Coming at Apple’s March 21st event: 4-inch iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro & brand-new Apple Watch models
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If Apple’s most recent hardware events were concerning going bigger (larger iPhones, a jumbo iPad, and a brand-new Apple TV), Apple’s March 21st event is concerning going smaller. Apple yesterday officially sent invites to its much-anticipated event to be held at its Cupertino campus along with the tagline “Let us loop you in.” The event, which was originally internally scheduled for a week earlier, will certainly focus on Apple’s brand-new 4-inch iPhone SE, a smaller, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and brand-new Apple Watch bands. The company will certainly most likely likewise prove to the final versions of iOS 9.3, tvOS 9.2, watchOS 2.2, OS X 10.11.4, and an iTunes update. We’ve reported nearly the entirety of what’s expected to come at the event, so read on for a full roundup of every little thing we’re most likely to see…
iPhone SE: The Return of the 4-inch iPhone
Name and Design:
The 4-inch iPhone screen size is back. After being introduced in 2012 along with the iPhone 5 and expanding over to the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in 2013, the 4-inch screen-size became a thing of the past along with the
launch of the iPhone 6 line in 2014. A couple of years later, the smaller sized screen is coming spine along with a new model called the “iPhone SE,” not an “iPhone 6c,” according to sources. Within Apple, employees refer to the “SE” designation in two ways. Some call it an “enhanced” version of the iPhone 5s from 2013.
Others say that the term refers to “special edition,” indicating that this brand-new iPhone model is special variant for those looking for a brand-new 4-inch iPhone model. Apple initially planned to call the device the “iPhone 5SE,” according to sources, attaching the “enhanced” and “special edition” tags to the iPhone 5s. Why? Because the brand-new iPhone will look nearly identical in external appearance to the iPhone 5s as we have actually been reporting since January. In fact, sources say that the iPhone SE will certainly be compatible along with the market’s existing iPhone 5s cases. And yes, unlike the iPhone 7, the SE will certainly have actually a headphone jack.
There are only a pair of exceptions to the SE retaining the 5s’s design: its edges and color options. Sources say that internal prototype versions of the SE include slightly rounded, much more matte edges in comparison to the sharp, shiny, and scratch-prone chamfered edges of the iPhone 5s. While the diagram below shows a relocated power switch, the button will certainly actually stay on top like along with the 5s.As soon as the iPhone 5s launched in 2013, it was available in three colors: space gray, silver, and gold. along with the launch of newer iPhone models, Apple low the 5s’s color selections to simply space gray and silver. For the iPhone SE, Apple is bringing spine gold and adding in rose gold.
Apple Pay, A9/M9 Chips, and Always-On “Hey Siri” Support:
While the outsides of the iPhone SE will certainly be from the past, the insides will certainly be mostly all modern. Very first up on the list is Apple Pay. Sources say that the iPhone SE will certainly include an NFC chip in order to enable for mobile payments like the iPhone 6 and 6s lines. likewise on board are the brand-new A9 and M9 chips, considerable upgrades from the A7 and M7 chips from the iPhone 5s. The A9 chip will certainly unlock speed improvements like those brought by the iPhone 6s and the M9 chip will certainly enable for much more accurate motion tracking and always-on “Hey Siri” support. This means that a user can easily shout “Hey Siri” at their iPhone SE to activate Siri even if the device is not plugged in to power.
New Cameras, Live Photos, No 3D Touch:
Powered by the brand-new internals are upgraded cameras and camera software. Like the iPhone 6s, the iPhone SE will certainly be capable of taking and viewing Live Photos, pictures that embed a few seconds of video and audio prior to and after the time of the still photograph. On the iPhone 6s, these Live Photos are playable via a 3D Touch hard press, however the feature will certainly job via a simple long press on the iPhone SE as the SE will certainly not have actually 3D Touch.
Also unlike the iPhone 6s, sources say that the SE will certainly not include a front-facing LED flash via the display. Sources say the flash feature won’t be present as it calls for the iPhone 6s’s updated screen hardware technology. As for the megapixel counts of the SE, it’s unlikely that the front camera will certainly reach the 5 megapixel count of the 6s, however Apple has actually tested both iPhone 6 (8MP) and 6s (12MP) sensors for the rear camera. Like on the 5s, the camera will certainly most likely sit flush along with the device’s body.
