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Apple has unveiled a razor-thin new iMac, a super-fast iPad Pro and AirTag tracking devices at its latest showcase event.
In a live stream from its Cupertino headquarters, the smartphone giant revealed a new iPad model that runs on its powerful M1 processor, which usually appears in iMacs and Macbooks.
It also introduced long-rumoured AirTags, Bluetooth tracking devices that can be attached to other objects and then be located via the Find My app from another Apple machine.
A new podcast subscription will add to its growing stable of paid media services. Other hardware included a new version of its Apple TV set-top box, a Siri-enabled TV remote, and a new iPhone colour, lilac purple.
Apple has benefited from a wide-sweeping boost in electronics during the pandemic. IPad sales rose 41pc in the last quarter of 2020 to $8.4bn. Apple shares have risen nearly 95pc over the last year.
Read through our past updates from the event below.
That's all, folks
Thanks for reading. We'll have more Apple news and analysis today, but with the event over, we'll leave the live blog here.
See you tomorrow from 7am!
What we didn’t see
Apple raced through the announcements today, but there was also plenty that the company was rumoured to announce that we did not see in the event.
New iPad Mini: Apple’s smallest tablet was last updated in March 2019, so it’s now been over two years since the last refresh
AirPods: A third generation of Apple’s wireless earbuds had been rumoured, and are believed to be in the works, but it looks like these might come at another time
Futuristic products: Apple is believed to be working away at an Apple Car and a set of mixed reality goggles. Although they are not expected to go on sale this year, many believe the company might announce them well before they are actually released
iOS 14.5 and anti-tracking tech. Apple revealed in the AirTags press release that the latest version of iOS, which will require users to opt in to app tracking, will be released next week. An impassioned defence of user privacy might have been expected at today’s events, but instead it was all about the new products
British prices revealed!
Here's what you'll pay in Blighty:
11-inch iPad Pro – £749
With cellular signal – £899
12.9inch iPad Pro – £999
With cellular signal – £1,199
iMac with 7-core GPU – £1,249
iMac with 8-core GPU – £1,499
Apple TV HD with new Siri Remote – £139
Siri Remote on its own – £55
iOS is now the iPad's biggest barrier
Tim Cook has now closed the event.
In video testimonials, users of the new iPad Pro testify to its speed and power, making it almost as good for some uses as a laptop. But there is a problem here: the operating system, iOS, which will continue to allow people to only run mobile apps.
With the M1 chip, we're now at the point where iOS is the main barrier to the iPad being as "outrageously powerful and capable" as Apple claims. It makes you wonder if there will ever be a way to run a wider range of software.
New iPad Pro available in late May
The new iPad Pro will be available for pre-order from April 30, and available to actually hold in the second half of May. We also have prices, at least for the US: $799 for the 11-inch new iPad Pro and $1099 for the 12.9-inch model.
Apple copies Facebook
Apple is now touting Centre Stage, a new feature in the iPad's "ultra-wide" camera that will let it autonomously pan and zoom to keep the shot focused on you as you speak to others on a call or a live stream.
As it happens, this is one of the major selling points of Facebook's Portal smart home devices, which have had a similar feature since 2018. However, being shipped in an iPad does mean that a large number of people will actually use it.
Thunderbolt in your hands
The new iPad Pro will not only have a USB-C port but also a Thunderbolt connection, meaning it can directly access various high-speed accessories such as external displays and storage media.
The new model will also support 5G if you get the version with a mobile connection.
The new iPad Pro packs the power of an iMac
Now that's interesting: the new iPad Pro will also include the M1 processor, designed for use in full-scale desktop and laptop computers.
According to Apple, that means 75 times the performance of the first iPad models, and graphics rendering 1,500pc faster (?!). It will make the new tablet a very powerful alternative for work and gaming for those who don't mind losing the flexibility of a full laptop.
(Incidentally, this news was introduced with a video showing a secret Apple agent dropping in through a rooftop to insert an M1 chip into an iPad, only to take off his mask and reveal himself as Tim Cook, age 60. Spooky!)
TouchID on your iMac
The new iMac's keyboard will have a fingerprint reader similar to the iPhone and iPad, allowing users to unlock the computer and authorise payments or password entry with a touch.
