Apple's first major product reveal of the year spanned from big iMac desktops to 5G tablets and a next-gen Apple TV box, but all eyes were on the tiny AirTag 'product finder'.
Intended to help users find physical items like bags, wallets and keys, the AirTag looks like a small white-and metal puck and can attach to a key chain by way of a leather sleeve with a clip.
Apple will sell individual AirTags for $45 or in packs of four for $149, available from April 30.
Each AirTag relies on low-energy Bluetooth to broadcast its presence and be located, and is powered by a user-replaceable CR2032 'coin cell' battery which Apple claims will offer more than a year of life.
The water- and dust-resistant accessory will work with an updated version of the Find My app on all of the company’s major devices, adding third-party items to Apple's service for tracking the location of iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and other products.
AirTags have been in development for more than two years, and see Apple entering a market against competitors including Tile and Samsung.
For an unannounced product, the AirTag has been quite controversial.
The device has given smaller companies antitrust fodder against the iPhone maker. Tile, which has made a similar accessory for years, has filed antitrust complaints about Apple’s Find My app and the perceived advantage Apple would give its own upcoming product.
Earlier this month, Apple opened its Find My app to third-party devices. It’s also allowing the makers of third-party devices, such as bicycles and headphones, to integrate location chips to be found by the Find My app without additional hardware.
Apple also unveiled an updated iPad Pro with Apple's own M1 processor, 5G connectivity, upgraded screen and new cameras, offering a more powerful version of its priciest tablet aimed at workers and students returning to offices and schools.
The new models come in the same 11-inch and 12.9-inch screen sizes as the previous version, and they look nearly identical to the iPad Pro design introduced in 2018.
Inside is the company’s M1 processor from the Mac that Apple said is far faster than the A12Z chip in the previous iPad Pro launched about a year ago.
The company said that the processor will enable new professional apps and improved rendering for augmented reality. It has eight main computing cores and eight graphics cores, the same as in the Mac chips.
That’s more than the A14 processor in the iPhone 12 and cheaper iPad Air, which have six main computing cores and four graphics cores.
The new iPad Pros will include a Thunderbolt connector for the first time, allowing compatibility with additional accessories such as external monitors.
This also lets the iPad sync with some external storage drives at faster speeds. While the port technology is updated, it's physically identical to the USB-C connector on the previous iPad Pro, so users won’t need to buy new chargers.
It also sports a MiniLED screen, dubbed by Apple as the Liquid Retina XDR Display, which the company said will enable brighter colors, more details and improved contrast ratios. However, this panel is available only on the pricier and larger 12.9-inch model.
Apple will also for the first time offer iPads with fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless connectivity, expanding its 5G portfolio from the iPhone 12 line.
Apple updated the iPad Pro’s camera system, too, with a new 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera on the front and an improved low-light sensor on the back. The company also announced an updated Magic Keyboard that comes in a new white color.
The new iPad Pros go on sale April 30 and will start at $1,199 for the 11-inch model. The 12.9-inch version with the MiniLED screen will start at $1,649. Models that are 5G-capable will cost extra, and storage tiers will range to as much as 2TB for the first time.
Also showcased at the launch was an upgraded Apple TV set-top box with a faster processor and revamped remote control.
The A12 Bionic chip in the new Apple TV device is an upgrade over the A10 processor in the previous model. The new box supports higher-frame-rate video, providing an improved viewing experience, Apple said in a demonstration on Tuesday.
There's also include a revamped, white all-metal remote which includes on/off and mute controls "making it the only remote needed while enjoying TV," the Apple says.
This latest Apple TV arrives in the second half of May at $209 for the entry-level Apple TV HD and $249 for the Apple TV 4K; both include the new Siri Remote, which will also sell on its own for $79 and is compatible with the previous-generation Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD devices,
Apple also rolled out the first redesign of its flagship desktop iMac computer in almost a decade, showcasing its latest machine with in-house designed chips instead of those made by Intel.
Starting at $1,899, the new iMacs come in a new 24-inch screen size, up from 21.5-inches on the previous entry-level model, but are far thinner than their predecessors and have slimmer edges.
They also come in seven different colors, have a 1080p camera, better speakers and improved microphones for video conferencing.
The computers run Apple’s M1 custom processor that was first released in the MacBook Air, entry-level MacBook Pro and Mac mini last year. By shifting the iMac to its own processors, the company has now replaced Intel chips for its own designs in most of the Mac line.
Apple plans to launch higher-end MacBook Pros with its own chips later this year and well as a smaller Mac Pro desktop computer with an Apple processor by next year.
The new machines also include a upgraded power adapter that can magnetically attach to the back of the iMac and four USB-C ports.
The company is also offering three new keyboard options for the new iMacs: a standard color-matched one, a keyboard with a Touch ID fingerprint scanner, and another with a fingerprint scanner and a number pad. The company is also offering new mouses and trackpads that are color-matched to the iMacs.
While much of the computer industry focuses on laptops, the iMac remains a key part of Apple’s portfolio. The first iMac, launched in 1998, has been credited with helping Apple escape bankruptcy and steer a path toward becoming the world’s most valuable company.
The all-in-one desktop line is popular with professionals and consumers seeking large screens at relatively affordable prices.
This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here