CUPERTINO (CBS SF) — Apple held a special event to give journalists and industry insiders a preview of the company’s newest products Monday. The biggest takeaway from this special event was the word ‘affordability.’ Just about every Apple product has been priced to sell.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage in Steve Jobs-style and welcomed journalists, bloggers and tech fans to the company headquarters in Cupertino.
The biggest announcement was the new, much anticipated 4-inch iPhone SE.
Apple has already sold over 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015. According to Apple VP Greg Joswiak, users seem to appreciate the small, compact design.
The newest iPhone SE is the most powerful 4-inch phone ever. Its 64-bit A9 chip has the same graphics performance as the iPhone 6s. The 12 MP insight camera features slo-mo, captures live photos, and a panorama feature up to 64 MP. The front-facing camera has a flash now. It can also capture and edit 4K video.
The iPhone SE supports hands-free “Hey Siri” and its hi-speed wi-fi is three times faster than the older 5s. It will run IOS 9.3, whigh has’nightshift,’ a dimming feature that eliminates sleep-stealing blue light so users can rest better at night.
Apple has added rose gold to the palette of available iPhone colors.
The price for the iPhone SE starts at $399. Apple will begin taking orders on March 24 and shipping on March 31.
Another new addition to the Apple family is the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
“We believe that iPad is the perfect expression of the future of computing,” said Cook.
Like its competitor the Microsoft Surface Pro, this newest Apple tablet is being marketed as a genuine laptop replacement that is as good for gaming as it is for professional applications.
Phil Schiller, SVP of Worldwide Marketing went so far as to call it, “the ultimate replacement for all of those old PCs in the world.”
The new iPad Pro is smaller than its 12″ predecessor, measuring only 9.7 inches. It also features Retina display, 4 speaker audio, and supports the Apple pencil as well as a scaled-down version of the Smart Keyboard cover. It runs on a 64-bit A9X chip, and boasts higher brightness and always-on “Hey Siri.”
The ultra-thin 6.1 mm tablet has a 12 MP insight camera, and supports a USB camera adaptor and SD card reader to transfer photos. It comes in four colors–silver, black, gold and the new rose gold and weighs in at just under a pound.
Like all the products announced Monday, the iPad Pro is priced to sell, with an entry level cost that undercuts the competition. It starts at $599 for the 32-gigabyte version, $749 for 128 GB, and $899 for 256 GB. Apple starts taking orders on March 24, and ships on March 31.
Next in the lineup of new, affordably priced products is the Apple Watch.
Now you can wrap one around your wrist for just $299. There are higher-end models and add-ons that can drive up the cost, but this new price still represents a $50 reduction. Apple has added an array of new colors, and a new band made of woven nylon.
Cook told the audience this would probably be the last product introduction in the Cupertino headquarter’s Town Hall. He wrapped up the day’s event with an invitation.
“We’ve had lots of great memories here,” said Cook. “Next year, in 2017 we’re looking forward to moving to our new campus and our new theatre there.”
“We expect that we’re going to have many, many opportunities to invite all of you to join us there. We’re looking forward to moving and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next 40 years and share it with you.”
CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.