Apple announces AirTag tile tracker, new iPad Pro and iMac

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Apple airtag

Apple has shown off its latest product line-up in its first big event of 2021 including the much anticipated AirTag (pictured above) as well as a new iMac desktop and iPad Pro. 

AirTags are small round disks which can be attached to anything. They work by transmitting a Bluetooth signal to a home gadget – an iPad or iPhone – to alert the user to their location. The original Tile tracker, a rival product, launched following a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014.

AirTags will cost £29 ($29 in US) and are due to launch on April 30, said Apple engineering program manager Carolyn Wolfman-Estrada. They work with all devices containing the U1 chip, including the iPhone 11 (which launched in 2019) and later models.

She also said they were designed to “track items not people”, with features such as rotating identifiers and audible alerts from unknown tags built in to protect privacy.

In addition to AirTags, Apple is also increasing the number of products containing its own in-house developed M1 chip, as the sector struggles with a global semiconductor shortage. And it announced its first significant update to the iconic iMac desktop computer in recent years.

It also showcased a new iPad Pro web tablet which comes complete with M1 chip and 5G connectivity.

Says Ru Bhikha, tech expert at Uswitch.com:

“Following a year in which the lines between home and work have become blurred, it is clear that Apple has put a lot of effort into creating an iPad that can be all things to all people.

“The updated iPad Pro, which now includes the MacBook’s M1 chip, has enough firepower to rival high-end laptops. This makes it ideal for those who require more processing power for work or gaming – and the addition of 5G for users on the go. 

“Its mini-LED display will impress movie buffs at home and those who rely on pin-sharp graphics in their working lives. This display comes at a cost, which explains why it is reserved only for the most premium model.

“The rise of the home office has also influenced Apple’s redesign of the iMac, with the popular desktop computer now coming in a range of colours with slicker and slimmer designs, smaller bezels and improvements to its visual and audio quality. 

“Newest to the Apple line are AirTags, which aim to abolish that moment of panic when you can’t find your keys or your bag. It remains to be seen how specific the accuracy can be on this type of technology. Misplacing an item is one worry but it still wouldn’t stop a thief from simply removing the tag after something has been stolen.”

The new Apple iMac desktop

Stuart Miles, Founder of Pocket-lint on the new products and the user benefits:

  • AirTags -“Apple’s decision to jump into the growing “find my category” shows that it’s keen to capitalise on our ability to lose things that are important to us. With companies like Tile and Samsung already laying the groundwork, this is likely to be a big hit for the company.”
  • iMac – “Apple has overhauled the iMac. It’s now like an iPad on a stand, with a very cool new thin design and in a throwback to the original, bright and vibrant colours. This is Apple telling us that your desktop computer no longer needs to be big, bulky, or grey, oh and that it needs to be in the centre of your room so everyone can see it.”
  • Apple TV – “Apple TV might have a new processor to let you do more things, but the exciting new feature is its new remote. Apple has fixed a lot of the complaints with the old one, making it worth the upgrade for that part alone.”
  • M1 iPad Pro – “The iPad Pro gets a huge overhaul merging the difference between the company’s tablet and computer ranges. Now with the same processor and many of the same technologies, Apple is keen to let you decide the form factor rather than the performance of how you want to work in the future.”
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Chris Price
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