Most Important Announcements: Apple March 2016 Press Event
Apple's iPhone event on Monday reintroduced a smaller version of the iPhone, a new iPad Pro, new Apple watch bands, and the company talked about a few topics no one was expecting. Lets break down the hour-long keynote.
The elephant in the room for many was the topic of encryption. Tim Cook did not waste any time and began the keynote with comments regarding the situation. "We did not expect to be in this position at odds with our own government," he said. "We believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers, and we owe it to our country. This is an issue that impacts all of us, and we will not shrink from this responsibility." As the keynote progressed, data privacy was mentioned several times with some of the company's latest products and APIs.
The new smaller 4-inch iPhone that has been rumored for weeks is finally official. The new phone dubbed "iPhone Special Edition" or "iPhone SE" is a mixture of the iPhone 5 or 5s ascetically and an iPhone 6S internally. The new phone ships with faster LTE and Wi-Fi speeds, better battery life, NFC support for Apple Pay, all without that annoying camera bump. The phone comes in a 16gb model for $399, and a 64gb model for $499. Customers can being preordering the phone today, March 24th, or pick the phone up on March 31st in stores.
Apple continued the trend of smaller devices with its newest iPad Pro. The new iPad retains ApplePencil support and its four speakers. It also has its own version on Apple's Smart Keyboard Case and comes with an updated camera. Customers can choose from a $599, 32gb model, a $749 128gb model, or a $899 256gb model. Preorders started today, March 24th, or consumers can pick one up in store on March 31st.
The update to iOS 9 was not a major one, but it did bring customers some new and useful features and at least on major security fix. Updated devices can adjust screen lighting depending on ambient lighting; Apple's calling it Night Shift. Notes taken in Apple's Notes app can now be locked by using Touch ID. Some smaller tweaks were also made to Car Play and Apple Health. The update is available for users to download now.
Apple Watch and watchOS 2.2
The company briefly talked about the Apple Watch. One of the very first announcements was that the watch will not start at $299. Along with the price drop, a "spring line-up" of new bands were announced. The new line-up included new colors for the sport and leather bands, a "space black" version of the metal milanese loop, and a completely new set of bands made from four layers of woven nylon. Apple also announced that watchOS 2.2 is now available to download for all Apple Watch users as a free upgrade.
Apple did not only talk about new products, but the company also talked about the issues that arise when making these devices. The company vowed to continue to fight for stronger encryption, the announcement of CareKit, an open source Apple Watch feature allowing users to easily track and record health information, and their commitment to environmental renewal through a robot named Liam.
Apple talked about ReasearchKit's great success and how that led them to creating CareKit. CareKit allows users to easily record, track, and share health information with the doctors of their choosing. Customer privacy was also talked about during this part of the presentation, showing Apple's commitment to the protection of user's data.
The company shared that 93% of 100% of their operations are not run off of renewable energy. Reaching closer to their goal of 100%. The company is using solar energy to power most locations, and 99% of packaging comes from recycled paper or "sustainably managed forests." The company's also showed off a robot they call Liam that recycles iPhones in a way that Apple says is "safe for your data, and safe for the planet."
Mac OSX 10.11.4
Apple quickly mentioned the Macs, by announcing that OSX 10.11.4 is now available as a free upgrade for Mac users. The update fixes a few bugs, adds the ability to lock notes and gives iTunes the support for the new devices announced.