Earlier today, Apple hosted its “Let Us Loop You In” event, where the company’s executives took the stage and not only announced new initiatives, but also new and noteworthy products.
The event was pretty low-key in its presentation, lasting almost exactly an hour, and saw the company double-down on its environmental efforts, an expansion of ResearchKit, as well as new products for Apple fans to buy later this month. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened today:
New Apple Watch Bands and Price Drop
Apple took some time to announce brand new Apple Watch bands, both for the Sport and the standard Watch variants. That includes a brand new Woven Nylon Band, a new Space Black Milanese Loop, and other colors for the Watch Sport as well. Apple calls it the “Spring lineup,” and the options are available now.
In addition, Apple also announced that the Apple Watch now starts at $299.
- Apple Drops Apple Watch Prices Now Starts at $299, New Bands: Woven Nylon Band, Space Black Milanese Loop, and more
New 4-inch iPhone SE
Following the brief talk on the Apple Watch, the company turned its attention to the iPhone, and announced a brand new member of the family: The iPhone SE. This is a device that bridges the gap between the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6s, bringing the former device’s design aesthetic forward, while including the majority of the features from the latter handset’s stable. That includes a 4-inch display, A9 processor under the hood, a 12MP camera, and more.
The iPhone SE is priced starting at $399 for the 16GB model, and $499 for the 64GB variant. Pre-orders start on March 24, and it goes on sale beginning March 30.
- iPhone SE Pricing and Availability
- iPhone SE Tech Specs
- iPhone SE Hands-On Roundup: Familiar Yet Mighty
- What Is the Difference between iPhone SE and iPhone 5s?
- What Is the Difference between iPhone SE and iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus?
New 9.7-Inch iPad Pro
The oft-rumored next iteration within the iPad lineup, originally believed to be the iPad Air 3, ultimately came to life as the New 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Apple managed to stuff the new features it launched with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro months prior into the smaller 7.9-inch frame of the new iPad Pro, including four speakers, the A9X processor, a more advanced display, and a 12MP rear camera with True Tone flash.
The new iPad Pro goes on sale March 31, with pre-orders kicking off on March 24. The 32GB model is priced at $599, while the 128GB variant is priced at $799, and the 256GB model is priced at $899. At the same time, Apple knocked the price of the iPad Air 2 down to $399.
- 9.7-Inch iPad Pro Release Date and Availability
- 9.7-Inch iPad Pro Tech Specs
- 9.7-Inch iPad Pro in Pictures
- Apple launches Lightning to USB-C cable, starts at $25 for faster 12.9-inch iPad Pro charging
- 9.7-Inch iPad Pro Hands-on Roundup: A Very Powerful iPad
- What Is the Difference between 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro?
Apple also announced that it is getting closer to its goal of 100 percent renewable energy powering its retail stores and offices around the world, currently sitting at 93% globally. In the United States and China, though, Apple has reached that goal of 100% renewable energy running its facilities.
The company also unveiled CareKit, which is an extension of ResearchKit. With the new platform, it allows patients to keep track of several different health-related issues, including an out-patient checkup list post-operation, or seeing if medications and exercise are helping with Parkinson’s disease.
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, also took a few moments to address the issue of encryption and security, as the company is currently embroiled in a longstanding battle with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the topics. Cook said that Apple “will not shrink” from the responsibility of protecting its user base.
After the event ended, Apple followed up with the release of updated software for tvOS, watchOS, OS X, and iOS:
- Apple releases iOS 9.3 with Night Shift
- Apple releases OS X 10.11.4 with Live Photos support
- Apple releases tvOS 9.2 with more Siri integration
- Apple releases watchOS 2.2
Apple had a quiet event that focused on initiatives and products, with the two new devices smaller variants of already released models. Still, the iPhone SE and new 9.7-inch iPad Pro are obviously devices built specifically for users clamoring for those specific use cases.