This does present the problem of transmitting a fingerprint over the notoriously insecure Bluetooth standard. So the new keyboard has a processor of its own, which communicates directly with a "secure enclave" of the main machine's M1 CPU, encrypting the transmission from end to end.
In the US, the new iMac will start at $1,299.
New Apple TV – with a redesigned remote
One of Apple’s less celebrated products is its set-top box, Apple TV. The device hasn’t been updated since 2017, costs significantly more than rival boxes and it’s much maligned remote control is easy to hold the wrong way round.
Apple has rectified at least the last of these. The key feature of its new Apple TV is a fully redesigned remote, with a touch wheel, a Siri button on the side and a power button for actually turning on your television.
However, at $179 (UK pricing should be announced soon), and almost all televisions now coming with their own streaming software, one might still ask how mass market the new device is.
A very thin iMac
Now we're seeing a new version of the iMac that uses Apple's recent M1 processor to make the screen thinner than it's ever been before. It also appears to have a headphone jack – good news to anyone with, well, headphones.
It has a 1080 HD camera for Facetime, double that of previous models, and a 24in TrueTone monitor. It also uses "computational video" (artificial intelligence) to adjust the webcam picture on the fly.
It's a long way from the chunky jelly-sweet-looking iMacs so sensually rhapsodised by Jeff Goldblum back in 1999.
AirTag in action
Here's a picture of the new AirTag:
Apple takes the fight to Tile with AirTags
As long predicted, Apple is launching AirTags: little Bluetooth-enabled devices that you can attach to your valuables to integrate them into the Find My app.
It's a direct assault on existing companies such as Tile and Chipolo that have made a cottage industry of helping people locate their lost objects.
It has the extra selling point that even Apple will not know your location or the location of your objects, which is more than rivals can boast. And the price is on par with incumbents: $29, or $99 for four (UK price pending).
This should be very scary for Tile and its ilk. Most such trackers cannot give you their location independently: that would require a GPS, and GPS trackers are much more expensive.
Rather, trackers usually depend on Bluetooth connections with passing phones. The more people use the tracker, the more likely a user is likely to pass nearby to your lost object.
Yet no matter how many people use Tile, Chipolo, Orbit or Pebblebee, is it ever going to match the number of people who carry iPhones?
Apple launches podcast subscriptions
It begins. Tim Cook kicks off the event from a beautiful sunlit forest on Apple's HQ grounds, announcing a new Apple Podcast Subscription service launching in 170 countries next month.
Apple is also allowing family members to all share one line of credit on its Apple Card credit cards – but that might only be in the US.
Apple's hammer blow to advertising could be today
There is a good chance that Apple's event today will also launch the new version of its mobile operating system, iOS – and overturn the whole app economy.
For months, app makers large and small have been preparing for the privacy crackdown that will come with iOS 14.5, making it very hard for mobile advertisers to track users across different apps and services.
That will be a win for privacy, but it will also be disruptive to companies that depend on such tracking to fund their services or find new users. Facebook is also in the crosshairs, and one estimate suggests it could use billions of dollars of revenue over this year.
The news has also set off a wave of consolidation among mobile advertising companies.
Major luxury brands use blockchain to combat counterfeits
Major luxury brands, LVMH, Prada Group and Cartier, have launched a coalition which will use the blockchain to combat counterfeits.
The Aura Blockchain Consortium announced on Tuesday plans to use technology created by Microsoft and blockchain company ConsenSys to provide consumers with proof of authenticity but also help them trace their products' origins through convoluted cross-border supply chains.
The project will provide the industry with a "single solution to address shared challenges of communicating authenticity, responsible sourcing and sustainability in a secure digital format," said the coalition in a statement.
The blockchain is a type of database which organises data in "blocks", meaning information about an item or product can be linked together in chronological order.
The consortium plans to use a version of that system to provide consumers with blocks detailing a product's history, from conception through to distribution.
The blockchain is also decentralised which, in theory, means it cannot be controlled by one person or brand and its entries are so far thought to be impossible to edit or remove.
Bulgari, Cartier, Hublot, Louis Vuitton and Prada are already active on the platform but the consortium is also inviting other luxury brands to join "no matter the sub-sector or geography they operate in."
Lorenzo Bertelli, head of Marketing and corporate social responsibility at Prada Group said: “In a trustful collaboration never seen before in our sector, we have created an exceptional and innovative project aiming to put our customers at the very centre creating major values to them through a sustainable authentication system which will unlock future possibilities.”
