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BW Businessworld

Apple Goes Small

The tech giant announced two new products including a small and affordable iPhone and a smaller iPad Pro

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Apple made an early announcement this year by unveiling two new products at a special event in California. The launch event somehow didn't generate a huge buzz because the new products are essentially last year's products in a smaller package. The iPhone SE and the iPad Pro 9.7 are the newest members of the iOS family which despite being smaller, offer the same experience as the latest generation of iPhone and iPad.

iPhone SE
The iPhone SE is a new 4-inch smartphone that is not only a smaller but also a cheaper option to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. The new phone is a combination of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 but it looks like a compact version of the iPhone 6S. Claimed as "the most powerful 4-inch smartphone ever".

The iPhone SE uses the same 64-bit Apple A9 processor along with the embedded M9 motion co-processor which powers the iPhone 6S. So there is no compromise on the performance, be it gaming or regular tasks. It also carries the same camera form the 6S, a 12MP iSight camera with a dual-tone flash which can take Live Photos, 4K video and slow-mo video as well. Other features include faster LTE, faster Wi-Fi, Apple Pay support and the fingerprint sensor Touch ID as well. Apple will also be introducing a new feature called NightShift in iOS 9.3 which will be loaded on the new iPhone SE.

This feature will enable or disable a blue-light reduction filter on the display so it is easier on the eyes when using the phone in the night.

According to Apple CEO, Tim Cook, a 4-inch iPhone makes sense as the company sold 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015. Providing the latest specs in a smaller and a more compact design definitely makes sense as there is a large population of smartphone user that still prefer a device that doesn't need a giant's hands to operate. Tim Cook also said that "Many customers have asked for this and I think they're going to love it." Not only is the size an attractive selling point, Apple has priced the iPhone SE rather generously.

The 16GB model will start at $399 (Rs 27,000 approx.) and at $499 (Rs 33,000 approx.) one can get the 64GB model. It'll be available in the usual four colours; gold, rose gold, silver and grey. Preorders begin on March 24th and the phone will be available on March 31st in more than 100 countries by the end of May. But before you get excited over the price, you should know that Apple has confirmed that the pricing will start at Rs 39,000.

iPad Pro 9.7
Apple also announced a new iPad Pro, which is a smaller version of its iPad Pro tablet which was released last year. This new iPad Pro has a 9.7-inch display adhering to the original and the most popular iPad size. It is light as well weighing less than a pound.

The new upgrades include a new display that is brighter and 40% less reflective than the iPad Air 2. The display also brings in the first of its kind auto-white balancing feature called "True Tone Display" technology which can measure the color temperature of ambient light and adjusts the display to match it. Just like iPhone SE, the new iPad Pro will utilise iOS 9.3's new blue-light reduction NightShift feature.

Apple has given the same treatment to the new iPad Pro as the iPhone SE by giving the same hardware and features of the last year's model. So you get the same A9X processor and also the same four-speaker system. Of course you get similar accessories as well including a smaller version of the Smart Keyboard, support the Apple Pencil and some new SD card and USB camera adapters. The camera department however takes a leap as you get the latest camera from Apple which is features on the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus and the SE. Yup the same 12MP rear camera with 4K recording, Live Photos and 240fps slow-mo video features and a 5MP front camera for great selfies.

The new iPad Pro will be available in four colors grey, silver, gold, and rose gold. There will be three size capacities, including 32GB for $599 (Rs 40,000 approx.) a 128GB version for $749 (Rs 50,000 approx) and also for the first time on any Apple product, a 256GB top of the line version $899 (Rs 60,000 approx). Preorders will start on March 24th, with availability set for March 31st. Indian Pricing has not been confirmed as of yet

Both the products sound promising but this move by Apple, though predictable, is a new one. Phones are getting bigger, and Apple followed this trend and moved on when it announced the iPhone 6. But with that it left behind an audience that till date adores a compact size. The company has probably realised that and is trying to address it with the iPhone SE. The 4-inch iPhones have sold more than any other iPhone that they have made, so it makes sense as well. It is also one of the cheapest option available so anyone who wants to move from Android or just get a new smartphone would definitely consider this as it isn't priced obnoxiously.

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smartphones apple iphone ipad