Apple event April 2021: iPads, AirTag and a purple iPhone

By Rishi Iyengar and Samantha Kelly, CNN Business

Updated 4:15 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021
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1:40 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Apple announces podcast subscriptions

From CNN Business' Kerry Flynn

Apple
Apple

Apple has another new subscription product: a paid service for podcasts called Apple Podcast Subscriptions. 

Among the perks of a podcast subscription will be ad-free listening, early access to new series and exclusive content. Some of the participating media brands include NPR, the Los Angeles Times and The Athletic. 

The paid service will be available in 170 regions and countries next month. Podcast creators set their own pricing. Apple's Family Sharing is enabled so that up to six family members can share a podcast subscription. 

Apple also redesigned its podcast app, including a new section called channels that will curate shows.

2:42 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Apple shows off AirTag

From CNN Business' Samantha Murphy Kelly

In what was Apple's worst kept secret in recent history, the company finally unveiled AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth locator that attaches to and helps you find items such as keys, wallets, laptops or even your car.

The small, flat, circular discs with built-in chips allow someone to locate items when connected to Apple's Find My app. It also works with Siri.

The stainless steel devices, which are water and dust resistant, feature a built-in speaker that plays sounds to help locate an AirTag. It's packed with the Apple-designed U1 chip, which uses Ultra Wideband technology -- the same chip used in the iPhone 12.

While location trackers are hardly new -- there are similar products from Samsung, Sony and Tile, the U1 chip will more accurately determine the distance and direction to a lost item.

Similar to Apple Watch, it's possible to add free engraving to the device.

You can buy an AirTag for $29 and a four pack for $99, starting April 30. Users can also splurge for leather accessories, such as key rings, luggage tags and a bag charm from Hermès.

2:24 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Apple introduces a new purple iPhone

From CNN Business' Rishi Iyengar

Among all the new product announcements was a slightly different reveal — a new color for the iPhone 12. Apple's newest smartphone is now available in purple.

The new purple iPhone 12 will be available for pre-order Friday and will go on sale April 30.

1:15 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Apple introduces new 'Apple Card Family' features

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

Apple is making changes for spouses and families who share their Apple Card credit card accounts, features it is calling "Apple Card Family," CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday.

Spouses can now merge and share their Apple Card credit lines, while having equal rights on the account and with each person building credit. For families, the company will now allow any member over the age of 13 to use the family Apple Card account.

Apple Card is an Apple-branded credit card issued by Goldman Sachs that the company launched in 2019, available only to iPhone users. It can be used as a physical card like other credit cards, as well as on Apple Pay to make contactless payments.

2:25 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Tim Cook intros Apple event with help from AR

By CNN Business' Samantha Murphy Kelly

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the Apple event from the company's Cupertino, California, campus, with a little assistance from augmented reality.

The same colorful AR swirls that were included in invitations to the event made an appearance in a short video. The animation moved about Cook and formed the word "hello.

Last week, Apple senior marketing executive Greg Joswiak added to the fodder when he tweeted a video featuring an animation of the spirals bouncing around Apple's campus. It sparked speculation that augmented reality could also be part of the company's presentation.

12:46 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

How to watch today's Apple event

The big show starts at 1pm ET/10 am PT and Apple is livestreaming it on a variety of platforms:

12:39 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

New additions could be coming for Apple services

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

Apple could announce new games for its Apple Arcade service today. Apple Arcade was launched in 2019.
Apple could announce new games for its Apple Arcade service today. Apple Arcade was launched in 2019.

Along with hardware products, Apple may also announce new offerings from the services side of its business, Forrester principal analyst Thomas Husson said in an email ahead of Tuesday's event.

That could include new games for Apple Arcade or shows on Apple TV+.

Services have become a key pillar of Apple’s strategy and significant business and profit driver," Husson said.

The new processors rumored to be coming for the Apple TV and iPad Pro would better support Arcade graphics, making the service more appealing to consumers.

Apple may also mention the new Fitness+ offerings it announced last week, which included workouts geared toward pregnant people, older adults and beginners.

Last fall, the company introduced a bundle, called Apple One, that lets users access Apple TV+, Music, Arcade and other services with a single, monthly subscription payment. Apple said in January it has more than 620 million paid subscriptions across its services.

12:11 p.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Will we see AirTags today?

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

Perhaps the buzziest product in the rumor mill is the potential debut of AirTags, Apple's long-rumored Bluetooth tracking device.

What are AirTags?

The Tile-like locator attaches to and helps you find items such as keys, wallets, laptops or even your car. AirTags have been reportedly in the works as far back as 2019, when pictures hidden within iOS 13 suggested small, flat, circular discs with built-in chips could allow someone to locate items when connected to Apple's Find My app.

The rumored cost: $39 each.

AirTags are expected to include the same U1 ultra-wideband chip as the iPhone 12, which would make location tracking more accurate than competing devices from companies such as Tile, Samsung and Sony, according to MacRumors. 

Why now?

The arrival of AirTags would allow the company to expand its offerings and lock users deeper into its ecosystem as it looks for more ways to combat an expected decline in its hardware revenues.

While accessories for an accessory might sound like a stretch, customers who are delaying costly smartphone and tablet upgrades may be willing to spend more on lower cost items. That said, it's possible AirTags could emerge as a category unto its own, much like AirPods.

Either way, it would be a smart time for their launch as customers are finally emerging from over a year of lockdown — ready, perhaps, to find things people invariably lose when outside the house.

11:26 a.m. ET, April 20, 2021

What else we could see today: Apple TV, privacy features and more

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

Here are some other updates Apple could release today:

Apple TV

Not only is the Apple TV due for a new processor and support for better refresh rates for gaming, a redesigned remote could work as a physical locator for AirTags, according to tech blog 9to5Mac.

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.

MacBooks

Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are also due for refreshes, but it's unclear if they'll get one as early as next week. Apple recently discontinued its iMac Pro line, once the most-powerful computer the company offered, and its original HomePod to focus more on the HomePod mini.

Software

Apple could also walk users through an expected iOS 14.5 software update focused on privacy. Its upcoming App Tracking Transparency feature will require app developers to explicitly divulge how they're collecting user data, what it'll be used for, and require user consent before they download or update apps from the App Store.

Also likely: new emojis, including one of a less graphic syringe amid the vaccine rollout.