Counterfeits are a major problem for the luxury industry. According to research company Frontier Economics, the global trade in counterfeits, will mushroom to £700bn by 2022, almost double the level of 2013, although that estimate includes luxury goods as well as consumer products and pharmaceuticals.
Pressure on luxury brands to provide more transparency about their supply chains is also growing, especially amid concerns about products' environmental footprints and their connection to forced labour.
Facebook expects data scraping to continue, according to leaked email
Facebook expects more data scraping to take place on its platform, according to an internal memo that appears to have been sent by mistake to a Belgian journalist.
Pieterjan Van Leemputten, who works at the website Data News, received the internal "Comms update" in response to his email asking about the recent data breach which affected 530m people around the world, including 11m Britons.
The memo says more scraping is expected to take place and the company believes interest in the issue is trailing off.
The email read: "Assuming press volume continues to decline, we're not planning additional statements on this issue. Longer term, though, we expect more scraping incidents and think it's important to both frame this as a broad industry issue and normalize the fact that this activity happens regularly."
When asked about the email, a Facebook spokesperson said the company devotes "substantial resources" to combat data scraping.
Later, they added: “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that our internal documents reflect what we’ve said publicly. As LinkedIn and Clubhouse have shown, data scraping is an industry-wide challenge which we are committed to tackling and educating users about.
“We understand people's concerns, which is why we continue to strengthen our systems to make scraping from Facebook without our permission more difficult and go after the people behind it.”
Dogecoin market value almost equal to Twitter
The recent rally of cryptocurrency Dogecoin has pushed the total value of all circulating Dogecoins to around $50 billion (£35.8bn), according to data analysis group CoinMarketCap.com.
That number makes the market value of the coin, which was originally started as a joke, bigger than the market cap of Ford and almost nearly equal to Twitter, where investors including Elon Musk have spurred its rise.
Social media analysis by Cyabra found Elon Musk Tweets were able to spark a huge increase in interest for the cryptocurrency.
The company said: "A day before Musk’s [April 1st] tweet, there were several hundred profiles engaged with $Doge, the day after engagement soared over 16,000pc, with over 55K profiles joining in."
Amazon opens first hair salon in London
Amazon is expanding its portfolio of physical UK stores, opening its first hair salon in east London just weeks after opening its first UK grocery stores.
My colleague, Laura Onita, reports:
"The online retail giant's Amazon Salon is a two-floor, 1,500 sq ft site in Spitalfields in east London. It says it will use technology and augmented reality to assist with haircuts and styling.
Customers will be able to experiment with different virtual hair colours, enjoy entertainment on tablets at each styling station and take photos of their new look in a dedicated area. The services will be provided by Elena Lavagni, owner of Neville Hair & Beauty, an independent salon.
It will initially be available only to Amazon employees before opening to the general public in the coming weeks."
Read the full story here.
Apple to unveil podcast subscription service, new iPad at launch event
Apple is expected to unveil a podcast subscription service as well as tiny tags designed to locate lost items at a launch event scheduled for 6pm UK time.
The event, which is Apple's first product launch of the year, is also expected to feature new iPads and Mac laptops. The new 5G iPad Pros are expected to be the centrepiece of the new hardware unveils.
Apple has benefited from a wide-sweeping boost in electronics during the pandemic. Ipad sales rose 41pc in the last quarter of 2020 to $8.4bn. Apple shares have risen nearly 95pc over the last year.
Facebook-backed Diem plans digital currency pilot for later this year
The Swiss nonprofit overseeing the development of Facebook's digital currency project is aiming to launch a pilot this year, according to a report by CNBC.
The Diem Association is reportedly planning a small pilot which will focus on transactions between individuals. Later, there may also be an option to use the digital currency to make online purchases.
There is however no confirmed date for the launch and timing could change.
Privately-run digital currencies have sparked concern among central banks, fearing such projects could fundamentally change people's relationship with money and threaten stability.
Due to Facebook's reach - the company has 2.8bn active monthly users - the Diem project has come under intense scrutiny, causing the project to lose major backers such as Visa and Mastercard and also water down its ambitions in an effort to placate regulators.
