In the Category of Questions Not Answered: The Things Apple Didn’t Announce at Their Spring Loaded Event
Right now, I’m in a bit of a mixed place; I’ve switched back to the Pixel 4a from my iPhone 12 mini (I’ll be writing about that soon), I’ve been using my Pixelbook Go more frequently than my MacBook Air, and I’m no longer wearing my Apple Watch.
It isn’t that I’ve fallen out of love for Apple products- in fact, I’d say my love for Apple’s devices has never been stronger- it’s more that I’ve begun really thinking about which of their devices I want to use on a daily basis, and which ones I can live without.
Even still, I watched Apple’s “Spring Loaded” event with eager anticipation. Now, I wasn’t exactly looking for anything in particular; I’ve already settled down with the iPad mini 5 (you can read here why it is still my favorite iPad), I already have an M1 MacBook, and unless they were going to announce a foldable iPhone, I really wasn’t interested in switching phones again.
And while the new iMacs are gorgeous (I don’t need a desktop computer… I don’t need a desktop computer… I don’t need… do I need a desktop computer?), and the M1 iPad Pro is intriguing (I’m more curious how iPadOS will be updated to support this newfound power), there were a few things that I had expected to hear from Apple that didn’t end up making an appearance.
I’m basing this article solely on devices that I had seen rumored for yesterday’s event. I’m not considering how likely or how farfetched those rumors might have been, or how reputable their sources were. I’m simply looking at things I was expecting/hoping to see yesterday that didn’t end up appearing. So let’s talk a bit about that.
I love my AirPods. Despite there being several pairs of headphones laying around my house- most of which are better than the AirPods in one way or another- it is the AirPods that I tend to gravitate towards the most.
I wasn’t exactly dying for an update to the AirPods; I mean, yeah, I would probably have bought whatever version of AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro 2 that came out, but it’s not like my current ones are a piece of crap that need replacing. They are excellent.
But I was very intrigued by the mock-up pictures floating around, images that depict what appears to be the AirPods Pro minus the rubber tips. I have the hardest time keeping the AirPods Pro in my ears (I’ve tried every tip size, I’ve even tried third-party foam tips), but I love the design and these rumored images look like a good blend of the designs of both versions of the AirPods (with maybe a little Samsung Beans thrown in).
Granted, if these images are accurate, these AirPods are likely on the way and will be out at some point in the near future. But they weren’t released yesterday, and though I didn’t need them, I definitely wanted them.
Apple Pencil 3
Just a few days ago, “leaked” images of an Apple Pencil 3 hit the internet, complete with the glossy look of the first Pencil and the flat, magnetic connection of the Pencil 2.
Alas, when Apple showed off the iPad Pro and its various accessories, the Pencil 2 was the only thing on the screen.
And look, I’m not going to complain here, for two big reasons: the Apple Pencil 2 is exceptionally good, so I can’t imagine what an updated version would have brought to the table (and the matte finish is far superior to the glossy design of the original). But more importantly, if it had come out, it likely would have been exclusive to the new iPad Pro models, and I already wasn’t planning on getting a new iPad.
So yeah, I’m not really surprised or disappointed that the Apple Pencil 3 didn’t drop. We’ll get it one day, and I’m honestly in zero rush to see it.
Magic Keyboard 2
Ok, so Apple did announce a new Magic Keyboard. Two of them, actually, if you are counting the one that comes with the iMac (and has a Touch ID sensor… finally).
But man, I was expecting something more for the iPad Magic Keyboard 2 than just a version of the original in white (white? we couldn’t get lovely colors to match the iMacs?).
Now, I don’t recall seeing any specific rumors on what the new version would include, however, I had previously written that I would like to have seen Touch ID built into the keyboard (similar to how Apple did it on the iMac’s new keyboard) to make it easier to access while using the keyboard than having to reach up for the power button on the iPad Air (iPad Pro users need not worry about this). I would have also liked to see a different material, as Apple’s soft-touch rubber covers can get damaged and dirty relatively easily (I’m looking forward to those future pictures of the white keyboard after some use). I’m not saying Apple should have used Alcantara like Microsoft… but maybe they could have taken a page from Microsoft’s premium design elements, as my cheap Surface Go 2 has a much better keyboard attachment than any version of the iPad could ever dream to be connected to.
