Apple event 2021: New iMac and iPad, purple iPhone 12, AirTags and everything announced

Finally, the iMac gets an overhaul, the iPad Pros get the M1 chip and AirTags are real. Plus, Apple TV 4K gets a cool new Siri remote.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Lori Grunin
Ian Sherr
4 min read

We go now live to Tim Cook in Cupertino...

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

The Apple Store went down and we glued ourselves to our computers on this Earth Day to bring you our coverage of the "Spring Loaded" event, Apple's first big launch of 2021. And boy, what a big, colorful reveal. The company treated us to everything we've been expecting for ages, including AirTags, overhauled iMacs with the M1 chip in a rainbow of colors; new iPad Pros with M1; a new Apple TV 4K; a purple iPhone 12 and even more. 

We didn't get iOS 14.5, but but we do know that's coming next week.

The $29 (£29, AU$45) AirTags enter the Find My network to track "items, not people" to protect privacy. They're also available in a four-pack for $99 (£99, AU$149).

Watch this: Apple unveils AirTags

Tim Cook started the stream with the Earth Day link, discussing the company's environmental efforts and segued straight into Apple Card updates. Notably, you can now share the card with anyone in your family (with parental controls). It's unsurprisingly called Apple Card Family.

Watch this: Apple Card Family lets spouses and partners build credit together

The Apple Podcasts app has gotten a redesign with subscriptions, recommendations and more.

As anticipated, the iPad Pro and iMac got the new M1 chips. The iPad Pro also goes up to 2TB storage, 16GB memory, 5G connectivity and switches to Thunderbolt 4 from USB-C. The camera's new 12-megapixel sensor has an ultrawide field of view that can pan to dynamically reframe the shot for video calls, a feature called Center Stage.

Watch this: Apple launches new M1-powered iPad Pro with 5G

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro gets an iPaddy version of the Pro Display XDR, the 600-nit Liquid Retina XDR equipped with micro-sized mini LEDs for full array local dimming: 2,500 zones of it. The 12.9-inch model starts at $1,099 (£999, AU$1,649); the 11-inch at $799 (£749, AU$1,199).

Skinny and brightly colored (hearkening back to the really old models), the completely redesigned iMac with M1 chip in some ways retains the issues of the old models, including the ports only on the back. It's got slim bezels, though, and its skinny profile is sure to please everybody.

It starts at a pricey $1,299 (£1,249, AU$1,899), though.

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

It uses a 24-inch display in the 21.5-inch form factor with the same characteristics as the previous models. And it has the 1080p webcam that debuted in the previous model, benefiting from the image-specific intelligent processing in the M1 chip. It also gains a three-mic array with many of the characteristics for conferencing that we've been seeing in better gear.

Watch this: Apple debuts all-new colorful iMacs

The speakers are new -- a six-speaker system that generate more powerful sound, spatial audio and more accurate sound. Apple also highlighted how good the iMac will be for gaming with Apple Arcade, significantly faster than the old 21.5-inch model across the board.

It's got a MagSafe-like connector with an Ethernet connection on the brick and color-matched keyboards with Touch ID. Also color matched trackpads and mice.

Watch this: Apple launches new purple iPhone 12 and 12 Mini

Zooming into iPhone, the omnipresent mobile phone has gotten a new color. The color purple. 

We've gotten a new version of Apple TV 4K, which uses the A12 Bionic chip that's in the iPhone, which allows for HDR in high frame rates. It can also use the sensor in your iPhone's camera to calibrate your TV's picture. Plus, there's a new remote with a mute button and TV power button. The obligatory Apple TV Plus show announcement included the return of Jason Sudeikis' Ted Lasso. But if you've been freeloading Apple TV Plus' extended free trial for more than a year, right now you're set to start paying up before Ted Lasso returns

Watch this: Apple unveils new 4K Apple TV with A12 Bionic chip

Read more: Best eco-friendly iPhone 12 and 12 Pro cases