Pricing, New Capacities & 5s Discontinued:
Sources say that the iPhone SE will certainly replace the iPhone 5s in the iPhone family, and will certainly most likely be released within a week of the announcement. Upon the release of the SE, the 5s will certainly be discontinued and the SE will certainly take its price points. As of today, the iPhone 5s is available in 16GB and 32GB capacities for $450 and $500, respectively. The SE will certainly most likely pick up those price points, however the 32GB option will be doubled to 64GB, making the capacity selections 16GB and 64GB for the 4-inch iPhone. This follows Apple’s recent pattern of eliminating 32GB iOS device storage offerings and retaining 16GB as the baseline. As we noted earlier, the iPhone SE will certainly come in space gray, silver, gold, and rose gold, per sources. As for this fall, Apple’s most likely iPhone lineup will certainly be the iPhone SE, the iPhone 6s, and the next-generation 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones.
9.7-inch iPad Pro: November’s 12.9-inch Model in a smaller sized Package
iPad Air Design along with iPad Pro Features:
Given that the brand-new iPad coming at the March event is a 9.7-inch model, early reporting naturally dubbed the device as an “iPad Air 3,” a direct successor to the current iPad Air 2. However, we have reported that the brand-new 9.7-inch iPad model will certainly actually instead be a smaller sized iPad Pro. Like it did along with its laptop line, Apple will certainly most likely start eliminating the “Air” suffix from its iPad tablet lineup. Regardless of the internal features and naming, the overall design of the product will certainly marry the iPad Air 2’s design aesthetic to the iPad Pro’s features. The overall size, shape, and weight of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will certainly approach that of the iPad Air 2, however the device is expected to be slightly thicker according to leaked design schematics. Like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro that launched last November, the new 9.7-inch model will certainly include quad-speakers about the sides of the tablet. Michael Steeber produced the mockup above of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
A9X Chip, much more RAM, Smart Connector, Brighter Display:
Beyond physical design, the product’s features all suit the larger iPad Pro model. Sources confirm that the brand-new iPad will certainly include the A9X processor and additional RAM from the larger version, in addition to a Smart Connector. The Smart Connector will certainly expand the iPad third-party accessory marketplace, opening up the door for automatically pairing, self-powered keyboard attachments and input devices. Sources likewise say that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will certainly include updated display technology that allows for the screen to become “noticeably brighter’ compared to that of the iPad Air 2. The brand-new technology likewise unlocks the updated pixel technology from the 12.9-inch model called for for stylus support.
Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil Support:
As it does for the 12.9-inch model, Apple will certainly release a Smart Keyboard attachment for the 9.7-inch version. The case is proportional to the smaller sized iPad and will certainly include slightly smaller sized keys to fit in a full keyboard. The brand-new model will certainly likewise have actually full support for the Apple Pencil.
12 Megapixel Camera and 4K Video Recording:
While all of the functionality discussed thus far of the smaller sized iPad Pro lines up along with the features of the bigger model, sources say that there will certainly be a pair of key differences concerning the camera system. Sources say that the 9.7-inch model will certainly include a 12 megapixel camera to suit the iPhone 6s and ideal the 8 megapixel sensor on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Like the iPhone 6s, the brand-new iPad Pro will certainly likewise be capable of recording video in 4K resolution, a format that is higher-quality compared to the 1080p standard. Given that the brand-new Pro model is much more portable compared to the larger version, it makes much more sense to include improved camera hardware. Some schematics have actually likewise shown the chance of a rear-facing LED flash.
Pricing and Discontinuing Older Models:
It is most likely that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will certainly be priced closer to the iPad Air 2 line compared to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro line, however the brand-new devices are expected to carry better capacities compared to the Air line. It is most likely that the smaller sized iPad Pro will certainly most likely come in the same 32GB and 128GB variations as the larger iPad Pro as well as in the same space gray, silver, and gold color options. Upon the launch of the brand-new iPad Pro, Apple will certainly most likely discontinue older iPad models such as the original iPad Air and iPad mini 2 from 2013. The brand-new iPad Pro is expected to be released within a week of the announcement.
New Apple Watch Bands: A Line Refresh Ahead of the Apple Watch 2 in September
New Sport Bands:
As along with September, Apple will certainly refresh its line of popular Apple Watch Sport Bands along with all brand-new colors for the spring. The brand-new bands are expected to be available as standalone purchases and as section of whole unit Apple Watch purchases.