In 2019, Facebook originally pitched the project, formerly known as Libra, as an alternative monetary system that would make it easier for digital payments to cross borders.
The latest design however would mean Facebook's digital currency is backed one-to-one by a government-backed currency, making the project more similar to existing digital payments services such as PayPal.
Facebook is not alone in its experiments with digital currencies. Earlier this year, the Telegraph reported that Amazon was also recruiting people to work on its own 'digital currency' project.
Ron Kalifa warns of complacency in UK fintech
Ron Kalifa, the author of the Treasury-commissioned review into the UK’s financial technology sector, has warned that the country cannot become complacent with its progress, writes James Cook.
Speaking at the UK FinTech Week conference, Mr Kalifa said the UK “scores very highly” for financial technology progress “simply because of the success that we’ve had but also because of the opportunity.”
However, he warned that “we can’t be complacent” and warned of threats including Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and rising global competition.
“For me, the prizes are there if we get into a position where we have our approach set up properly,” he added.
Mr Kalifa, the former head of payments processor Worldpay, also said that fintech should not be considered as a purely London sector despite two thirds of the country’s fintech start-ups being headquartered in the city.
“Fintech isn’t about London,” he said, “it’s about the national opportunity that’s there. I don’t think you should think about fintech as a London-centric activity.”
ICYMI: Elon Musk denies Autopilot was activated in fatal Tesla crash with 'no one driving'
Overnight, Elon Musk claimed that Autopilot was not enabled in a Tesla car involved in a fatal accident in which "no one" appeared to be driving.
Two men had been killed after they crashed into a tree in a Tesla electric car on Saturday in Austin, Texas.
Replying to a Twitter thread on the accident, Musk said: “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled and this car did not purchase FSD [full self driving].
“Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.”
Local police in Texas said the car, a 2019 Model S, had been travelling at high speed and had failed to navigate a turn.
Harris County precinct constable Mark Herman said authorities were "very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle". One victim had been found in the front passenger seat and the other in the back of the vehicle.
100ft phone masts could be built in national parks and beauty spots
One hundred foot phone masts are to be given the green light across Britain as the Government unveils plans to relax restrictions in national parks and beauty spots, writes Mike Wright.
Mobile companies will be allowed to erect new masts of up to 30 metres (98ft) in most areas and up to 25 metres (82ft) high in protected areas under new rules to boost 4G and 5G mobile signal coverage in rural communities.
The new limits are five metres (16ft) taller than can currently be built but shorter than the 50 metres (164ft) wanted by mobile companies, which would have allowed them to erect masts the size of Nelson’s Column.
Under the new rules, operators will also be allowed to put up smaller ‘monopole’ masts of up to 15 metres (49ft) by only notifying local councils rather than applying for full planning permission.
Writing exclusively for The Telegraph, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the new taller structures would allow telecoms companies to extend mobile coverage "by miles" while needing to install fewer new masts.
Investors brace for 'tough Covid comps' in Netflix results
Netflix is reporting its first quarter results later today, having previously said it expected to post $7.1bn in revenue for the period, and say that it added 6 million new subscribers.
Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne said investors were “bracing for the ultimate in tough Covid comps" ahead of the results.
However, he said there were things which could drive earnings higher, including “a long runway for member growth" and the ability to raise prices.
Earlier this year, UK users saw their packages go up by £2 per month after the streaming site said it needed to offset the its huge investment into new TV shows and films.
Those opting for Netflix's standard monthly package saw a £1 monthly price increase from £8.99 to £9.99, whilst those choosing its premium plan, where they can watch content from four devices and stream in Ultra HD (4K), started paying £13.99 every month, compared to £11.99 previously.
Netflix said it the rise reflected the "significant investments we've made in new TV shows and films, as well as improvements to our product".
Britons behind world's most accurate rapid Covid test raise $50m
A British start-up behind what looks set to be the world's most accurate rapid Covid-19 test has raised $50m (£35.7m) in fresh cash as it prepares to help cope with a third wave of the virus.
As the Telegraph reports exclusively this morning:
Cambridge-based Sense Biodetection said it had raised the cash to accelerate the launch of its tests, which is expected to come before the autumn.
The disposable tests claim to combine the ease of the rapid lateral flow tests, which give Covid-19 test results within minutes, with the accuracy of the PCR tests, which are sent away to labs for verification.
