Apple has held a major event to release a whole host of new products.
New versions of the iPad, iMac, and AirPods were unveiled, as well as the first official announcement of Apple’s AirTags for item tracking.
Other announcements included a new iPhone colour and updates for Apple TV, Apple Card and the Podcasts app.
As with all Apple’s events in recent times, it took the form of a pre-recorded video in which Apple executives introduced the new products from its Apple Park campus.
The event comes amid big growth in Apple’s share price since the start of April that has boosted its market cap to $2.24 trillion (£1.6tn), ranking it as the world’s most valuable company.
Hello and welcome
... to The Independent’s live coverage of the first Apple event of 2021: ‘Spring Loaded’.
As a reminder, here’s the graphic from the event. It looks colourful and swirly (as does the augmented reality experience you can get if you open it with your phone), which might be a clue, or might not.
For what it’s worth, the often reliable leaker made reference to those colours in a post that suggested that perhaps they might be the colours coming to the iMac. But there was nothing specific there, and it might not mean anything at all.
Specific bit of Apple Store goes down
The Apple Store’s website often goes down ahead of events – it’s unclear, at this stage, whether that’s a necessary part of updating it or if the company just does it to build hype.
This time around, however, most of the website is still up. But the company’s sitemap – the big menu of product pages that is kept on the site – has gone down, presumably ahead of an update.
It doesn’t give any clues about what might be coming today, but it does suggest something is!
How to watch live
It’s about six hours until everything kicks off.
Reports of new podcast service grow
In recent days, reports have grown that Apple is planning on launching a premium subscription service.
It’s not clear what exactly that will be. A recent report from Vox suggested that it could be something like a Podcasts+, like its TV+ and News+, which holds content only for Apple’s subscribers; the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that podcast producers will be able to charge a subscription fee within the app that will be shared with creators.
It could well be both, or neither, and of course we won’t know until sometime after today’s event.
After being the originators of the form, Apple has got a little behind on podcasting – other platforms offer different features, primarily the ability to host paid-for podcasts.
But those attempts to disrupt the form have also been controversial, as when Spotify started launching its own private podcasts that don’t conform to the usual convention.
(In the past, Apple’s media stuff has been particularly leaky, probably given that people who make content tend also to talk to other people who do. So it’s probably not surprising this leaked, and means it’s also likely that it is really happening.)
Apple Store goes down
The Apple website has gone down – a little more than before, though not entirely.
If you try and click to buy anything, you’ll see this message:
You can still scroll around, though, and read any information you’d like. It’s just the actual buying process that is down.
‘It’s a beautiful morning’: Tim Cook tweets
Tim Cook has done the now traditional tweet in his role as chief executive, and posted about his excitement this morning:
The fact that he has included the colourful stage that’s been in the Apple Park campus for a while now is intriguing, especially since the invitation had a similarly colourful swirl. Is that a clue to something coming later?
It might be a reference to the new iMacs, which are rumoured to come in the same pastel colours that first debuted on last year’s iPad Air. Or it could be something else entirely.
Phil Schiller retweets Tim Cook
The other Apple executives appear not to have tweeted yet. (But that’s fine, it’s not even 8am in Cupertino yet.)
Phil Schiller has retweeted Tim Cook’s post. Last year, he “advanced” (Apple’s wording) from being the company’s marketing head into a role as an Apple Fellow.
At the time, the company said he would be keeping control of the App Store and the company’s events, and that is presumably the case.
(I’m sorry for this very niche Apple-watching, but there’s not much else leaking out this morning.)
Leaks are few and far between
Sometimes, the hours before an Apple event bring with them a wave of leaks, as information gets made public early.
This time around, there’s barely anything, and so there remains plenty of mystery about today’s event. While there have been rumours of iPads, podcasts and iMacs, none of those have been fully confirmed; AirTags, an Apple TV and more have been long-discussed, but there’s no definitive indication they’ll be coming today.
As such, there really could be some big surprises. But here’s everything that might be coming today.
Event scheduled for two hours
It might just be a placeholder, but if you add the event to your calendar from Apple’s website (as discussed here), it will carve out a two-hour block for you to watch it.
Will it really be that long? Does Apple have a lot to introduce, or does it just want to make the most of its new, flash video streams? Only time (and maybe lots of it) will tell.
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