The Apple Spring Loaded event ended after a raft of major product announcements, from the iPad Pro 2021 and its mini-LED display to the Apple AirTag tracker and the slim, M1-packing iMac 2021. But there were also some notable omissions: Apple devices that have been rumored for months, if not specifically tipped for this event, yet didn’t show.
While not all of them are likely to launch soon, here are the 5 biggest potential Apple products that we’re still waiting on.
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Whether it’s a new pair of true wireless earbuds in the AirPods 3 or the rumored iPad mini 6, these are the products to watch out for now that the Spring Loaded event has unwinded.
Leading up the Apple event it felt like the AirPods 3 had a 50-50 chance of appearing. Multiple reports suggested the AirPods 3 wouldn’t even be ready for mass production until the second half of the year, though with a handful of design leaks filtering through as well, Apple’s next wireless earbuds could have made a surprise showing even if it was just a teaser.
For now, we’ll have to wait a little longer, though we still have a better idea of how the AirPods 3 will turn out than some of Apple’s other rumored products. It’s set to copy the design and potentially some features of the AirPods Pro, so expect shorter stems and perhaps spatial audio support — even if more premium extras like active noise cancellation looks unlikely.
iPad mini 6
At times the iPad mini can feel like the forgotten child of Apple's tablet lineup. And the Apple Spring Event hammered that home for me. A suite of leaks and rumors has suggested we’d see the iPad mini 6 with a micro-LED display and a design reminiscent of the iPad Pro and iPad Air, both with much narrower display bezels. Instead, we got an upgraded iPad Pro and nothing more.
As such, I’ve gone from being hopeful about an iPad mini redesign to thinking that it might be the end of the line for the compact tablet. That’ll be a shame, as even in the era of big screen smartphones, the iPad mini is a killer pocketable note-taking, media and gaming device. However, if Apple plans to replace the iPad mini with a foldable device, say the iPhone Flip, to deliver a smaller tablet experience, then I’ll shelf my ire at Cupertino’s shunning of the iPad mini 6.
Apple M1X chip
Rumors have been bubbling around about an upgraded Apple M1 chip for future Mac machines. The so-called Apple M1X chip is tipped to be the slice of in-house silicon from Cupertino that would power the iMac 2021. But it turns out Apple’s refreshed all-in-one computer uses the existing M1 chip, likely offering more performance thanks to more space for cooling.
However, this is a little disappointing as we’d hoped the M1X would see Apple take the impressive performance it delivered from the M1 and give it a further boost in CPU and graphics power. No M1X chip yet means we could expect to see it make its debut in refreshed or redesigned MacBooks later this year.
Apple refreshed the standard iPad in 2019 giving it a 10.2-inch display upgrade from 9.7 inches basically turning it into an iPad Air from 2019. Then in 2020 the standard iPad got a minor specs boost. However, it’s still sporting a design that’s rather dated, with large bezels and the Home button, while the iPad Air had a much sleeker makeover. A tenuous hint or two had suggested we could see an iPad refresh revealed at the Apple event, following in the footsteps of the new iPad Pro. But that didn’t happen.
If and when a new entry-level iPad arrives, we're hoping for a much sleeker design, Touch ID integrated into the power button and an improved display.
Apple Pencil 3
With the debut of a new iPad Pro, we’d not have been surprised to see a third-generation Apple Pencil. Sadly the Apple Pencil 3 was nowhere to be seen. The second-gen Apple pencil was a marked upgrade over the first-gen one, but the third could have added a few extra upgrades and color options.
Given Apple boosted the power of the iPad Pro with the M1 chip, a new Pencil could have been tweaked to enable more smart options, as well as improved sensitivity and responsiveness. The return of the original Apple Pencil’s glossy finish was also tipped for the Apple Pencil 3, but it’s looking like we’ll have to wait for that. But here are some of the best Apple Pencil alternatives in the meantime.
MacBook Pro 14-inch
Chatter around a 14-inch MacBook Pro has been gathering pace of late, to the extent we thought we could see one pop up at Apple’s event. But if the MacBook Pro 14-inch is indeed in the works, it likely won't be ready for at least a few more months.
What we’d been hoping to see was a MacBook Pro with a fresh design that pops a 14-inch Retina display into a slim and light chassis. We’d also hoped to see a possible mini-LED display and an improved M1 chip. We’d expect to see the MacBook Pro 14-inch launch at the same time Apple takes the covers of the M1X, likely using the laptop as the flagship machine for the next-gen slice of Apple Silicon.