Apple Announces iPhone SE, smaller iPad Pro, and iOS 9.3

March 21, 2016 •

iPhone SE Rose Gold

During the March 2016 Apple media event, Tim Cook and team announced the iPhone SE, a smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro, new watch bands, and the public release of iOS 9.3. As predicted earlier, these new devices are rivals of existing hardware, found in the iPhone 6s and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, respectively. Each new device borrows internals from the existing form factors, but repackages them in a smaller offering.

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE is almost exactly the same as the iPhone 6s in most ways imaginable, except the form factor, which is almost exactly the same as the iPhone 5s. Blending the two, one receives all of the power and performance of the newest flagship device, but in a smaller, older form factor, that is less expensive than some expected. Counting the similarities, iPhone 5 SE boasts the same A9 chip set, M9 coprocessor, Live Photos, 4K videos, always-on Siri, Apple Pay, and the new Rose Gold color way.

iPhone SE fan

Importantly, iPhone SE fills a gap in Apple’s growing iPhone collection. The iPhone 5s is now two years out dated and there is plenty of market share still available in the smaller size. iPhone SE completely catches the 4 inch device up, in terms of hardware performance and important software options, like Live Photos. Consequently, customers can have a smaller, more pocket-able device, that is completely as powerful as the current flagships. Likewise, the iPhone SE hits a much lower price point, with a 16GB model starting at $399. The device is far from cheap, but more affordable than the other existing options. Preorders begin March 24, with availability on March 31.

iPad Pro, 9.7″

Apple surprised many when it launched the 12.9 inch  iPad Pro in the fall season of 2015. This week, the features were much less surprising when being moved to the 9.7-inch version. There was previous speculation about an iPad Air 3 or smaller iPad Pro, which were proven true. Given the changes to the newly launched device, the “Pro” moniker does give the Air something to be desired. With the 9.7-inch form factor, customers now have access to more premium features, previously only accessible on the larger screen size.

iPads Pro Apple Pencil

Advantages now include the quad speaker layout, A9x and M9 processors, all day battery life, and smart accessories. The 9.7-inch device includes compatibility for both Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard. New cameras grace the front and back of the device for improved photos and, now, 4K or slow motion videos. Additionally, the 9.7-inch version has four-channel ambient light sensors, which automatically adjust color and display intensity to match the surroundings, improving eye fatigue. Preorders begin March 24, with availability on March 31.

Apple Watch Bands

Some expected Apple to make a full refreshed Apple Watch 2; however, the Keynote only revealed new watch bands. A completely new range of Apple Watch bands released, woven nylon. As pictured below, this design is a bit retro, with nylon style bands being fairly popular in the 1980’s and 90’s. The new bands combine several colors and are available in both 38mm and 42mm options.

Apple Watch band nylon

With a myriad of additional colors for the Sports collection, new devices can be purchased with the color ranges or just the bands may be purchased for $49. Colors range from yellow, to mint, to royal blue. Check out the Apple store for the complete collection and the newest colors are already available, with orders arriving as early as Thursday.

iOS 9.3

The newest version of iOS, 9.3, is now available for download. A new feature, Night Mode, automatically adjusts screen brightness to take some of the harsh light away from your eyes in the evening hours. The Apple stock Notes app now keeps contents hidden behind a TouchID lock screen. A few additions were made to the News App, including in-line videos. Finally, if you happen to own a Car Play compatible car, expect new Apple Music features to hit your dashboard.