A Podcasts service might join Apple One: While Apple’s spring event will be primarily a hardware event, there might be some software and service on the way, too. We’re fully expecting the general releases of iOS, iPad OS, and tvOS 14.5, macOS Big Sur 11.3, and watchOS 7.4, there might be one other piece of software on the way too: a new Podcasts service. According to Peter Kafka of Recode Media, Apple will be unveiling a new paid podcast subscription service today. The Wall Street Journal also echoed this report in its own wrap-up, adding that the service “will allow listeners to compensate hosts directly.” It would be a move in response to Spotify’s own podcast network and Facebook’s plans to create a suite of audio tools.
The new iPad Pro might be thicker: We already knew there was an iPad Pro on the way, likely with a mini LED display (at least in the larger 12.9-inch model), but that new tech might be a consequence. According to Macrumors, who received a series of photos showing the exact specs for the new iPad Pro models and the dimensions are identical with the exception of the thickness: 6.4mm vs 5.9mm. That doesn’t sound like much, but it would be the first increase in thickness since the latest Pro launched in 2018.
There might be a price hike too: When the newly redesigned iPad Pro launched in 2018, it brought a new design, stylus, and Face ID, along with a 25 percent price hike. Prices haven’t changed since—$799 for the 11-inch model and $999 for the 12.9-inch one—but a new report from Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe claims that the new model will be more expensive. The report doesn’t say how much, only that they will be “modest price increases.”
Third-gen AirPods ‘hints’: In addition to the iPad Pro, Ives also weighed in on the possibility of AirPods arriving at this event and is pretty pessimistic. He believe they will arrive “in a separate virtual launch in the early summer time frame,” according to Barrons, but said Cook may “give some hints around the new AirPods.”
A new mini and iPad also coming: Also from Ives and Backe is a report that Apple will also be unveiling a new iPad and iPad mini at the event. We’ve heard rumors about smaller bezels on these models, but it’s not clear if this release will be anything more than a spec bump.
AirTags accessories are ready to launch: This could just be a speculative guess, but MacRumors spotted several listings for AirTags keychain holders around the net, including this one from Ankishi you can buy right now at Walmart. It says it won’t arrive until May 7.
The Apple Store is down: As is customary before a big event, Apple has taken its online store down to refresh with the latest products. It will go back online when the keynote has ended, likely around 11 am PT.
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.