Black Milanese Loop:
As leaked on Apple’s website earlier this year, Apple is preparing a space black version of the Milanese Loop. Sources say that Apple initially intended to announce this band last September and release it about November, however it was delayed as a result of manufacturing bottlenecks related to applying the space black coating. Given that the space black Link Bracelet is priced better compared to the standard version, it is possible that the space black Milanese Loop will certainly cost slightly much more compared to its silver variant.
NATO-Style Nylon Bands:
In addition to updating existing band lines, Apple will certainly for the Very first time expand its Apple Watch band lineup along with brand-new styles. Apple is preparation an entirely brand-new set of NATO-style Nylon bands. These bands gained popularity in the 1960s As soon as they were featured in multiple James Bond movies, and the presence of a brand-new band style will certainly most likely temporarily recommendations sustain up Apple Watch and accessory sales until the redesigned model debuts in September.
The brand-new bands are said to be made from a “high-quality” form of nylon that has actually been in testing for several months. These straps most likely will certainly be oriented toward energetic Apple Watch wearers looking for a waterproof, however still fashionable, alternative to the fluoroelastomer band. Like along with the Leather Loop and Sport bands, the lug attachments to connect the band to the Apple Watch face will certainly be integrated in to the band, meaning that they will certainly sit flush along with any Apple Watch variation and won’t feature mismatched metal.
New Hermès Bands & Partnerships:
It is likewise feasible that Apple unveils additional band color selections from Hermès, beyond the current brown, red, and blue shades, and additional band design partnerships. Sources say that Apple discussed expanded band partnerships for the Apple Watch along with case maker Incase, however it is currently unclear if such a partnership is prepared to be announced. Given the fashion focus of the device, it would certainly not be surprising to see additional partnerships on stage beyond Hermès on March 21st.
Extras: iTunes, iOS, OS X, tvOS, & watchOS Software Updates + Macs Unlikely
iOS 9.3: Apple so far has actually released 6 betas of iOS 9.3. The update adds a handful of brand-new features. Very first is Night Shift, a Flux-like feature that automatically adjusts the color temperature of the display to reduce eye strain. There’s likewise support for Wi-Fi calling on Verizon, Touch ID Notes, brand-new CarPlay features, and more.
tvOS 9.2: tvOS 9.2, which has likewise been tested via 6 betas, includes a host of enhancements. Perhaps most notably is Voice Dictation input for search and username/password entry. Additionally, there’s finish support for iCloud Photo Library, using Bluetooth keyboards, and Siri enhancements. the conference mode room likewise makes a return along with tvOS 9.2. Here is a video overview of just what to expect:
OS X 10.11.4: Similarly to iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4 includes support to protect the Notes app behind a password. There’s likewise improved support for Live Photos in the Messages and Photos apps.
watchOS 2.2: The 2.2 update includes support for pairing multiple watches to a single iPhone as well as enhancements to the Maps application. There’s a new screen of actions and Nearby search powered by Yelp. along with watchOS 2.2, users can easily instantly navigate to estate or job and discover local businesses organized by type via a brand-new Maps Glance.
As Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue recently hinted, Apple is preparation to soon release an iTunes for Mac update, and it would certainly make sense for it to launch alongside the aforementioned operating system software updates. Sources say that the brand-new version of iTunes is unlikely to be a design refresh, despite Cue’s hints, however much more so a collection of bug fixes and minor interface tweaks for the application and Apple Music integration. A much more wide-ranging Apple Music update is expected this fall alongside iOS 10 and OS X 10.12, which we reported will certainly finally permit Siri support.
Sources say that this event will certainly most likely focus solely about the brand-new iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch announcements. However, both brand-new 12-inch MacBooks and upgraded MacBook Pros are in the pipeline for this year. Faster MacBooks are in store for debut by WWDC, potentially in April or May, and brand-new MacBook Pros coming by the second half of the year. Sources say that Apple has actually considered announcing brand-new 12-inch MacBooks at this event, however the imminent release currently appears unlikely.
As always we will certainly have actually live coverage of the keynote and will certainly sustain reporting the news as we get hold of it ahead of March 21st.
Top Tim Cook Image via Getty Images.