Apple announces four-inch iPhone SE and smaller iPad Pro

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Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at Apple’s Cupertino campus to introduce a smaller, four-inch version of the iPhone, called the iPhone SE.

The key marketing words for Apple products have usually been thinner, faster, bigger. IPhones have grown up over the past nine years, going from the original 3.5-inch display to the iPhone 6S Plus’ 5.5-inch screen. Apple went in the opposite direction and announced a new iPhone that’s actually smaller.

 Cook also introduced a new iPad Pro, new Watch bands and some software updates. And he kicked off the event by previewing Apple’s court battle with the FBI on Tuesday over iPhone encryption.

The big announcement of the day was the smaller iPhone SE — a 4-inch iPhone with updated internals.

The big announcement of the day was the smaller iPhone SE -- a 4-inch iPhone with updated internals.
The big announcement of the day was the smaller iPhone SE — a 4-inch iPhone with updated internals.

It looks like the iPhone 5S, Apple’s last 4-inch phone released in 2014, but has the same processor and graphics performance as the iPhone 6S. Inside is Apple’s A9 chip, which doubles the speed of the iPhone 5S. It can use Hey Siri, the hands-free voice assistant, has a 12MP camera, and shoots 4K video. There is an NFC chip inside so the phone can work with Apple Pay.

The smaller iPhone is an attempt to appeal to fans of more pocketable devices. Last year, Apple sold 30 million phones that were 4-inches and smaller. A chunk of Apple customers have resisted upgrading to the recent 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch smartphones. According to Mixpanel, a third of iPhone owners are still using a device with a 4-inch screen or smaller.

The 16 GB iPhone SE starts at US$399 but will be free with a two-year contract or US$17 a month on an installment plan. The company will start taking orders for the phone on March 24, and it will be available on March 31.

New 9.7-inch iPad Pro

Apple’s other big hardware news is that it took the iPad Pro and make it smaller. Also called the iPad Pro, the new 9.7-inch version includes many of the same powerful features as the larger 12.9-inch Pro model.

ipadInside is the same A9x chip. The screen is less reflective but brighter and has more color saturation, for all those pros using it as a primary work device. It has a true tone display that measures the color temperature of ambient light with new light sensors and adjusts the screen accordingly.

The smaller iPad Pro works with the Apple Pencil stylus and new line of snap on keyboards the company introduced in with the original iPad Pro. People really like using the cameras on their tablets, for some reason, so the new iPad Pro has a 12-megapixel camera and a LED back-facing flash.

The tablet starts at US$599 for the 32 GB Wi-Fi version and US$749 for the 129 GB model. In a first, Apple is offering a new larger 256 GB option that starts at US$899. It comes in silver, gold, space gray and rose gold. (CNN)

Apple Watch gets cheaper, more colourful
Apple Watch gets cheaper, more colourful

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