Blog 53

Last week, Apple officially announced their annual event which is taking place on 20th April, at 18:00 (BST). Nothing, as yet, has been announced by Apple, however, we expect to hear about the introduction of new products and developments.

Apple has been clever with its announcement, promoting it a week before the event without any clues or information for what to expect. There have been multiple rumours, however, Apple is keen to keep this a secret and is keeping developers on their toes about future releases.

Here are our predictions and thoughts on the latest developments we might (and would love to) see at the ‘Spring Loaded’ Apple event.

Refreshed iPads and accessories

Refreshed iPad Pros seem a sure bet for Tuesday's event. Advanced iPad usage, beyond so-called 'content consumption' tasks, remains a niche. However, there are applications that are uniquely suited to a tablet. Examples include professional drawing tools for artists, sheet music viewers for musicians, or visualisation tools for construction workers. Taking these examples into consideration, there are some applications that are not easily substituted by phones or laptops. This justifies Apple's commitment to a third, deluxe tier of iPad, priced higher than the base and Air models.

Along with the iPad Pro, there have been talks about updating the iPad Mini. It was last upgraded in March 2019 and has an older processor than the recent models. There is plenty of room for Apple to improve this device to give it more life and introduce the latest technology. We also have an idea of what could be announced on Tuesday regarding the rumoured iPad Mini-LED 6, such as the introduction of an A13 processor and a bigger screen (8.4 inches). If this gadget launches, it will be a success!

Accessories, such as the Pencil or Magic Keyboard are an important part of the iPad story. Apple is likely to reuse the work it has invested in the M1 Mac chip to bring USB4/Thunderbolt connectivity to the iPad for the first time. This upgraded connectivity may enable more advanced accessories, both first and third-party.

iMacs (in a variety of colours)

There is a high chance of Apple announcing a new range of iMacs. There have been a few hints towards what this would include, such as the upgrade of a new Apple Silicon ARM chip (called M2 or m1X). We’re not sure whether this is the same as the M1 chip that is in last year's MacBook Pro and Mac Mini. If so, this would have a positive impact on the device, as it would expect to give more power than the original M1 which is ideal for desktops.

Another potential feature could be the introduction of a mini-LED display. This is also rumoured to be introduced among other devices like iPads. The new iMac may come in a range of sizes, most likely 21.5 and 27-inch displays.

AirTags

Apple is likely to introduce Tracking Tiles such as AirTags These have been rumoured for a while now. We could expect this gadget to be a small circular tag that works with Bluetooth and radio chips. It would work with the already existing feature, Find My App and networks of other devices.

AirTags would be in competition with other Bluetooth trackers, however, this gadget would be a huge success if launched. AirTags would allow users to track and retrace their steps to find missing Apple devices. Users would attach the tag to a device they want to keep track of at all times such as keys, purses/wallets or anything else that could go missing in day-to-day life.

It is said that this ‘key finder’ could be more effective than others on the market. Rumoured to use the U1 Ultra-Wideband Sensor, it would give AirTags more precision and an accurate location to find the missing gadget.

iOS Update and Features

iOS 14.5 also seems close-to-certain for release at or soon after Tuesday's event. This unusually significant 'point release' will enable users to unlock with their Apple Watch to save time typing in their passcode, a lifesaver to have during the global pandemic and when wearing a mask.

This new feature is very secure, sending a message to the user to identify the situation, as well as a ‘Lock iPhone’ button. And the system is well equipped for any situation. It can detect if the watch and phone have been separated, and the iPhone will automatically lock itself.

Privacy Changes

More widely discussed has been App Tracking Transparency (ATT), which will become an App Store requirement as of the new release. On a technical level, ATT requires apps to ask user's permission to get access to the user's unique Identifier for Advertisers. This change is expected to have a significant impact on advertiser's ability to track users between apps made by different third-party companies.

We’ve already mentioned what Apple’s new privacy changes mean to product owners and you can also listen to our podcast about it.

Developer Tools

Apple is in the middle of several significant transitions in terms of its portfolio of developer tools. Swift has now comfortably eclipsed Objective-C as the programming language of choice for most developers on Apple platforms. However, the SwiftUI user interface framework will take longer to become the go-to tool, as many companies and apps support iOS 11 and 12, which cannot use SwiftUI. SwiftUI and its predecessor, UIKit, can freely interoperate, but without clear guidance from Apple, it is up to the app developers to assess the right choices for different components of an app.

Apple seems to be all-in on SwiftUI for features such as Widgets and its new Watch complications, but their June Developer Conference will provide more insight about where they are headed than Tuesday's event.

These are just some of the predictions we think are going to take place on Tuesday, however we know there will be more exciting news in the future! Degree 53 can help to bring your apps up to date and deliver the best process to ensure they meet Apple requirements before launch. We can help implement all the recent iOS changes and offer enhanced native functionality.

Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding the new announcements or development!
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