Now that the dust has settled on the announcements, I want to give my opinion on what we saw today. There was a lot packed into the hour long event, so I’ll just mention what I found most interesting - the product announcements.
A lot of people still buy 4-inch iPhones so it’s nice to see Apple recognising this. For the last two years, people who wanted a smaller iPhone had to settle for the ‘cheap’ model with older internals. The iPhone SE is very much a current generation smartphone, with internals comparable to the flagship 6s. This makes it a real option for people looking for a something more than just a cheap option, and as mentioned in the event it will probably become a popular option for people who are new to iOS. Going for the cheap option has previously come with a big asterisk in terms or performance and shelf life. For the first time in a long time there is now a solid line of iPhones which I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending to someone new to the platform.
While I like the design, I do find it strange that it is basically an exact copy of the iPhone 5s (which was released as far back as 2013). I expected it to look like a 6/6s except in a smaller form factor. This probably won’t put people off, but it’s still a strange move. It might be that it’s cheaper to manufacture with that design.
Jason Snell of Six Colors posted this picture after the event. The SE (on the right) and the 5s are basically identical:
iPad Pro 9.7-inch
This was what I was most excited about, and I wasn’t let down. The new iPad Pro is packed with some great features and is a real solid update to the 9.7-inch line.
Coming in at just under a pound, this iPad retains its portable size which packing in ‘pro’ features. In fact it’s got all of the features of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, along with some of its own. A better 12-megapixel camera capable of 4K video recording (complete with camera bump 🙄), a 5-megapixel FaceTime camera and ‘True Tone’ display, which adjusts white balance to match the light around you. In other words, makes the display a whole lot better in outside conditions. These updates make it significantly better than the 12.9-inch version, so it’s good to see that we didn’t just get a shrunken iPad Pro.
The pricing also reflects the Pro marketing. Starting at €699 for a 32Gb all the way up to €1059 for a 256Gb version (256!), this is not a cheap device..not that Apple products are known for their budget prices. However this has to be seen as more of a computer than a tablet. It will replace laptops for a lot of people, and I’m guessing iOS 10 will only further strengthen that argument. I think 32Gb will very quickly become the new 16Gb, so I don’t think that would be a good buy for most people.
The iPad Air 2 has dropped by €100. That’s not bad for a device which is still very capable despite marching towards being two years old. It’s still a very good media consumption device.
As well as adding some new band options, the Apple Watch Sport Edition was dropped by €100. This seems good on the surface, but there’s no getting away from the fact the what the Apple Watch really needs is new hardware. I think it’s probably a bad time to buy one, as Apple will probably release new hardware later in the year.
iOS 9.3 was also released this evening. Turns out Night Shift is pretty useful, but takes a bit of getting used to. I talked in more detail about 9.3 here.
These days pretty much everything about these events get leaked beforehand so it was nice to see that there were a few surprises here, and some genuinely great products.