There weren’t too many surprises at Apple’s April 2021 event. The company was expected to take the wraps off new iPad Pro models, new M1 iMacs and its long-rumored AirTags accessory. We got all that along with an upgraded Apple TV 4K that had been rumored since February. Oh, and let’s not forget that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are now available in purple.
But what didn’t Apple announce? Here’s a list of products we’ve been waiting for, including (admittedly) some that are more rumor mill wishcasting than imminent or expected releases. Still, while we didn’t think most of them would make their debut at Apple’s Spring Loaded event, we could very well see some as soon as June 7 (including iOS 15), when Apple hosts its virtual Worldwide Developers Conference.
Rumors that Apple was getting set to release third-generation AirPods have been circulating for the last few months, with talk of possible delays pushing their release till the third quarter of 2021 — speculation that seems more accurate now. Often referred to as the AirPods 3, their design, based on possible leaked photos, may share a lot with the AirPods Pro but will not feature noise-isolating ear tips (and maybe not offer active noise cancellation).
16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 chip
Currently, the M1-equipped MacBook Pro is only available in a 13-inch model, and it doesn’t perform much better than the M1 MacBook Air (which, admittedly, is quite the speed demon). Those waiting for the 16-inch MacBook Pro to get upgraded with the M1 chip, along with a rumored 14-inch Pro model, will have to continue to wait. Again, these sort of developer-friendly laptops would be welcomed with open arms at June’s WWDC, but Apple may be waiting on an even better chip (M2? M1X?) to power them.
What we think of the new colorful 24-inch iMac
Larger iMac powered by Apple silicon chips
At the April event, Apple gave us new M1-powered iMacs with flatter designs and 24-inch displays (up from 21.5 inches). But the larger 27-inch iMacs remain unchanged for now, despite rumors they are going to mammoth 30-inch screens. Maybe they, too, are awaiting the presumed M1 successor.
Mac Pro M1
We waited years to get Apple’s revamped high-end desktop computer, the Mac Pro. Now it looks like we’ll need to wait even longer for an upgraded version of that computer powered by Apple’s Intel alternatives. Here, again, we expect Apple to wait for an even more powerful M1 successor, so the delay makes sense.
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Midrange Apple display
Apple will sell you its 32-inch 6K Pro Display XDR for a boatload of money (it starts at just under $5,000, and that’s without it’s nearly $1,000 stand). But owners of Mac Minis (and, now, the Thunderbolt-equipped iPad Pro) are still waiting for something that’s a little more affordable.
Apple Echo Show competitor
After Apple discontinued its HomePod, rumor was that the company had been at work on an Amazon Echo Show competitor that would fuse an entry-level iPad with a speaker. Details remain vague, and it’s unclear when such a product might be released. But given that the new iPad Pro includes an ultrawide camera and the Center Stage feature, which can dynamically pan and zoom in on multiple people speaking in a shot, Apple could pull something together without needing the articulating arm on the Echo Show 10.
Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro is an M1 machine: Let’s talk about…
Apple soundbar with built-in Apple TV
Another rumored product that makes a lot of sense for Apple to create is a soundbar for your TV that has an Apple TV “box” integrated into it. Roku already offers several soundbars with its smart TV apps built in, and Apple could easily ring the register on larger and more sonically capable models. In addition to amping up the sound from your TV, this sort of TV speaker combo could potentially allow you to stream audio to a set of AirPods Pro or AirPods Max and use Apple’s spatial audio virtual-surround feature without disturbing others in your household.
Apple AR/VR headset
OK, no one seriously expected this long-rumored product to be unveiled in April. But this is the sort of thing — like the Apple silicon chips last year — that Apple could conceivably outline months ahead of its release in order to line up developer support. Add an Apple AR/VR headset to the WWDC rumor mill for now, but again: Don’t hold your breath for it either.
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