Sense boss Harry Lamble said the company had a "six-year head start on others that have jumped on a Covid bandwagon".
It comes amid concerns over the accuracy of faster lateral flow tests,, which give Covid-19 test results within minutes. PCR tests, meanwhile, are sent away to labs for verification. The Guardian last week published leaked emails between officials which suggested there had been a high rate of false positives.
Downing Street later responded by saying the tests had been "rigorously evaluated, and we believe that they are both accurate and incredibly useful in terms of being able to spot asymptomatic cases of the virus".
YouTube stops James Charles from monetising feed
YouTube has temporarily stopped James Charles from being able to monetise his video channel after he admitted to sending sexually-explicit messages to 16-year-old boys.
YouTube told the BBC that it had removed Charles from its partnership program, where he could monetise his video feed.
"If we see that a creator's on- and/or off-platform behaviour harms our users, community, employees or ecosystem, we may take action to protect the community," the spokesman said.
The decision comes after Charles admitted that he had sent messages to two 16-year-old boys in a video posted on YouTube earlier this month.
In the video, Charles said: "I fully understand my actions and how they are wrong."
Allegations had previously been made against Charles on social media, which he had denied.
In the video posted at the start of the month, Charles had said there were two incidents where he had messaged people who were underage. "These conversations should have never happened," Charles said.
Last week, beauty company Morphe announced that it had agreed with Charles to "end our business relationship" in light of the recent allegations, and wind down sales of his product range.
Cazoo bolsters board as it readies for blockbuster listing
Online car dealership Cazoo has added another major figure to its board ahead of its £5bn US listing, hiring the founder of genetic testing company 23andMe.
Cazoo said Anne Wojcicki will be joining its board as a non-executive director after it is acquired by a US Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, run by US billionaire Dan Och. The move, which will take Cazoo public, will value Cazoo founder Alex Chesterman's stake at around £1.3bn.
Chesterman is a serial entrepreneur, best known for having co-founded LoveFilm in the early 2000s and Zoopla in 2008.
Cazoo has taken less than two years since its launch to hit a valuation of just over £5bn. This year, revenues at the online car dealership are up 300pc year-on-year and sales are expected to top £720m.
Cazoo had turned down an opportunity to go public in the UK and opted for a US listing as a “high growth digital business”, Chesterman said.
“We’ve explored numerous options, from listing in the UK, to a US direct listing to the SPAC process.
Dogecoin surges as DogeDay gets underway
Dogecoin has jumped by more than a fifth over the past 24 hours, as online traders aim to send the digital token to record highs on a day they are calling "DogeDay".
The price of the cryptocurrency, which had initially started as a joke, hit 0.42 cents early on Tuesday, according to data from CoinDesk.
Internet traders have chosen April 20, a day dedicated to smoking marijuana, to be "DogeDay" and have been pushing to get Dogecoin to record highs, hoping to send it as high as $1.
Among the advocates of Dogecoin is Elon Musk, who in February propelled a 25pc surge in the price of the currency by tweeting about it.
Antoni Trenchev, the co-founder of crypto-lending firm Nexo said there was a "tribe of investors, many of them Millennials, who see it as a cause, a movement. Dogecoin is symptomatic of the zeitgeist happening before our very eyes.”
Other more mainstream cryptocurrencies have struggled in recent days, including Bitcoin which is down 4.5pc in the past 24 hours.
Five things to start your day
1) There's one thing Mark Zuckerberg can't copy Facebook is continuing its long pattern of adopting features from rivals, but there may be one defence against its spree
2) Britons behind world's most accurate rapid Covid test raise $50m Sense Biodetection said it expected Covid-19 to be around for the 'long-term' and could be managed using its tests
3) Elon Musk denies Autopilot was activated in fatal Tesla crash with 'no one driving' Police in Texas say it appears no one was controlling the car that went off the road and burst into flames, killing two people
4) Why online therapy is the future - and how to make it work for you Never has mental health been more important, yet in-person support has been tricky to access. Could the move to online sessions be the key?
5) 100ft phone masts could be built in national parks and beauty spots Mobile companies will be allowed to erect new masts of up to 25 metres (82ft) high in protected areas under new rules to boost 4G and 5G coverage
Coming up today
Apple expected to unveil new iPads and Macs at event and Netflix to release financial results