The 5 biggest surprises from Apple's Spring Loaded event

After weeks of rumours, Apple has finally revealed its first new products of 2021 via a virtual event. And this was a big one for creatives, with huge updates to the iMac and iPad and more.

Many of today's announcements had already been thoroughly leaked, from the Tile-esque AirTags tracking device to the addition of an OLED display to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But there were still a few surprises in store – ranging from the random to the remarkable. Here's everything we weren't expecting. (In the market for new kit? Check out our best Apple deals.)

01. THAT new iMac design

2021 iMac

We need this now (Image credit: Apple)

Okay, we knew the iMac was in line for a redesign (it was last updated in 2012), and we'd even heard tell that a bunch of new colours were coming. But we weren't expecting it to look this good.

With a super-thin 11.5mm profile that "practically disappears when you view it from the side" and seven stunning colour options available (orange for us, please), Apple's all-in-one has finally been dragged into this decade, design-wise. The much-reduced bezels around the display are hugely welcome, and at least the 'chin' is now colourful (and, surprisingly, it doesn't feature an Apple logo). 

02. The iPad Pro gets an ACTUAL M1 chip

While it's no surprise that the iPad Pro has been given some serious performance upgrades, we weren't expecting it to get the actual M1 chip which was, until now, seemingly reserved for the Mac line up. (Check out the best M1 Mac deals available now.)

Offering mind-blowing performance (15,000x faster graphics than 2010's original iPad, Apple says), the M1 iPad Pro could be real game-changer for tablet-toting creatives. Apple calls it "the fastest device of its kind", and having seen the M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air in action, we're sure that's true. Which, considering our concerns that the iPad Air had made the iPad Pro irrelevant, is a very good thing.

03. A new, purple iPhone 12

iPhone 12 purple

Did Apple forget to announce this last year? (Image credit: Apple)

Okay, then. Not sure why this wasn't announced with the rest of the iPhone 12 line up last year, but sure, nice. It's purple.

04. Apple TV FINALLY gets an update

Apple TV

The new Apple TV and Siri Remote (Image credit: Apple)

If there's one Apple product that looked doomed to be forgotten, it's the Apple TV. Last refreshed in 2017, the Apple TV 4K had languished without an update for years – until now. It isn't a major update, but with high frame-rate HDR (offering twice the refresh rate) and now Dolby Vision, video on the Apple TV 4K should look better than ever. 

But perhaps the most welcome change here is the update to the Apple TV's Siri Remote. One of the less popular Apple designs, the tiny Siri remote wasn't exactly ergonomic. This new design "fits perfectly in the hand", and features a new outer ring for fast-forwarding and rewinding.

05. A new, white Magic Keyboard

White Magic Keyboard

It's white (Image credit: Apple)

Okay, then. Not sure why this wasn't announced with the black Magic Keyboard last year, but sure, nice. It's white.

You can watch the whole Spring Loaded event on Apple's website, and you'll find today's best iPad and M1 Mac deals below. 

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.