Highlights from Apple’s March 21st Special Event

Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage earlier today to announce some new Apple products along with updates to some of their existing product lines at today’s special event. At the start of the keynote, Cook did take a moment to address the current legal battle between Apple and the FBI / DOJ over iPhone privacy & security.

During the keynote, updates to iOS and Apple TV OS were announced. iOS 9.3  is available today for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and tvOS 9.2 is available for the new, 4th generation Apple TV. iOS 9.3 introduces new features including Night Shift (which adjusts lighting of the device based on the time of day), improved security for the Notes app (adds password protection & security with Touch ID) along with improvements & enhancements to News, CarPlay and Health. tvOS 9.2 introduces folders to help organize apps, adds support for bluetooth keyboards as an input method and adds dictation which gives users the ability to dictate usernames, passwords and search criteria without the need to type them in.

The Apple Watch received an update in the form of a price drop. Apple Watch now starts at $299. Cook also announced a new “Spring Lineup” of Apple Watch bands which include new colors for the sports and leather bands. In addition, a new woven nylon band is now available and comes in a variety of vibrant colors. The new bands aim to accommodate owners who like to periodically change out their bands.

The two “hottest” new items in today’s event (in line with the rumors we had been hearing for weeks) were the new 4-inch iPhone SE and the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The iPhone SE caters to Apple consumers who enjoy the smaller form factor iPhone. While the iPhone SE resembles the iPhone 5s, its internal components better resemble that of the flagship iPhone 6s series. The iPhone SE includes a 4-inch Retina Display, 64-bit A9 chip & M9 motion coprocessor (same as the iPhone 6s), 12MP iSight camera with Focus Pixels and True Tone Flash, a FaceTime HD camera with Retina Flash, support for Live Photos, improved battery life (over the iPhone 5s), faster LTE & Wi-Fi, supports 4K video capture & Apple Pay and much more. The new iPhone SE comes in Gold, Rose Gold, Space Gray and Silver. It will be available in two sizes – 16GB and 64GB and will start at $399. Pre-orders will start on March 24th and the iPhone SE will be available starting March 31st.

As for the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, it includes True Tone Display (which uses advance four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color & intensity of the display to match the light in your environment), a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536 (the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a screen resolution of 2732 x 2048), four speaker audio, 64-bit A9X chip and M9 coprocessor, up to 10 hours of battery life, support for Apple Keyboard and Apple Pencil, 12MP iSight camera with Focus Pixels and True Tone Flash, 5MP FaceTime HD camera with Retina Flash (the 12-9-inch iPad Pro has an 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera), supports Live Photos, 4K video and much more. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes in Silver, Gold, Space Gray and Rose Gold. It will be available in Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models in three sizes – 32GB, 128GB and 256GB (also note the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also now available in a 256GB size for $1,099). The starting price of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be $599 for Wi-Fi only models and $729 for Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available for pre-orders starting on March 24th and will be available starting March 31st.

We should mention that both the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro include the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and lightning connector (so don’t worry, all your current headphones & earphones are still compatible!).

To watch the entire keynote presentation for today’s Apple Special Event and/or for more information on today’s product releases and updates, visit Apple’s website at http://www.apple.com.