While the event was no-where near as big as the last event in San Francisco – Apple’s largest – Apple CEO Tim Cook used the on-campus event at 1 Infinite Loop to refresh the product lineup for the iconic brand.
Cook commenced the event by touching on the company’s stance on encryption and privacy in their battle with the FBI. He reinforced the company’s commitment to its customers and the privacy of your data. It was a quick but important update. If he had not talked about it, it would have been the question everybody asked.
There was also a solid section of the event dedicated to talking about the company’s green credentials including renewable energy powering their stores and offices worldwide, and phone re-use and recycling programs. This included announcing a robot called “Liam” which can dismantle an iPhone into its individual parts for the best possible re-use and recycling of the components.
Apple Renew is a new program that allows you to bring your phone into an Apple Store, or send it in, to have it safely and securely recycled.
Up next, Apple announced CareKit, a framework sitting alongside HealthKit for new apps to be built for patients to take a better role in their own care. One example given will resonate with anyone who has been into hospital for surgery. When you are checked out and sent home, you’re given a piece of paper with instructions of what to do, what to take and how to look after yourself.
CareKit allows apps to be built to manage that post-op care. Allowing you to have this information on your phone, for your phone to assist in managing your health post hospital. It is a great concept, and while very small in the overall scheme of things it will be a big deal for those in the medical community.
There are now more than 1 billion Apple devices in use around the world. That’s a pretty staggering statistic on its own. So – what new devices are coming?
Despite being two and a half years old, the iPhone 5s has continued to be available to purchase from Apple at a price of $749 for the 16GB model and $829 for the 32GB. This continued the trend from Apple to keep “older” models in the store to give a wider price range – clearly starting at a lower price. Over 30 million “4 inch iPhones” were sold last year.
In the past this was relatively easy to do because there wasn’t a radical change in the product until the iPhone 6 was announced as a much large phone than was previously available. With the iPhone 5s close to hitting three years old it was important that it be removed from the lineup, and replaced by something affordable – but perhaps also small.
If Apple doesn’t cater to those wanting a smaller phone they risk losing customers. Thus, the introduction of the iPhone SE today.
The iPhone SE looks the same as the iPhone 5s, with updated colours and an update to the Apple Logo on the back.
On the inside though is the Apple A9 processor, and motion processor – the same as the iPhone 6s – double the speed of the 5s.
Graphics processing too is updated, offering three times the graphics power of the 5s.
Additionally, the iPhone SE has an updated 12 megapixel camera with true-tone flash and all the features of the iPhone 6s.
Basically, the iPhone SE is for the average user everything the iPhone 6s in the smaller form factor including Apple Pay and Hey Siri compatibility.
The full iPhone lineup will now look like this:
The new iPhone SE will be available to order this Thursday (24th) and to buy the following Friday March 31.
iPhone SE will be available in space grey, silver, gold and rose gold metallic finishes in 16GB and 64GB models for a recommended retail price starting at $629 for the 16GB version and $829 for the 64GB
As expected, a new iPad was announced, taking the iPad Pro name, the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro takes the key features of the huge iPad Pro and makes it available in a smaller and lighter form factor.
Over 200 million 9.7inch iPads have been sold, so the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro will offer a solid upgrade path for those owners.
Apple talked a lot about this being a “PC Replacement” device, this is an indication of the long term perceived goal of the company to shift from multiple operating systems to a single mobile operating system – it’s a long way off, but seems a logical next step.
There was also talk of a new TrueTone screen technology which uses more ambient light sensors to actually adjust the screen colour temperature. Perhaps think of it as a White-Balance for your screen. Helping the screen to match the environment to deliver a “paper white” experience.
Like it’s big brother, there is a Smart Keyboard accessory for the 9.7 inch iPad, as well as compatibility for the Apple Pencil. This was described by Phil Schiller as “The greatest accessory Apple has ever made” – which is a giant leap forward from Steve Jobs’ distain for the stylus. Though if he’d used an Apple Pencil he would have been impressed.
The iPad pro 9.7 inch also adds rose gold to the colour options. Basically though, this is a 9.7 inch iPad Pro – simple as that, and frankly – that’s a good thing – the iPad Pro is a great device, but it’s a touch big for many people.
Tim Cook was pleased to announce Apple Watch as the top-selling smartwatch in the world – not difficult given the scale of Apple’s retail presence alone, but still an important milestone.
A third of Apple Watch wearers regularly change their band, so Apple announced new accessories, including a woven nylon band, new sport and leather bands in new colours, and a space black milanese loop.
Perhaps more importantly, Tim Cook announced a new price for Apple Watch which will now start at $299 (USD). Australian prices will follow soon.