Apple launches smaller iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro
The predictions surrounding Apple’s March 21 event finally came to an end as the company finally unveiled the highly-anticipated 4-inch iPhone SE, a smaller 9.7-inch iPad pro at the company's keynote even on Monday held at Cupertino.
Other than that, the tech giants launched a new update for iOS 9.3, along with a slew of new features that will be available to Apple device users starting today.
The new 4-inch device, as predicted earlier, is powered by an enhanced 64-bit A9 chipset, faster GPU, and M9 motion coprocessor for Always-On ‘Hey Siri.” The iPhone SE has received massive improvements in comparison to the 2013 "5S model". Moreover, the SE will also support 4K video playback, which was not available on the iPhone 5S.
Apart from performance upgrades, the camera upgrades are really impressive on the SE; it will house the same 12MP iSight camera-setup as the iPhone 6 along with the exclusive “live Photos” option. The 1.2MP front snapper is also equipped with Retina Flash for improved selfies and video-calling.
This came as a surprise to many as earlier reports indicated that the “real-time image” feature will stay exclusive to the flagship 6S. Moreover, users will now able to shoot exceptional 4K videos on the new 4-inch device. Other than that, the camera features includes Retina flash for vibrant sefies, 63MP panorama, and an enhanced slow-mo mode.
In terms of display, the smaller iPhone features a 4-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 640x1136p. The device also comes along with the traditional TouchID fingerprint scanner along with support for Apple Pay. However, the company did not incorporate the 3D Touch functionality, which still remains exclusive to the iPhone flagships.
On the design-front, the smaller 4-inch iPhone borrows most of its design queues from the older iPhone 5S, with slightly curved edges, but retains the overall boxier shape. However, the matte-chamfered edges and colour-matched stainless steel logo finish makes the device slightly different from the 5S' design.
The company has stuck to the classic volume buttons and vibration key on the left-hand side, and the power key remains on the top, contrary to earlier predictions. Apart from the existing colours, the device will now be available in Rose Gold as well.
Moving on to software and connectivity upgrades, the SE received massive enhancements with support for faster LTE, Voice-over LTE, faster Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, and the latest iOS 9.3 update. The new device also brings a much needed battery upgrade and the company has claimed that the new device will be far better in terms of battery longevity.
Apple CEO Tim Cook went on to say that the “iPhone SE is the most powerful 4-inch phone ever created”.
Well, considering the amazing upgrades that have been added to this smaller iteration along with the attractive starting price of $399, the device will surely lay its footprints around emerging markets around the globe. The SE was launched in two versions--a 16GB version for $399 and a higher 32GB storage option for $599.
The next device on cards was the smaller version of the 12.7-inch iPad Pro that was launched last fall. Although smaller in size, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro's performance does manage to pack a punch.
Now users will have the option to choose a 9.7-inch iPad model, which comes along with the amazing 12MP iSight camera, Focus pixels, True tone flash, a new image signal processor, panorama up to 63MP, and Live Photos. Surprisingly, the smaller iPad features a 5MP Facetime HD camera for enhanced video-calling experience, and vivid selfies. The new iPad also records crystal clear videos at 4K resolution.
Moreover, the company has incorporated a new display technology, dubbed True Tone, which uses four ambient sensors to automatically measure the light in a room and adjust the screen brightness accordingly. The display resolution on this device is 2048x15356p.
The smaller iPad Pro is completely similar to the larger iPad in terms of performance and hardware, however, its size resembles the iPad Air 2. The iPad 9.7-inch uses the same A9X chipset, M9 coprocessor, and 4GB RAM that can be found on its bulkier sibling. However there will be a noticeable change in the display with the change in dimensions. The device is extremely light at just 450 grams.
In terms of battery, the mini iPad Pro employs a 27.5‐watt‐hour rechargeable lithium‐polymer battery, which is not as much as the larger model but enough to breeze through the day on regular usage.
The iPad Pro 9.7-inch was released in three variants--a 32GB Wi-Fi only model for $599, 128GB for $799, and a 256GB one for $899. Just like the iPhone SE, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will also come in Rose Gold colour in addition to the existing lot of colours.
Unfortunately, Indians will have to wait a tad longer (like always) for the product, as it was not featured among the list of 12 countries that will be the first recipients of the iPad Pro. However, reports suggested that both the products may be rolled out in India by mid-April or early May.
While the two products stole most of the limelight during the event, there were other announcements that looked really promising. Several updates were announced for the Apple TV including a new nifty folder options update.
Other than that, the other prominent product announcement at the event was the reduction in price of the Apple Watch--the watch will now be available for only $299. A number of new “nylon-woven watch bands were also introduced for the company’s smartwatch."
Cook also briefly addressed the on-going encryption battle against the US Government. "We built the iPhone for you, our customers. And we know that it is a deeply personal device. For many of us, the iPhone is an extension of ourselves," he added.
Also, this event will mark Apple's last product launch here at Cupertino and future launches will take place at the company's new "Spaceship Campus."
All-in-all, the products that were launched were predicted a long time ago, however, Apple's adaptation of a low pricing strategy for their new product line might help them drive sales in emerging markets such as India.