Perspective | Its a Spring Loaded Apple event. Were expecting pricey new iPads.

Like all of last years Apple product events, this one will be prerecorded and streamed from the companys website, rather than a theater full of journalists with pesky questions.

Whats on the agenda? Apple doesnt share plans in advance, but were not expecting this to be anything close to its fall dog and pony shows that bring new flagship devices. But analysts and Cupertino Kremlinologists are pretty sure well see new iPads particularly the most expensive ones.

The $800 and up iPad Pro line, last refreshed a year ago with a new $300 keyboard case, is the fastest and largest of the iPad family, available in full-screen 11- and 12.9-inch versions. Apple has touted the Pro as being as powerful as a laptop, although mine still hasnt reached laptop-replacement status just yet.

But iPads had a big run during the pandemic. Working and attending school from home helped drive year-over-year sales growth of more than 40 percent in recent quarters, according to analysts at Wedbush Securities. They also estimate about 40 percent of iPad owners have upgraded in the last year, suggesting there could be some pent-up demand left.

But the new iPad Pro will probably have a faster processor, called the A14X, to let the tablet handle intensive apps required for work and creative tasks. There could also be a new kind of screen technology called mini-LED, also used in some high-end TVs, that promises better color and contrast. But will most people be able to tell a difference? Apple already touted last years liquid retina screens as gorgeous and immersive.

And maybe you dont need the most-expensive iPad for Netflix streaming, Zoom calls or doing schoolwork. Fingers crossed Apple could also update its standard and mini iPads, priced $330 and up.

Also potentially on the docket Tuesday: The long-awaited debut of an Apple system for finding lost items, called AirTags. Like a similar Bluetooth-tracking device called Tile, AirTags are likely to be little wireless doodads you attach to your keys or luggage that communicate with nearby iPhones so you can locate them with Apples Find My app.

And finally, Apple is still in the middle of a two-year plan to change the chips that do the processing on all its Mac computers. It did that with MacBook Air and Pro computers late last year. Could the iMac desktop be next?

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