Apple Unveils Smaller iPhone, iPad and New Watch Bands, Discontinues iPhone 5S

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iPhone SE

Some called it the iPhone Super Encrypted. Others said it is the iPhone Small Edition. Apple says that it is a Special Edition iPhone. For all intents and purposes, the new iPhone SE introduced last evening by Apple is a statement by the company to the over 30 million 4-inch iPhones it sold last year. That there is still a market out there for smaller devices. There are still people who want all the power that comes with today’s devices while still not being made to go for devices that are on the way to competing with the size of China plates than the way handsets have looked like and been perceived all along.

For all intents and purposes, the new iPhone SE introduced last evening by Apple is a statement by the company to the over 30 million 4-inch iPhones it sold last year. That there is still a market out there for smaller devices. There are still people who want all the power that comes with today’s devices while still not being made to go for devices that are on the way to competing with the size of China plates than the way handsets have looked like and been perceived all along.

The new iPhone SE packs most of the specs and features of Apple’s latest iPhone, the 6S, while still maintaining a body frame that borrows its looks and screen-size from a three-year-old device, the iPhone 5S. So much that the 5S is discontinued in favour of the SE, a fate that also befell the iPhone 5 when Apple announced the all-plastic iPhone 5c in 2013.

It has a 12-megapixel camera that can capture the famous Live Photos and up to 63-megapixel panoramas as well as 4K video at 30 frames per second. The front-facing necessary for video calls and selfies only takes 1.2-megapixel stills, a far cry from the 5-megapixel shots that iPhone 6S’ FaceTime camera can take.

Other specifications of the iPhone SE include 2GB RAM, a 1136×640 pixel (retina) 4-inch IPS LCD panel with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, an A9 chip accompanied by the M9 co-processor (meaning always-on Siri will work), a battery that lasts at least 13 hours while browsing on LTE or Wi-Fi, a fingerprint sensor (Touch ID) and built-in NFC to enable payments using Apple Pay.

The biggest feature that the new iPhone SE will be missing that is currently available on the iPhone 6S is pressure-sensitivity on its display. iPhone SE does not have 3D Touch.

iPhone SE pre-orders open on 24th March in some countries like the US and the UK and they eventually go on sale on 31st March in select markets as well. Apple expects to have the new smaller iPhone in at least 100 countries by the end of May.

iphone_se_colour_options

Much to the annoyance of many of its fans, Apple is still retaining the 16GB memory option while also providing a 64GB variant for anyone willing to part with $100 more. The 16GB iPhone SE will go for $399 while the model with four times the storage will cost $499. It will come in silver, gold, rose gold, and space gray colours. The space gray model has black bezels while the rest have white ones.

iPad Pro

The iPhone SE was not the only device demoed on stage at Apple’s event last evening. There was also an iPad Pro. Make no mistake, this is not that iPad Pro you heard of last year. While it is almost the same and shares the name as last year’s model, it is slightly smaller and meant to compete with it rather than replace it. If at all it is bound to knock off any device off Apple’s tablet pecking order then that fate befalls the iPad Air 2.

Not only is the 9.7-inch iPad Pro upgraded with several features that make it superior to the Air 2 including the sound, it also has an accessory meant for the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, the glorified stylus that Apple debuted late last year.

Pricing for the new tablet starts at $599 for the base model and spirals all the way up to $899 for the 256GB model. The new 256GB storage option is important because Apple sees the iPad Pro as a worthy option to the millions of people using old hardware running Windows.

Apple Watch

Also unveiled last evening are a couple of bands for Apple’s Watch. Apple says that at least a third of Apple Watch users swap straps every now and then.

iOS 9.3

Both the new iPad Pro and the new iPhone SE will ship with a new version of iOS, 9.3. iOS 9.3 brings several features and improvements with the most notable ones being Night Shift, a feature that works like F.lux – reduces the amount of blue light emitted by the devices’ displays, as well as several improvements to its Notes app, 3D Touch and more features like partial multi-window.

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