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What to Expect: Apple’s 4/20 “Spring Loaded” Event

Apple "Spring Loaded" 2021 Event

Earlier this week, Apple announced a virtual product event planned for April 20th. All jokes about “420” aside, the event should be rather mellow and low-key. Looking into my tie-dyed crystal ball, here’s what I think we’ll see at the “Spring Loaded” event.

Mini LED 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Most pundits agree that the big news at the “Spring Loaded” event is going to be a 12.9-inch iPad Pro boasting a Mini LED display. What’s so great about a Mini LED display? Compared to OLED displays, Mini LED provides deeper blacks, a higher contrast ratio, and – most importantly for creative professionals – higher luminance and a wider color gamut.

Mini LED also offers advantages over OLED in that it is much less susceptible to screen burn-in issues and has a longer lifetime. On the bad side, apparently Apple’s suppliers are having production issues so these new models may be in short supply for a while.

Other than a more impressive display, what else can we expect from the new iPad Pro? How about an A14X Apple Silicon System-on-Chip that rivals the M1 used in the latest Macs? In addition, support for Thunderbolt connectivity should appear for the first time on Apple’s pro tablet. My speculation is that both iPad Pros offer 5G connectivity for the first time.

New 11-inch iPad Pro at the Spring Loaded Event

The 11-inch model will see a refresh as well at the Spring Loaded event Don’t expect the Mini LED display on the smaller Pro. Chances are good that it will have the same processor and Thunderbolt connectivity expected for the 12.9-inch model. Apple may tout the 12.9-inch iPad Pro as an excellent second screen for a Mac, and the 11-inch is just too small to get the Mini LED upgrade.

Randomized Serial Numbers

Wow, here’s a big announcement! Apple plans to go to randomized serial numbers for all its products starting with the new product announcements. Why is this a “big deal”? In the past, Apple device serial numbers have been rather easy to decode as they contain information about model, place and time of manufacture, and so on. That information is dissected by Apple analysts who make educated guesses on how many of a particular product has been sold.

Rather than make it easy for analysts to pick apart info and breathlessly announced that a product is a runaway success or abject failure, Apple won’t tie production info into serial numbers anymore.

A Mac serial number found in  >  About This Mac
A Mac serial number found in  > About This Mac

AirTags Finally Arrive at the Spring Loaded Event

OK, we’ve expected AirTags – an Apple-designed tracking tag that can be attached to anything to pinpoint its location – for about the last year. Chances are good that AirTags are on the stage at the Apple event this time. You’ll be able to use the “Find My” app on your other Apple products to find any AirTagged object.

Put it on your bike, a backpack, connect it to a car or trailer, throw one in a wallet or purse, or on the kids’ jacket zippers. Whenever an AirTag comes into range of any of the billions of Apple devices on the planet, the tag pings the “Find My” system and you instantly know of its location. The Apple device that receives and transmits the ping to the rest of the world never knows who that tag belonged to or what it was attached to.

AppleTags concept via iDropNews
AppleTags concept via iDropNews

The tags are expected to be about the diameter of an American 50¢ coin and about three times the thickness, containing a rechargeable battery. Expect AirTags to cost about $39 each.

Apple Watch Bands

It’s spring, so Apple will definitely bring on the new fashion bands for the 2021 season. Expect seasonal bands, new colors for the solo loop bands, and perhaps a new style of band. Being 4/20, I’ll be sad if there isn’t a tie-dye band…

Apple Watch SE and a variety of bands
Apple Watch SE and a variety of bands

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Contributing Author
Steve has been writing about Apple products since 1986, starting on a bulletin board system, creating the first of his many Apple-related websites in 1994, joining the staff of The Unofficial Apple Weblog in 2008, and founding Apple World Today in 2015. He’s semi-retired, loves to camp and take photos, and is an FAA-licensed drone pilot.
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1 Comment

  • Randomized Serial Numbers To Create difficulties for analysis…maybe, but the owner has a right to understand source of supply, surely. It should not be a problem for a company as large and profitable that Apple is to be ‘Open’ to their customers to decode their model for such information that it enables them to make good their own repairs, or replacements or upgrades, where they can. Otherwise, I put it to Apple that the ‘core’ problem they may face in any future court matters is that they are introducing deception and ensuring owners of the Apple products will likely have increased difficulties replacing or upgrading without being comprehensible, and illegally tied to returning to Apple for all matters.
    This type of corporate GREED will speed up Apple’s arrogant journey to becoming a very rotten apple with such commercial practices. A slippery slope… I look forward to a new product that is designed in China and Marketed in the rest of the world…The name Apple Tree comes to mind…