iPhone SE and smaller iPad Pro: Apple’s launch event in a nutshell

Apple hosted a relatively short launch event last night, winding up in about an hour, with a lineup that probably left fans feeling a little shortchanged. Let’s do a roundup of the good, the bad, and the refreshing, shall we?

Apple Watch
First up, there were a couple of minor announcements for the Apple Watch. No new OS update or addons, no new models, but a few new straps instead. The standard leather and sport straps now come in a few more colours, and there’s a new woven nylon strap too. Slightly better, there’s also a black Milanese loop now available. Thankfully though, Cook made a (surprisingly nonchalant) announcement that the Apple Watch now starts at US $299, down from its original price tag of US $349.

Apple TV
Moving on, there was at least something marginally better to offer with the Apple TV. There’s a free update available for tvOS that brings some added cross platform compatibility. With the update, you can access your entire iCloud photo library on the Apple TV, including your Live Photos. They’ve also added folders, and a dictation feature to enter text on screen. That includes entering usernames and passwords.

iPhone SE
However, the star of the night was always the new mobile device, officially called the iPhone SE. Its design is almost identical to the iPhone 5S, with an aluminium body, and will be available in Space Grey, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. However, the SE goes back a little bit to Apple’s roots, in that it’s a 4-inch device. On the other hand, it handles like the 6 series. And that’s because the iPhone SE has the A9 processor with embedded M9 coprocessor; exactly what’s in the iPhone 6S. It has a 12MP iSight camera with focus pixels, true tone flash and a new image signal processor, as well as being able to shoot 4K. There’s also a larger battery on board, as compared to the 5S. The iPhone SE is priced at US $399 (Rs 26,500) for the 16GB version and US $499 for the 64GB (Rs 33,000). Customers in the US, UK, Australia, and a few other countries will be able to order the device starting March 24, and it’ll be available March 31. The rest of us in places like India will only get the iPhone SE in early April.
Apple Vice President Greg Joswiak introduces the iPhone SE during an event at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino


Apple cuts price for new, more compact iPhone SE
iPad Pro
The next heavy hitter is the new, smaller, iPad Pro. This entry is a 9.7-inch tablet, as compared to last year’s 12.9-incher. Though the same size as the iPad Air 2, the new iPad Pro’s display is supposedly 25% more colour saturated and 40% less reflective. The 9.7 has a “true-tone” display that measures the temperature of the lighting in the room and compensates accordingly. It also works with Night Shift on iOS (more on that in a second). The new model has a smaller display than it’s older Pro brother, yes, but it might be the arguably better choice. It has the A9X process with Finfet architecture, and uses the same stereo quad-speaker system. It also packs and upgraded 12MP iSight camera with Live Photos, as opposed to the 8MP on the old iPad Pro, and a 5MP FaceTime camera.
Apple has also introduced a scaled down keyboard accessory for the smaller iPad Pro, and it’s also compatible with the Apple Pencil. In addition, there are two new Lightning adapters; an SD card reader and USB camera. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be begin preorders March 24, and will be available starting March 31, in space grey, silver, gold, and rose gold. The device will cost US $599 (Rs 39,800) for the 32GB model, US $749 (Rs 49,800) for the 128GB, and US $899 Rs (59,800)for the 256GB. Of course, all of those are prices for the Wi-Fi-only models, so take on another US $130 or so for the LTE model prices.

Consequently, the prices of other iPads have dropped. The iPad Mini starts from US $269), and the iPad Air 2 begins at US $399. Apple has also added a brand new 256GB option for the old iPad Pro 12.9-inch, for US $1,099 (Rs 73,000).
On to iOS, there’s a few changes in the upcoming v9.3. Night Shift is a new feature that slowly changes your screen tint from blue to red, through the course of the day. Research shows exposure to blue light at night can adversely affect your sleep. Of course, you just have to get in that one last game level or stalk one last person on Instagram before bed, so this is as good a solution as any, aside from nap time phone abstinence. Apple has also added password protection for your Notes, an improved Health tracker app, and “Top Stories, Trending Topics, and Editor’s Picks” have all been added to Apple News.
Unfortunately, that was it for Tim Cook and gang. Social media channels post event seemed to indicate fans expected a lot more, or expected different things from the new iPhone SE. We’re going to be covering Apple’s launch fallout all through the day, so be sure to check back for more in-depth analysis on all the products.