The invitations for the virtual press conference sent to reporters last week included an image of colorful spirals that form the Apple logo — a picture potentially made to look as if it had been produced by an Apple Pencil, a clue hinting at updates to its iPad line.
The display is expected to increase brightness, offer a higher contrast ratio, improve power efficiencies for a longer battery life but be slightly thicker than current versions. It’s possible Apple will also show off a redesigned iPad mini with smaller bezels and a larger display. But it’s unclear if any of these updates will be enough to convince users to upgrade.
Eleftheria Kouri, an analyst at tech market advisory firm ABI Research, said tablet shipments significantly increased in 2020, thanks in part to remote learning and working. But that uptick won’t last forever. “Tablet vendors, including Apple, need to introduce a really game changing technological feature in order to boost sales and encourage consumers to replace their old devices: 5G connectivity is one of these key features,” she said.
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And then there’s AirPods 3. The next-generation of Apple’s wireless earbuds are believed to have a design more in line with its higher-end AirPods Pro, along with spatial audio support and touch controls. AirPods have cultivated a cult-like following over the years and emerged as a fashion and status symbol, but it’s possible Apple could wait until later this year to show off a new model.
Still, all eyes will be on the lookout for new gadgets on Tuesday. “Despite the disruptions in the production line, crisis in the semiconductor industry and economic uncertainty that was caused by pandemic, demand for consumer products generally remained resilient,” said Kouri.
ABI Research expects demand for certain products, such as true wireless earbuds and 5G devices, will see explosive growth the coming years, but tech companies like Apple will first have to provide enough incentive for consumers to spend their dollars.
Apple’s event kicks off at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT on its website, YouTube and Apple TV.