If you’ve been paying attention to the ongoing speculation about Apple’s plans for its next iPhone, you probably know that there have been plenty of rumors about the new iPhone and iPad that Apple is expected to launch in March, the details of which seem to change weekly based on whom you ask. But if you haven’t been keeping up, you’re probably wondering: What products is Apple going to unveil, and when can you expect to hear about them?
Apple is reportedly introducing a new 4-inch iPhone
Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone model has been called by many names in the rumors surrounding its upcoming launch, including the iPhone 6c, the iPhone 5se, and now the iPhone SE. Mark Gurman, who has reported since early in 2016 that Apple plans to introduce a small iPhone called the iPhone 5se, recently learned that Apple is likely to drop the “5” from the device’s name and simply call it the iPhone SE. If that proves true, the new 4-inch model would be the first iPhone upgrade without a number in its name, which would logically distance it from the yearly upgrade cycle.
Gurman writes that calling the device the iPhone SE would make sense in the context of a smartphone market that’s moving toward larger smartphones; the move could also prevent the confusion that might arise if Apple introduces an iPhone 5 variant in the midst of the iPhone 6/iPhone 6s life cycle. He reports that the iPhone SE will look identical to the iPhone 5s with the exception of slightly curved edges around the sides. The device will reportedly feature an A9 processor for fast performance, an M9 chip for fitness-tracking and “Hey Siri” support, the ability to take Live Photos, an upgraded 8MP camera system, an NFC chip for Apple Pay, and Apple’s latest hardware for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular connectivity. Apple is expected to offer the phone in 16GB an 64GB capacities and to add the Rose Gold color option it introduced with the iPhone 6s.
Apple is expected to launch a new iPad Pro, not a new iPad Air
While it’s been extensively reported that Apple will introduce the new iPad Air 3 alongside the new 4-inch iPhone, Gurman recently wrote that Apple will launch a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro instead. He posits that just as the MacBook Pro comes in 13-inch and 15-inch models, the iPad Pro will soon come in 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch variants. The move would square with Apple’s choice to forego calling the new 12-inch MacBook a new MacBook Air, despite developing the device as an apparent successor to the MacBook Air.
According to Gurman, the smaller iPad Pro will have features and specifications that are nearly identical to those found in the larger model, including the A9X processor and RAM upgrades that Apple introduced with the 12.9-inch model. The device would also include the larger iPad Pro’s updated display technology, which would enable it to support the Apple Pencil. It’s also likely to feature the Smart Connector and to be accompanied by the launch of a smaller Smart Keyboard cover attachment. Like the larger iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch version could integrate quad stereo speakers, and could come in the same storage capacities. However, its pricing is likely to more closely follow the pricing of the iPad Air models that it will succeed than the pricing of the larger iPad Pro.
A smaller iPad Pro would help Apple to simplify its iPad lineup. Word of a smaller iPad Pro coincides with rumors that Apple is slowing down production of older iPad mini and original iPad Air models, which would mean that the iPad mini 2 and the first-generation iPad Air would likely be discontinued upon the launch of the smaller iPad Pro. Also expected at the March event are multiple new Apple Watch band options, including a new line of nylon straps, though a new Apple Watch isn’t expected to be released until September.
Apple’s event is reportedly happening the week of March 21
It’s been reported that Apple will introduce its new devices on March 15 and then release them as soon as March 18. However, as Kara Swisher reports for Re/Code, the latest word from a number of sources is that the event will not be held on March 15. It’s now expected to take place the week of March 21, though it’s unclear whether the event was moved, or if this is the event timing that Apple had originally planned.
Apple Insider reports that the event may be held on Tuesday, March 22, a full seven days later than had been previously rumored. BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski, on the other hand, reports that the event will be held on March 21, one day prior to the company’s March 22 showdown with the government over an order that would compel it to help the FBI access the data stored on the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino suspects.
Sources tell BuzzFeed that the event will be smaller than Apple’s last event, which was held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Paczkowski reports that that means it could occur at Apple’s Town Hall in Cupertino, which is the company’s preferred location for “announcements like these.” As Raymond Wang reports for Mashable, Apple will likely send out invitations for the event in the coming days, which will serve to confirm the date and venue.