Whatever you do, don’t buy an iPad or iMac this weekend

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If you were thinking of visiting your local Apple Store this weekend to treat yourself to a shiny new iPad Pro or iMac — you should probably put your credit card back in your pocket. At least for the next few weeks, that is.

In case you haven’t heard, Apple held its first hardware event of the year on April 20. Teased with the tagline ‘Spring Loaded’, the Californian company certainly delivered a packed keynote, with a new colour for the iPhone 12 and 12 mini, AirTag trackers to keep tabs on your keys and bag in the Find My app on your iPhone, a redesigned Podcasts app and subscription service to support your favourite creators, and a more powerful iPad Pro with an upgraded display and a ground-up redesign for the iMac with Apple’s custom-designed chip.

The new iPad Pro and iMac replace the previous entries in their respective series, so if you were to buy an iPad or iMac this weekend, chances are, you’d be getting one of the last models off the production line before the shinier new gadgets arrive.

And that’s why it’s really not a good idea to buy one this weekend.

Not only will the tablet or desktop computer you buy immediately lose a sizable chunk of its resale value as it becomes last year’s model, but it will also be much slower (and less colourful) than the new model that replaces it — and costs the same.

For the new iPad Pro, which arrives in the same 11- and 12.9-inch models as before, Apple is now including its custom-designed M1 system-on-a-chip. That’s the same silicon found in the latest MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and as of the ‘Spring Loaded’ event this month, the new iMac too. The iPad Pro has always been a mightily powerful tablet, but the fact that it now has the same amount of grunt as most MacBooks unlocks huge new potential.

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As well as its speedier guts, the upgraded iPad Pro also boasts an ultra-wide front-facing camera. When you’re making a video call, iPadOS will intelligently shift between the wide- and ultra-wide cameras to keep you in-frame — even as you’re rushing around the kitchen to make dinner while taking part in the bi-monthly family quiz on Zoom.

If you’re interested in buying the larger 12.9-inch model, Apple has fitted a new Liquid Retina XDR Display. Marketing bumf aside, this is a mini-LED display, which means it has performance that’s much closer to what you’d expect from a pricey OLED panel than the LCD screen that it replaces. HDR content will be much brighter when viewed on the new screen, while blacks should look comparatively cavernous.

Unfortunately, the iPad Pro 11-inch is lumbered with the same LCD display as last year, but it still enjoys the beefier specs and new front-facing camera tricks.

And when it comes to the iMac, Apple has gone all-out. The company has completely redesigned the all-in-one desktop computer. It now looks much closer to the squared-off design of the iPad Pro or the Pro Display XDR that Apple launched alongside the Mac Pro.

The borders around the screen are now white instead of black, which looks visually striking on the desk, but might make watching videos less immersive on the iMac. Thankfully, those borders are much thinner than the previous model, enabling Apple to squeeze a bigger 24-inch display into roughly the same footprint as the 21.5-inch model.

Of course, the biggest change with the new iMac design is the return of some colour. Yes, the all-in-one desktop computer that revolutionised the industry back in the late 90s with its see-through shell and vibrant colours is going back to its roots after more than a decade of polished aluminium seriousness. The entry-level model ships in four colours (Blue, Green, Pink, Silver) while the slightly more expensive variant is available in the full suite of seven colours (Blue, Green, Pink, Silver, Yellow, Orange, Purple).

All of the new iMac models land with colour-matched wireless keyboards. You’ll also have a choice of a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad of the same shade to complete the look too.

If you opt to upgrade from the entry-level model, the wireless keyboard included with the iMac will include a Touch ID fingerprint scanner too. These have been commonplace on MacBooks for some time, but this is the first time we’ve seen the biometric sensor make the jump to Apple’s desktop machines. Pressing your fingertip on the scanner will unlock the machine —no password needed— and it can also be used to authenticate Apple Pay transactions when shopping online and logging in to secure apps, like password managers.

If you’re only looking for the entry-level, you’ll be able to pay extra at checkout to upgrade to a Touch ID-compatible keyboard and an ethernet port in the charging block (to avoid dealing with the hassle of dongles on your desk for a wired connection). Both of these are standard with the upgraded model, which works out slightly better if you want both.

Both the new iPad Pro and iMac are available to pre-order Friday April 30, 2021 from the Apple Store online and iOS app. Both new gadgets are expected “in the second half of May,” Apple says, although we’ll hopefully have a more concrete date when pre-orders start.

iMac starts from £1,249, while an upgrade to the eight-core model with Touch ID accessories and four USB-C ports starts from £1,499. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro starts from £749 for an 11-inch model. Keeping the same screen size, but adding 5G compatibility will cost £899. And if you want the 12.9-inch model (with the Liquid Retina XDR Display), that’ll set you back £999 for a Wi-Fi variant and £1,149 for Wi-Fi and 5G.

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