A Smaller iPhone, A New iPad Pro And An Apple Watch Price Cut
Apple rolled out several new products at a media event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters on Monday. Held at Apple's Town Hall auditorium and featuring CEO Tim Cook and the company's top brass, the event featured the debut of a new smaller iPhone called the "SE," a new iPad Pro with a 9.7 inch display, and some new bands for the Apple Watch, which also received a price cut. It also announced an update to iOS.
The new iPhone SE has the same innards as the iPhone 6S — Apple's A9 chip and motion coprocessor. It supports "Hey, Siri," live photos and 4K video, and features the same 12MP camera and True Tone flash in the 6S. Also supported: TouchID for secure authentication and Apple Pay — Apple's mobile payments solution. It's essentially, a diminutive 6S. It starts at $399 for the 16GB model, and $499 for the 64GB.
The new, also smaller, iPad Pro has a 9.7 inch display and weighs less than 1 pound. It will support a keyboard peripheral and Apple's Pencil. It has a 12MP camera capable of shooting 4K video, a 5MP Facetime HD camera and a retina flash. The device comes in Silver, Space Gray, Gold and — for the first time — Rose Gold. It starts at $599 for the 32GB and runs to $899 for the 256GB.
Both devices are available to order on March 24, and will ship on March 31.
It was the company's first media event of 2016, and came one day ahead of the company's courtroom showdown with the government over a motion that would compel it to help hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
A running list of Apple's other announcements — including a new app for individualized health treatments, is below.
Apple's Last Product Announcement In Town Hall
Cook closes the event with a nod to Apple's 40 year history and to the room in which we've gathered. "We're always pushing forward and innovating, hoping to create products that effect people positively. It's something we've been doing for 40 years. We've had a lot of important announcements in this Town Hall. It's a very special place, with lots of memories -- the iPod was announced in this room. This is probably the last product introduction we'll do in this room."
A New, Smaller iPad Pro
Apple's second big hardware unveiling of the day is a next-generation iPad. It's a smaller version of the iPad Pro, and Apple VP Phil Schiller touts it as "the second member of the iPad Pro family." It's got a 9.7 inch display and weighs less than 1 pound. Schiller notes that Apple has sold about 200 million iPads with 9.7 inch displays so far.
Anyway, the smaller iPad Pro features the same True Tone display and Pro Audio as its larger sibling; it pumps out about twice the volume of the iPad Air 2. It runs Apple's speedy A9X chip, which supports "Hey Siri" as well as a keyboard peripheral and Apple's Pencil, which Schiller touts as "the greatest accessory Apple has ever made." Also on board the new iPad Pro, a 12MP camera capable of shooting 4K video, a 5MP Facetime HD camera and a retina flash. The device comes in 4 colors: Silver, Space Gray, Gold and — for the first time — Rose Gold.
The addition of the new iPad Pro came with the discontinuation of an old one. Apple quietly removed the iPad Air from its latest lineup of tablets, keeping the more recent iPad Air 2.
Price: Ranging from $599 for 32 GB to $899 for 256GB. Orders begin March 24 with shipments to kick off on March 31.
Hello, iOS 9.3
Apple has a new point release to its iOS mobile operating system to show off today as well. 9.3 which has been in beta for developers for a while is ready to ship today. Among the updates included: Night Shift, a screen adjustment feature which shifts display colors to the warmer end of the spectrum which might help you sleep better at night; password-protected Notes; an slicker version of CarPlay; and a new dashboard for Health.
iPhone SE: Let's Get Small
As expected, the first big product announcement of the day involves a new, smaller iPhone. Apple VP Greg Joswiak takes to stage to unveil it. He prefaces the unveiling by noting that Apple sold 30 million 4-inch iPhones in the past year. The device is indeed called the iPhone SE and it looks a lot like the iPhone 5. Inside, though, the device has the same innards as the iPhone 6S — Apple's A9 chip and motion coprocessor. It supports "Hey, Siri," live photos and 4K video, and features the same 12MP camera and True Tone flash in the 6S. Also supported: TouchID for secure authentication and Apple Pay — Apple's mobile payments solution. It's essentially, a diminutive 6S.
"For some people they simply love smaller phones, they want the most compact iPhone design," says Joswiak.
The SE replaces the now discontinued iPhone 5S, which is nearly identical to it in form factor.
It starts at $399 for the 16GB model, and $499 for the 64GB. Apple will begin accepting orders for the SE on March 24 with shipments to begin the following week.
New Apple Watch Bands And A Price Cut
Cook returns to the stage to talk a bit about the Apple Watch. He touts the device's success at market, but does not provide any sales numbers. There are some new Watch bands to show off — a Space black Milanese Loop, and woven nylon bands for example. But the big news of the day is a price cut: $299.
CareKit, An App For Individualized Health Treatments
Williams continues noting that ResearchKit has inspired Apple to design another health-related platform, CareKit. An open source platform, CareKit is intended to help people take better control of their care, helping them to track medication and its effects on their health. The first CareKit app, being released today, is for tracking and treating Parkinson's Disease. Six institutions are using the app to treat Parkinson's patients.
ResearchKit Has Led To The Discovery Of Asthma Triggers In All 50 States
Apple's second big update of the day focuses on health. Apple COO Jeff Williams takes the stage to offer a quick overview of ResearchKit and Apple's health efforts. He touts a series of iPhone-drive health studies that Apple claims has broken geographic boundaries and facilitated new understanding of issues like diabetes, autism, and asthma. Thanks to ResearchKit, says Williams, medical researchers have discovered that there are Asthma triggers in all 50 states in the U.S..
Apple is 93% Renewable
Next, a quick update on Apple's environmental initiatives. Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, takes the stage to talk briefly about the company's progress towards its promise of 100% renewable energy at 100% of its operations. How are we doing, she asks? Answer: Apple is 93% renewable. And it's 100% renewable in 23 countries. Says Jackson, "We're very proud of fact that 100% of our data centers are powered by clean sources of energy like the sun, wind and water."
Apple has also developed a new iPhone deconstructing robot called "Liam," which breaks down iPhones so their parts can be safely recycled and reused. Liam is part of a new Apple program called "Renew."
Apple vs. FBI
Today's event begins with a quick nod to the #AppleVSFBI privacy case which heads to court tomorrow. "We need to decide as nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy," says Apple CEO Tim Cook.
"We did not expect to be in this position — at odds with our own government. But we believe strongly we have a responsibility to help you protect your data, and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers and we owe it to our country. This is an issue that impacts all of us and we will not shrink from this responsibility."