Here are the updates that didn’t make it in Apple’s livestream yesterday
Apple crammed quite a few announcements into a short, one-hour presentation yesterday: new iPad Pros, new iMacs, a new Apple TV 4K, and the long-rumored launch of AirTags, to name a few. But for everything Apple executives and product managers said onstage, there was something else that didn’t get mentioned (or got passed over quickly, perhaps).
Many of these smaller details were hidden on product, specs, or support pages after Apple updated its website with the event’s new products. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the things that changed on Apple’s website, but we’re picking some of the most interesting ones.
Let’s start with OS updates.
New OS updates hit next week
Apple seeded the release candidate (RC) versions of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, tvOS 14.5, macOS Big Sur 11.3, and watchOS 7.4 to app developers yesterday, signaling that these operating system updates are mere days away from launch. The time between the release candidate and the final public release has varied from update to update, but it has almost always been rapid—as quick as a single day, sometimes.
Apple also specifically stated that tvOS 14.5 will hit next week, and Apple usually pushes out software updates to multiple operating systems at roughly the same time.
We’ll drill down into the various features and bug fixes in these updates when they arrive, but it’s safe to say that what’s attracted the most attention is Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency change, which will require apps to ask users for permission to track them across multiple apps.
The Intel 21.5-inch iMac isn’t going anywhere (yet)
When Apple released the first M1 Macs late last year, legacy Intel versions of the Macs continued to coexist alongside their new Apple Silicon cousins, usually in the top-end configurations. That at least partially stayed true with the introduction of M1 24-inch iMacs yesterday: both the 27-inch and the 21.5-inch iMacs with Intel CPUs are still available to buy in Apple’s online store.
The 27-inch model is business as usual. It’s a similar case to those late 2020 M1 Macs; Apple sees the M1 as an entry-level chip, and the beefier, more feature-laden high-end versions of the Macs that got M1 variants last year are still in the store with Intel CPUs.
The 27-inch iMac is still available as before, carrying the high-end flag for that product line until an inevitable Apple Silicon refresh hits the more expensive part of the lineup.
More surprising, though, is that there’s still a 21.5-inch Intel iMac for sale, though it’s buried deep in the purchase page for the 27-inch iMac, oddly enough. This surviving configuration has a 2.3 GHz, dual-core, seventh-gen Intel Core i5 CPU, either 8GB or 16GB of 2133 MHz DDR4 memory, and either 256GB of SSD storage or 1TB of Fusion Drive storage.
It costs $1,099 at entry-level or $1,299 with the 16GB RAM option. It has the same design as the old 21.5-inch iMac, with none of the radical changes we saw in the newly introduced 24-inch model.
The Mac mini gets better Ethernet
When the M1 Mac mini launched, some would-be buyers complained that it didn’t offer the 10 gigabit Ethernet option available in Intel Mac mini models. Apple has now addressed this by adding the same upgrade option to the M1 Mac mini. It costs $100 over the M1 Mac mini’s $699 base starting price from Apple’s online store.
A kaleidoscope of accessories
After Apple’s event, it came to light that the new Magic Keyboard peripheral that comes in multiple color options with Touch ID works with Macs other than the 24-inch iMac it’s sold with. But don’t get too excited if you’re an existing Mac user who likes Touch ID: the keyboard is, at least at the moment, only sold with the new iMac. That might change in the future—we’ll have to wait and see.
Apple didn’t go into detail about this during the presentation, but there are a variety of new colors for the Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Keyboard. They all match the new iMac colors, and they’re all only available as bundles with new iMacs at present. Even the 24-inch iMac’s braided power cord is color-coded.
iMacs and Magic Keyboards aren’t the only things available with new colors and customization options. Apple added two new iPad Smart Folio and Smart Cover colors: “Mallard Green” and “Electric Orange.” The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro is available in white now, too.
The store has also been updated with new Apple Watch bands. They include the new Hermes Jumping Single Tour style in various colors, and there are new colors for existing band styles, too, including the Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop, Leather Loop, and Sport band. You can visit the Apple Watch website to see the full list of colors available.