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Let Loose – is it just WWDC coming early?

I have a thought – bear with me…

Let Loose Apple event

Let Loose – Apple’s first event of 2024 is a touch over 2024 hours away and soon we’ll find out exactly what Apple meant by this being a ‘different’ kind of event.

As ever there has been all kinds of speculation leading up to the event and indeed what the name Let Loose implies.

Now what’s to follow may just be the Bank Holiday ramblings of a madman – but I thought I’d jot them down and see what ya think.

Let Loose – why now?

I’m pretty sure Apple wouldn’t have ideally scripted to have this iPad event so close to WWDC. By the time the iPads are in our hands, we may be only 2 or three weeks away from the annual developer conference which this year runs from 10th June.

You’d have thought that in an ideal world, Apple would have loved to hold the Let Loose event at least a month or so earlier. Maybe the wheels came off the wagon and in the background, something went wrong. Possibly either the supply chain broke down, the Apple silicon they wanted to use wasn’t developed enough or there were software issues – or even a combination of all those factors came into play.

All we know is that we are about to be crammed with Apple events having had pretty much nothing so far this year. There had been rumours of a mad March in which we’d heard we may get Mac minis, MacBook Airs and iPads. As we now know all we ended up with were the updated M3 MacBook Airs and that was only via a press release from Apple’s newsroom.

So whatever Apple has in mind for Let Loose they clearly think it’s enough to go to the hassle of recording a video event. That makes you think that something special is brewing.

Jam packed

I’m expecting tomorrow’s Let Loose event to be pretty snappy – a tight and tidy 40 to 50-minute show.

Unless the rumour-mongers have been way off the mark we’re expecting to get two new iPad Airs, two new iPad Pros, a new Apple Pencil and an improved Magic Keyboard for the Pros. Some more wild rumours have even run to a new HomePod and Apple TV being shown off at the event too…

The iPad has been left out in the cold since October 2022 when we got the 10th Gen iPad. That has seen iPad sales falter and slow – the demand is there for something new and Apple knows they have to deliver. I’m not saying it’s now or never for iPad but if they don’t nail it at Let Loose tomorrow the knives will be quick to be drawn.

It would seem there is now a very high likelihood that the new iPad Pros may not only be getting LTPO power-efficient OLED displays but also the first devices to run M4 Apple silicon.

Again – why and as importantly why now?

What have they got up their sleeves?

As much as Apple’s hand may have been forced into holding these events closer together than they’d have liked – rarely do they make a mistake.

The driver behind tomorrow’s event will be to spike sales in the iPad division and to do that they’ll need to create intrigue and curiosity. New hardware will only go so far – the magic will be in what that shiny new hardware can do. What software magic is it packing?

Tim Cook has repeatedly gone on record this year saying that big AI waves are coming to Apple devices through 2024. With that in mind, WWDC would seem the obvious event to begin to go through the weeds and let us know exactly what their vision is for AI and how it will interact with our Apple devices.

There will be a lot to go through and WWDC could very easily run to a 2 or even a three-hour event. With so much to go through it would be easy for some details to get lost – which is where my mad ramblings come into play.

The changes coming to iPad look huge and would have taken up too much stage time at the June event. With the iPad category in need of such a massive shot in the arm, it needs its moment in the spotlight – and that moment comes tomorrow.

A mini WWDC

In other years the iPad reveal could easily have happened at the back end of WWDC – but this year there is simply too much to unpack.

So how about some of WWDC comes to Let Loose? I think it holds some water for many reasons. I mentioned that Apple will need to create some intrigue in an M4 iPad. To have released a powerful new iPad tomorrow and then lamely say you’ll have to wait until WWDC or even worse iPadOS 18’s release this fall would’ve been suicide.

Instead, Apple now has the option to free up some much-needed stage time at next month’s event and shift the focus heavily to the new M4-powered iPad. My guess is we may get some clever software teasers tomorrow – AI integration to say Notes or Numbers or even a glimpse into AI photo editing in the Photos app. With Photos in mind possibly the new Apple Pencil will be the only way to unlock those new features – which means a double win for Apple.

I love it when a plan comes together…

The new features we might see tomorrow will only scratch the surface – there will be plenty more to come a month later but it will be just enough to raise interest in iPad, M4 and AI on Apple devices. Any new features that may be announced will be locked to M4 silicon and the newest iPads – an obvious and very Apple’esque marketing trick.

An iPad in the hand

Importantly Apple needed to have devices out in the wild that we can lay our hands on to witness first-hand how these features work – but it runs even deeper than that.

Being our first taste of M4 Apple silicon it hopefully has a trickle-down effect of leaving us wanting to know how good M4 will be in Macs later this year and of course with the A18 chip in this year’s iPhone 16.

Although iPhone sales have been flat this year, iPhone pretty much takes care of itself. The majority of iPhone users are not Apple nerds like us – they simply want to use an iPhone. The September event will focus on what the iPhone 16 can do and the headlines will follow.

That will also give Apple time to let iPad shine by itself before Macs and iPhones come along to steal its thunder.

In my head, at least all of this makes sense and makes the best use of the stage time available at both upcoming events.

Assuming we get these exciting, powerful, feature-packed iPad Pros at Let Loose tomorrow, I’ll place my pre-order before the event ends. Then if we get them in-store by this weekend I’ll be queuing up outside of Apple Battersea waiting to get my hands on one.

Having never owned or used an iPad Pro I don’t know what to expect or indeed what my expectations are. All I know is that it’s going to be an expensive week ahead but one I’m really looking forward to.

If there is any particular area of the iPad Pro you’d like me to focus on or look into let me know and I’ll do my best to help out.

One thing is for sure – Let Loose cannot come soon enough…

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