Apple confirms April 20th launch event, new iPads and Macs expected

This might be Apple's last online-only launch.

Chris Velazco/Engadget

Mark your calendars, friends: Apple has just sent out invitations for a launch event on April 20th at 10:00 AM Pacific/1:00 PM Eastern, just like Siri suggested it would earlier this morning. And as usual, Apple couldn’t seem to help itself: the invitation’s tagline refers to the event as “Spring Loaded,” which may be a subtle reference to the many products the company is expected to unveil next week. The timing is right for Apple to reveal a set of new iPad Pros at the very least, and persistent rumors argue that new Apple Silicon Macs, AirPods, and possibly even those long-awaited AirTags trackers could claim their share of the limelight soon.

Word of Apple's latest launch follows yet another high-profile event announcement — the company confirmed earlier this month that its Worldwide Developer Conference, which runs from June 7-11 would be fully virtual for the second year in a row. And beyond that, today's news puts to rest months of speculation about when Apple's next big event would actually take place. For a while, prognosticators had pegged March 16th as the most likely date, when that first prediction didn't pan out, attention shifted to March 23rd and finally April 6th. Now that we know when the event is happening, we can focus more closely on what Apple plans to announce.

Apple April 20 event

Arguably the biggest changes the company has in store are for your desk. Even though Apple pushed out new iMacs with 10th-generation Intel processors last summer, all signs point to a spiffy redesign for 2021 inspired by the and the pricey Pro Display XDR monitor, paired with more powerful versions of the Apple Silicon chipsets we first saw in Macbook Airs and Pros in 2020.

Speaking of spec bumps, that's mostly what we're expecting from the 2021 iPad Pro. Current rumors suggest that Apple hasn't tweaked the physical design of its most premium tablets — instead, the company has reportedly focused on including an upgraded A14X chipset and a new mini-LED display that offers increased brightness, deeper blacks, and improved contrast ratios. And as part of a push to make its pro-grade tablets more "pro," Apple may have also kitted them out with 5G radios (to match last year's popular iPhone 12 series) and a Thunderbolt USB-C port for better accessory compatibility and data transfer speeds.

Meanwhile, the iPad mini — a tablet that has basically looked the same since 2012 — finally seems to be getting a makeover that includes a larger display. (The preponderance of rumors and analyst reports peg that display being somewhere in the 8-inch range, though there's no consensus on an exact size.) It's also possible Apple will announce an updated version of its 10.2-inch, no-frills iPad, but the fact that it refreshed that model less than a year ago means we're still skeptical going into this event.

There might be more we're missing here — like, say, a new iPhone SE — but the evidence for them appearing so early in the year doesn't seem all that convincing. That said, who doesn't love a surprise announcement? Thankfully, we won't have much longer to wait before Apple shows its hand in full — consider that a reminder to stay tuned for our live event coverage.