d be some mention of this. And whilst they made a number of references to privacy as always, they didn’t directly address this upcoming change. In fact, they didn’t even discuss iOS 14.5, which was also pretty surprising. Not even in one of the Spec slides. So a strong fail on this prediction.

iOS 14.5 drops 🤔

I’m tempted to give myself a “fair” on this. Whilst they didn’t discuss iOS 14.5 or the release date, they did follow up after the event to announce that iOS 14.5 would drop ”next week”, which is about what I expected, I just figured they’d say it during the event.

iPad Pro refresh ✅

iPad Pro definitely got the refresh people expected, and featured heavily in the event, getting ~20 minutes of the hour long event. Upgrading the processor to M1 and the thunderbolt port keeps it as a viable competitor to the MacBook Air as your everyday computing device.

The Center Stage feature is very reminiscent of the experience on a Facebook Portal. If Apple managed to put this into a more picture frame like form factor, I think they’d have a winning device. The privacy of Apple, the convenience of FaceTime and access to your photos on iCloud makes for a really compelling offering. But back to the iPad Pro.

As with the latest iPhone, they pushed 5G as a flagship feature. Honestly I’ve never gotten the appeal of 5G on iPad. You’d always have your iPhone nearby as a hotspot, so why give your carrier more money for the same overall bandwidth?

3rd Gen Pencil 👎

No dressing this up, the Pencil barely got a reference.

Nothing about new laptops / desktops 🤔

Ok ok, I’m definitely being generous not hard failing myself on this one. The new M1 iMac got almost as much time as the iPad Pro, but in my defense, they didn’t announce a new M Series chip, they just stuck it in an (admittedly massively redesigned) iMac.

I think almost as standout as the iMac itself, is the presence of Touch ID on an external device. I won’t be swapping out my mechanical keyboard any time soon, but this does feel overdue. One thing to note before you buy though, this only works when the keyboard is paired with an Apple Silicon device, so if you’ve got an Intel powered machine, best to keep your money for now.

Honestly, whilst many folks I know are eager to open their wallets for the new 24in iMac, I’ll keep my money for now, because you (a) can’t use it as an external display for a MacBook, and (b) I want desktops to be more like 27/30in. Plus a lot of things you’d expect by default, like gigabit ethernet and 16GB of RAM, are optional extras that will move away from the $1300 price point.

I do like the industrial design to be fair, although like others, I think I would have sacrificed some of the thinness to get rid of the “chin” underneath the display. Imagine your desktop basically looking like a 27in iPad Pro. Glorious.

Apple TV ✅

As was widely reported, Apple TV got a new remote and a couple of hardware updates, primarily the A12 chip from the iPhone line, and a cute gimmick that will adjust the color output based on a test you run with your iPhone. The output thing is a great example of the kind of thing Apple excels at when you’re totally bought into the Apple ecosystem, but honestly, since it can’t adjust your actual TV settings, it feels like it won’t get used much and will be silently dropped in a few versions.

Of note, they’ve finally enabled Siri on Apple TV in more countries, including my own.

I’m still a bit surprised don’t dive right in and make an entire TV set given how much knowledge they have on displays, but who knows what we’ll see in the future. Clearly I’m no Apple savant based on this event!

The one thing they did announce, and gave a significantly larger portion of time to than the other smaller launches, was a date for season two of Ted Lasso. Honestly, I enjoy Ted Lasso so much, I’d pay the annual fee for Apple TV+ just to watch it.

AirTags ✅

Finally. Open up my wallet and take my money Tim. These will rapidly replace the Tile on my keyring, because I am forever losing my keys, even during the pandemic. It does feel a little nickel and dime to make the keyring portion an added extra on something that’s already, let’s face it, not exactly cheap for what it is, but such is the way with Apple. Once global travel becomes a thing again, I’ll probably stick them on my luggage too.


Conclusion

At the top of the last post, I said ”I don’t intend for this to be an Apple watching blog”, and that’s probably for the best, because even being generous, I only got three out of seven totally correct, with two somewhat hand waving “maybes”.

It’s safe to say that I won’t be unseating Daring Fireball anytime soon!

If you have something to add, I’d love to hear it, so let’s continue the conversation over on Twitter!