When Apple invites you to its campus for an announcement, you know it's going to be low-key. Intimate, for its almost-40th birthday on April 1. And today's announcements prove the rule, with two technically unremarkable but likely consumer-friendly smaller additions to its iPhone and iPad lineups: theand a .
Tim Cook briefly addressed the company's tussle with the FBI, which was followed by status reports on two of its energy-efficiency initiatives. These include a solar farm in China and rooftop solar arrays in Singapore, 100 percent renewable energy facilities in 23 countries, and 93 percent worldwide. On the tree front, 99 percent of its packaging is from recycled paper or sustainably managed forests; it's concentrating on refurbishing devices to keep them out of the landfills; and it has a new robot (adorably called Liam) to tear apart old iPhones for reusable parts. The recycling program is called Apple renew.
Next up were its health developments in the form of its ResearchKit application programming interface (API), with reports on medical studies. Today, the company announced the flip side of that, CareKit, an open-source API to help monitor patient progress, as well as for patients to monitor their own treatment. The first app available today is for Parkinson's patients.
The Apple Watch gets an entry-level price drop to $299, £249 or AU$429, plus now comes in new colors. There are also new colors for sport and leather bands, a woven nylon band and a Space Black Milanese loop.
"People love the Apple TV," said Cook, touting some forthcoming features, including the ability to organize apps on the home screen into folders, dictation to enter text and iCloud photo library access. These are available today.
Here's what's key about the iPhone SE:
- A9 chip with M9 coprocessor
- Same performance as 6S
- iPhone 6S iSight camera (12MP, high-res panorama, 4K video, True Tone flash)
- 4G LTE
- Touch ID
- Apple Pay (NFC)
Also, there's some new pricing for the iPhone lineup. They start at $399 for 16GB, $499 for 64GB, free on a 24-month contract at $17 per month, available for preorder on March 24 and shipping March 31. That's the cheapest ever. In the UK it's £359 for 16GB and £439 for 64GB; in Australia it's AU$679 for 16GB and AU829 for 64GB.
An unwelcome surprise for recent iPad Air 2 buyers, Apple unveiled a smaller version of the , the . The size is targeted at Windows switchers. It will have an Apple keyboard and Pencil like its big brother, plus there's a new line of Lightning adapters, including an SD card reader and USB camera adapter. It will come in silver, gold, space gray and rose gold. It will start at 32GB for $599 up to 128GB for $749; £499 to £739; or AU$899 to AU$1,399.
Here are the key specs:
- Same display as iPad Pro (25 percent better color saturation than Air 2, brighter, less reflective, the same photo alignment technology)
- A new True Tone display, which dynamically adjusts color temperature based on ambient light
- A9X chip with M9 coprocessor
- Four-speaker stereo audio with dynamic frequency adjustment
- Same iSight camera as iPhone 6S and iPhone SE (12MP, high-res panorama, 4K video, True Tone flash)
Tim Cook closed out the event by bidding farewell to the Town Hall as its announcement space. In 2017, it'll be the spaceship campus.
See all of the news from Apple's March 21 event.