As with everything else on this list, just because we didn’t get it yesterday doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. And this one, in particular, was one I was really looking forward to; had it come out with any meaningful improvements, it might have been enough to prompt me to trade my iPad mini for the iPad Air or Pro.
iPad mini 6
Speaking of the iPad mini… where the hell is the mini 6?
There were heavy rumors that a completely redesigned mini- with a larger screen and a form factor that echoed the iPad Air and Pro- was on the way. We didn’t get that.
There were also rumors that a refreshed version of the iPad mini- with the same tried and tired and true design of the minis before it (as I said, I still love this design, but is it getting a bit long in the tooth)- would be coming out. We didn’t get that either.
I’m not mad, per se, but I’m disappointed. My iPad mini 5 is perfectly functional, and I love using it every day. The A12 chip is older but still fast and more than capable of handling whatever I throw at the tablet. Yeah, I would have liked a version of the mini that came with its own Magic Keyboard. Yeah, I wouldn’t have minded getting to use the Apple Pencil 2 with the mini instead of the original.
But more than anything, I was hoping for a new mini- even in the same form factor as the one I have- with the A14 chip inside it. The current iPad mini came out in 2019, and that’s kind of old for any iPad.
And though we’ve seen some rumors for the future of the iPad mini, this is the one device that I’m uncertain has a future, despite how much I love it. Apple always seems to drag its feet on updating the mini, and I’m always worried that one day Apple will discontinue the form factor entirely. And so the fact that we didn’t get any form of a refresh yesterday only furthers my worries that the mini 5 is the last mini.
Of course, I’m a big worrier, and we will probably see an iPad mini 6 in some form or fashion in the next year. But for this one, I won’t believe it until I see it.
The Rumors I Wasn’t Expecting to See
I saw a few other rumors for products Apple could announce, and honestly, these were all ones I had no expectation of seeing at yesterday’s event.
Firstly, I heard a few rumors of a new MacBook or a new chip, the M1X. These are inevitable (although I don’t know that Apple will call it M1X), but I didn’t expect them now. After all, the first M1 MacBooks are just getting out of diapers. If anything, I could have seen Apple updating the 16-inch MacBook Pro to the M1 family, but I imagine that is going to come later with some potential redesigns (and I wonder if the M1 iMacs are giving us a first look at the newer design language for the MacBooks… rumors did point to a more flat, square-sided laptop style).
Likewise, I heard several rumors of a new basic iPad, but since Apple just gave us a new base-model iPad when they released the iPad Air, this just made no sense to me. I expect to see the next basic iPad in the fall.
I’d also heard rumors of a cheaper version of AirPods Max, though I don’t know if the rumors were pointing at yesterday’s event for release. And while I would definitely welcome it (I’m not spending $549 on headphones… sorry, Apple), I didn’t expect to see them so soon after the first generation was released… Apple’s not going to cut into their profits like that.
And as always, people speculate about new iPhones minutes after the last one is released, and though I didn’t expect to see any new iPhones- SE or otherwise- at yesterday’s event, it turns out that those at least were partially true. Good news for anyone (like my wife) who wanted a purple iPhone 12 (or 12 mini).
Finally, Apple Glasses… yeah, I definitely did not expect to see this at yesterday’s event (or maybe ever). But I’ll buy them as soon as they become available (assuming my prescription will fit in them).
I’m always excited to see a new Apple event, even when I’m not actively using their products. Apple always puts on an excellent show and often debuts technology that will be one of the guiding voices for where all gadgets are going in the next few years. Even at a more low-key announcement such as this, they show off exciting things like AirTags and the beautiful refresh of the iMac.
And like with any rumors, I take the leaks about upcoming Apple products with a grain of salt, because as much as leakers like to say they know what is going on, nothing about future Apple products is the truth until Tim Cook and his associates show it to us. I’ve seen the leaks be spot on- like the rumors of micro-LED in the iPad Pro- and be way far off- like the similar rumors about the iPad mini.
While we didn’t get to see any of the devices I talked about here, I’ve no doubt that some of them- if not all of them- are still on the way. And as always, I’m already looking forward to the next Apple announcement.