Why every Apple fan should get excited about ‘Let Loose’ event [Updated]


Why every Apple fan should get excited about ‘Let Loose’ event
Apple's product launch event might be about more than iPad.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Gorgeous new iPad Pro and iPad Air models are expected to be the highlights of Apple’s “Let Loose” product event on May 7. Tablet accessories are on the agenda, too.

But there also could be big news for those who don’t use an iPad. Apple might surprise us with the M4 processor, a first glimpse at upcoming AI features, and maybe even a Mac Studio upgrade. Plus more.

What to expect at the Apple Let Loose event on May 7

While Apple’s invitation to the May 7 event doesn’t use the word “iPad,” details of new tablets have been leaking out for months. And there’s an Apple Pencil front and center on the invite, and that accessory only works with iPad (at least for now).

So it’s not hard to guess what’s going to be announced first. But there might be much more.

Table of contents: What to expect at Apple’s Let Loose event

OLED iPad Pro

Many leaks point to a 2024 iPad Pro that will be the first with an OLED (short for organic light-emitting diode) display. In this type of screen, each pixel glows on its own, leading to a bright, even image with strong contrast. Supposedly these will go into both a 12.9-inch version and an 11.1-inch tablet.

“The OLED iPad panels are expected to be by far the best OLED tablet panels on the market with LTPO, 120Hz refresh, a tandem stack and glass thinning resulting in ultra-thin and light displays with high brightness, extended battery life and long lifetime,” according to Display Supply Chain Consultants.

OLED screen panels don’t need backlights, so they’re thinner than traditional LEDs. This reportedly allowed the designers of the upcoming iPad Pro to make the tablet significantly slimmer.

The display panels cost more, but a leak indicates that the price jump for the high-end tablet will be less than half of what had been previously rumored. Still, it’s likely the 12.9-inch OLED version will come in above the current $1,099, and the 11.1-inch one will cost more than $799.

12.9-inch iPad Air

iPad Air 12.9" renders
A leaked render supposedly shows a 12.9-inch iPad Air.
Render: 91Mobiles

The big news about the 2024 iPad Air is that there’ll be a 12.9-inch option. The previous largest version came with a 10.9-inch display. With the cost of the OLED iPad Pro expected to rise, the new Air apparently will be a cheaper alternative for those who want a tablet with a lot of screen space.

And that’s not the only change. The current iPad Air 5 from 2022 runs an Apple M1 processor that debuted in 2020.  The upcoming tablet is expected to jump to the same M3 used in the latest MacBook Air.

An updated 10.9-inch version of the Air will stick around and might stay at $599. The new 12.9-inch Air could come in at $899.

Apple Pencil 3 or ‘Apple Pencil Pro’

The top-end Apple Pencil launched in 2018, but an upgrade is finally coming. Leaks indicate version 3 will offer haptic feedback, plus a squeeze gesture for quick interactions. The stylus is also expected to support Apple’s Find My network. We have more details on what to expect in our Apple Pencil 3 preview.

The current Apple Pencil version retails for $129. The follow-up could easily cost the same.

A last-minute leak indicates the new stylus could be called the Apple Pencil Pro. Code spotted on Apple’s Japanese website revealed a reference to the previously unknown device. Is this a legit leak or sloppy marketing materials? We’ll find out Tuesday.

Apple Magic Keyboard update

Apple’s Magic Keyboard turns iPad into a convertible laptop with a keyboard and trackpad. A new version supposedly will be more durable, with more visible aluminum so the accessory looks more like an Apple product.

The original Magic Keyboard for the largest iPad Pro costs $349, and the one for smaller Pro and Air models runs $299. Those prices might carry through.

Apple M4 processor

Apple M4 (concept) for Mac and iPad
Apple M4 could arrive a lot sooner than expected.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

It has long been thought the 2024 iPad Pro would include the Apple M3 processor from the latest MacBooks. But then a report from a reliable tipster said the tablet might bring the debut of the M4 instead.

If so, the new processor will be a standout announcement at Apple’s May 7 Let Loose event. Especially since the chip will eventually come to new Mac desktops and laptops.

That said, the M3 only launched last autumn, so a debut of its replacement would be a real surprise — and a shock to those who bought one of the M3-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models that have only been on the market a few months.

First glimpse at Apple AI

Apple might build the M4 into the 2024 iPad Pro because the upcoming processor reportedly will emphasize artificial intelligence. When iPadOS 18 launches this autumn, it is expected to be full of new AI features. Supposedly, Apple wants its new premier tablet to be the best at handling those.

If so, then it’s possible Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, will be at the Let Loose event to say a bit about what those AI features are.

There surely won’t be a full unveiling of iPadOS 18 — that will come at WWDC24 in June. But Federighi could give a sneak peek ahead of Apple’s developers conference. And these same AI enhancements almost certainly will make their way to iOS 18 and macOS 15.

Mac Studio with M3 Ultra

Apple’s Let Loose event is clearly about iPad, but rumors say a new version of Mac Studio upgraded with an M3 Ultra chip is coming midyear. May 7 could be the day.

It’s probably a long shot, though. “Macs aren’t expected to be part of the event,” said Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman on Friday.

It’s more likely the launch will come at WWDC24 instead. But the developers conference is supposed to be about software, so new hardware is never a good fit.

AirPods 4

Apple allegedly will introduce two versions of AirPods 4 this year. One will be a midrange model with active noise cancellation and a charging case with Find My support. A cheaper version will be more bare-bones.

The next generation of Apple’s wireless earbuds theoretically might debut at the Let Loose event, but Bloomberg also predicted Friday that these will wait until autumn.

Stay tuned for all the announcements from Apple May 7 Let Loose event

Apple scheduled the May 7 iPad event for 7 a.m. Pacific (10 a.m. Eastern). That’s hours earlier than usual — such events typically start at 10 a.m. Pacific.

It will stream at apple.com or via the Apple TV app. (Here are the best ways to watch the Let Loose event.)

Of course, Cult of Mac will cover everything unveiled at the event in depth.

We originally published this article about what to expect at Apple’s Let Loose event on May 3. We updated it with additional information.


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