Apple announces iPhone SE, iPad Pro and Apple Watch price drop
Apple will release a smaller iPhone, the iPhone SE on 31 March. There's also a new iPad Pro model and a small price drop for the Apple Watch.
It was perhaps the worst kept secret from a company renowned for its secrecy; Apple is releasing a new iPhone model with a smaller, four-inch display, called the iPhone SE.
The iPhone SE isn’t an entirely new form factor for Apple, having last offered a four-inch iPhone model with the iPhone 5 models, but the iPhone SE runs on the same Apple A9 processor as the iPhone 6s, with Apple claiming that it has the same processing power as the 6s model. In many respects it is a tiny iPhone 6s, with the same camera, Apple Pay, and TouchID features as the existing premium model. It replaces the iPhone 5s in Apple's lineup.
The iPhone SE will go on sale in Australia on 31 March with pre-sales commencing on 24 March 2016.
US pricing was announced at $399 for the 16GB model and $US499 for the 64GB model. In Australia, the iPhone SE will sell for $679 for the 16GB model and $829 for the 64GB model. By conversion from the US list price, and taking GST into account that should equate to around $577 for the 16GB model and $722 for the 64GB model, which means we're getting hit with a fairly steep price premium.
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Apple also announced a new iPad Pro model with a 9.7-inch display. Apple’s claim is that the 9.7-inch form factor was its most popular display size. Lower reflectivity and increased brightness on the iPad Pro model were cited as advantages of the new model. It features ambient light sensors designed to dynamically adjust the colour temperature relative to its location for, as per Apple, improved colour fidelity in differing light situations.
Like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the new iPad Pro uses Apple’s A9X processor, making it more powerful than the iPad Air 2, as you’d expect. Apple’s announced pricing for the new iPad Pro in the US was $US599 for the 32GB model, $749 for the 128GB model and if you're feeling particularly flush with cash, $US899 for the new 256GB model. There's also a new 256GB model in the 12.9 inch form factor with US pricing announced at $1099.
In Australia, the iPad Pro will sell at $899/$1149/$1399 for the Wi-Fi only model of the iPad Pro, while the LTE-enabled variant will cost $1,099/$1349/$1599 respectively. After conversion from the US list price plus GST, that's not as rough a deal as the iPhone SE, where US list price would suggest pricing of around $870 for the 32GB model, $1085 for the 128GB model and a hefty $1300 for the 256GB variant. The 256GB 12-inch iPad Pro would calculate out to around $1600, but the Australian list price for that model is $1749/$1949 for the Wi-Fi and LTE models respectively.
Apple also announced new Apple Watch bands, including a woven nylon band option. Apple also announced a price cut for the Apple Watch, dropping the Sport price to US$299. In Australia the new cheapest Apple Watch is now $429, actually slightly cheaper than its US counterpart once GST is taken into account.
On the Apple TV front, Apple announced an update available today for tvOS, the underlying software that runs the 4th generation Apple TV. The software update enables new Siri dictation features as well as the ability to drop apps into folders. For iOS users, there's a new version of iOS, iOS 9.3 available today.
Apple also used its launch to talk up its health and environmental initiatives.
As part of a focus on environmental issues, Apple also showed off a recycling robot initiative known as "Liam", a robot that can disassemble old iPhone models to repurpose iPhone components, including aluminium, tungsten and cobalt found in iPhones.
The consumer side of this initiative has been dubbed "Apple Renew", allowing consumers to send old devices to Apple for recycling. It wasn’t clear at the launch if Apple would extend Apple Renew to Australian customers as it relates to providing free mail-in labels, a la the existing Mobile Muster recycling scheme already in place in Australia.
On the health front, Apple launched CareKit, a framework for building apps to allow consumers to manage their medical care.