You wait years for a new Apple device to launch, and then a large number of them arrive at once. April 2021 saw new iMacs, new Apple TV 4K, new iPad Pro, and finally the launch of AirTag.
A hundred years from now, archaeologists will be unearthing millions of tiny white and silver circular devices. They might conclude that they are coins, or if their research is just a little better, they might think they are called Tiles.
It would be nice to think that Tile might laugh one last time someday, because now he won’t. After a couple of years of Tile fearing Apple’s rival AirTag would be released, they are suddenly here.
Then of course we all spent a week waiting for them to be delivered. Which meant we spent time updating the shipment tracking information for the tracking devices.
It is possible that when those archaeologists discover more details about April 2021, they will conclude that the AirTag is the most important development of the month. But there were others. After months with no events or Apple launches, there were many.
Apple TV 4K and iPhone 12 in purple
AirTag was physically the smallest, followed in size by the revamped Apple TV 4K. Refurbished is a generous word though, as the most immediately visible upgrade is just the new Siri Remote.
In truth, Apple TV 4K has had many improvements; It’s just that some may not bring obvious benefits for years. And Apple has chosen to focus it on a three-year-old processor.
Its A12 Bionic is undoubtedly better than the four-year-old processor of the Apple TV 4K’s immediate predecessor. If you’re still using an Apple TV HD, you’re looking at a six-year-old design. Move on.
Maybe Apple just had a lot of A12 Bionic processors out there. Like maybe it couldn’t get a purple color just in time for the iPhone 12 launch last year.
That was the next biggest launch at the April event, an iPhone 12 that’s aimed at people who have porphyrophilia. It is one thing, an obsessive love for purple, although unfortunately there is also porphyrophobia, an excessive fear of it.
Now there’s a purple iMac too, and it’s part of the April launch of the M1 iMacs with Apple Silicon. However, only the back of each is actually purple, or one of the other advertised colors, as the front is a duller complementary color seen primarily on the iMac’s chin.
For years, people have been predicting that the iMac would lose that chin to become a full-screen unit. Instead, all that’s gone is the Apple logo that used to be there.
However, so far, the largest omission appears to be about three inches. The 27-inch iMac model does not have the Apple Silicon treatment yet and instead what we have is a new 24-inch iMac.
While 24 inches is more than the 21.5 inches of its predecessor, it is still small. And there’s also a clear argument that the new iMac lacks ports, plus a more subjective one that it just doesn’t look good.
Everyone is welcome to hear from you, even when they are wrong. The new iMac is a blast, and if you could put together a better spec by buying a Mac mini and a separate monitor, the iMac is greater than the sum of its specs.
Apple will do very, very well, at least until a revised 27-inch iMac is released.
Now about that iPad Pro
In April, word got out that we were getting two new iPad Pro models. Tick. Also that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro would have a mini-LED backlight system.
However, there was a belief that Apple would have to announce a long delay before shipping the 12.9-inch model due to a variety of stories about production performance delays. And that doesn’t seem to have happened.
So if you’re keeping score, it’s two correct predictions and one not. However, just to show that Apple can sometimes keep a big secret, no one saw that the new iPad Pro models would switch to the M1 processor.
You have to wonder if we’re heading to a day where the iPhone gets it too, or, this would be nice, the Apple TV 4K. And you might have wondered how the meeting was when they told Apple’s A-series team.
There may have been a similar time when the Magic Keyboard design team first read the 12.9-inch Magic Keyboard specifications. Apple has changed its feet on this a bit, seemed a bit embarrassed, and finally said that it is not entirely true that it needs a new magic keyboard.
Not completely. The old one will work a bit with the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It works, it just doesn’t fit that well.
Given the enormous scale of production Apple has now, and the inability to keep secrets once the devices are on their way to stores, it’s no surprise that the company has lost one of its key advantages. You will probably never be able to conclude a release with “available today” again.
That always used to be a differentiator for Apple, especially when other companies were releasing devices that never actually shipped.
But this time, Apple couldn’t just say “available today,” it wouldn’t say when things would come. Time and again, we were told when the pre-order dates were, followed by how the various devices would be available at some vague point in the “second half of May.”
Perhaps there were more iPad Pro production issues than we thought, but Apple even did a quick review the day before pre-orders began. An innocuous press release that reminds us all that April 30 would see pre-orders on the iPad Pro, iMac and Apple TV 4K, kept in this “second half of May” line.
However, that press release was online and the page’s HTML revealed a description specifying the “May 21” shipment, briefly. It was modified after discovery and changed to that second half.
Around 24 hours later, these devices can be reserved and that’s when Apple officially announced on May 21. Briefly. It wasn’t long before May 21 slid into June due to demand.
Apple will never say how many devices it has made, so they may have only produced three iPads Pro to sell out quickly. But it seems like every one of Apple’s new devices in April 2021 got off to a good start.
That has to come as a relief to Apple, given that it barely made any money this quarter. The roughly $ 30 billion a month they took home is just 1.6 million times the California state minimum wage.
There was another mystery ship date at the April “Spring Loaded” event, and that one has yet to be resolved. Starting in May, you will be able to pay to subscribe to certain podcasts.
It is not the flat rate subscription service that was predicted; this will not be included in the Apple One package. Instead, if you like fifty podcasts that sell subscriptions, you can pay for the fifty separately.
Maybe Apple can’t set a date because it doesn’t know how many podcasters will accept them with the subscriptions option. And it is a difficult choice. If it weren’t for Apple, there wouldn’t be a podcast industry, even the name comes from iPod, and the goal was to reach a wide audience.
We’ll just have to see how subscription podcasts develop. Just as we’ll have to see how Apple fares with the European Union, it has now been formally charged with violating EU anti-competition laws.
That was announced on April 30, but it’s not like it would have been resolved in the month if they had spoken earlier. This one will work and work for years.
App tracking transparency
Hopefully this problem won’t last that long. It seems we’ve already had the fight for privacy for a long time before app tracking transparency went into effect with iOS 14.5. And it looks like we will have to wait a long time before Facebook allows us to tap the Do not allow tracking button.
Maybe we’ve all chosen to install well-behaved apps, but for many of us, the ATT dialog has proven to be rare so far.
That’s going to change as developers want to update their apps, as Apple may say “come on, update without ATT if you think you’re tough enough.”
App Tracking Transparency is not a name to seep into the public consciousness, even as the privacy concerns it raises might be expected to do.
But the word AirTag is different. That will become the Biro and Hoover of tracking devices.
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