What is Tim Cook going to wow us with at the Apple Spring 2021 event? Will it be new iPads? Or maybe new AirPods? An Apple silicon iMac? All are possible and most may even be likely but what about something completely different? Is there a hint in the logo or the title for the event?
It is a graphic that could have been produced on an iPad with an Apple Pencil, featuring a smooth gradient and a smooth change of width. We may take that to mean it references iPad updates. Given the recent rumored leaked images of a new iPad Pro a lot of people seem to think that is expected. But the iPad Pro was just updated last March, at this point we’re more than 100 days less than it’s historic refresh cycle. Is there a compelling reason for Apple to refresh it? Even if they do it might be specification changes rather than something dramatic. More power is always good but would that be enough to get you to spring for one?
Could the smooth curves indicate a new input tool? The Pencil is great but what about a brush that gives a realistic feel for painting? The bristles could individually measure pressure and angle. A new creative app that accurately simulates how different types of paint interact with different mediums would be a nice showcase for the power of the iPad. Would you be excited to load up your Apple Brush with digital paint?
Maybe there is room for innovation with the Pencil itself. A Touch Bar along the side for quickly changing tools and colors might be possible. The Watch already handles quickly switching the display on and off based on movement. Moving the pencil to a horizontal position could show the options, which would be configurable by the app in use just like the MacBook Pro Touch Bar. Once your selection is made the Touch Bar would fade back out until you needed it again.
To me the highly-stylized Apple logo on the invite is a spring itself. Could it be a literal reference to something that has a spring? Some eyeglasses have bows with springs so it could be a nod toward Apple Glasses for Augmented Reality. But the spring in the bow isn’t a defining character of glasses and isn’t even present in all pairs. Some sneakers have springs in them to provide a more comfortable walk or run and relieve pain. The Fitness app on the iPhone already estimates and tracks aspects of your gait if you wear your phone near your waist when exercising. I can imagine a smart sneaker with springs and sensors that could provide haptic feedback to correct your gait and warn of impending injury. But getting into clothing, especially something with the sizing requirements of shoes, seems an unlikely move for Apple.
What about “spring-loaded”? Something that it is held in place by the elastic tension of a spring. An auto-opening and closing MacBook lid? People seem to like this for the tail gates of their cars but it doesn’t seem like a feature that would inspire people. Again this makes me think of something to do with fitness like a collection of HealthKit-enabled exercise equipment. But it is hard to see Apple introducing something that isn’t fundamentally a computer. Apple seems to prefer third parties to develop the devices that leverage APIs like HealthKit instead of building those devices themselves.
Maybe “Spring Loaded” doesn’t hint at anything. Maybe it is just a cute name for an event that happens in the Spring. Apple is first and foremost a computer company. They also make a lot of software, but almost all of it is made to run on their own devices. Selling the whole widget has worked out well for the company for many years and I don’t see it changing fundamentally. All of the memorable big releases from Apple have been computers in new forms. The iPod was a computer. The iPhone and iPad are computers. The Watch is a computer. At this point it seems like they have most of the possible form factors covered. There is still room for AR glasses but I don’t think the technology is there yet. We’ll all find out soon enough. What idea for a product from Apple do you have?
I’ve got it! iPogo Stick!