With Apple making preparations for its product line in 2016, it is widely expected that the consumer electronics giant will release both a new iPhone unit and iPad tablet in the second quarter of this year. Apple will update its iPad range by releasing the iPad Air 3, unveiling it at a special event predicted for March, when the iPhone 5SE will also finally emerge.

iPhone 5SE

New iPhone 5SE model expected in March

For those not in the know, the SE in the name of the new iPhone variant stands for Special Edition, indicating that this will be a departure from previous iPhone releases. This will be an affordable version of the iPhone series, most notable for the 4-inch display that has been linked with this new variant for sometime. The intention is to provide an entry-level model that will appeal to more casual consumers in the Western world, as well as increasing Apple’s market penetration in the East Asian marketplace in particular.

By comparison, the iPad Air 3 may not be the premium version of the iconic Apple tablet, but it is certainly not an affordable version. This line of the tablet has been established over the last few years as an outstanding performer, and the iPad Air 3 will be expected to deliver outstanding specifications, even if it will not be as expensive or perhaps as powerful as the iPad Pro.

When new Apple products emerge, both existing Apple consumers and people who are generally interested in consumer electronics tend to get on board with the new technology. Nothing creates a buzz like new Apple products, as the frequent images of people queueing around the world to get their hands on a new iPhone unit will testify. But although the second generation of the Apple Watch is not expected to be released at this time, consumers will still have a choice between a brand new Apple smartphone and tablet.

Consumers considering the iPhone 5SE will also have to ask themselves whether they want to splash out on this new smartphone now, or instead wait for the premium iPhone 7 that is expected for September. All iPhone units perform capably, and the 4-inch variant of the iPhone series is expected to be an affordable unit, not a budget or bargain basement performer.

So this will still be an excellent iPhone handset, and one that delivers superb functionality based on the early rumors about the handset. But it should also be born in mind that the iPhone 5SE will not feature many of the revolutionary functions that are expected to form part of the iPhone 7 armory. Not least among these is the fact that the 3D Touch system which debuted last year is not expected to be included in this new smartphone.

What Apple fans will get for their money is essentially a pared down version of the iPhone 6, with some of the specs, features and functionality from last year’s iPhone 6S included. This smartphone can be seen as a smaller hybrid version of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S, with also some new technological benefits and improvements emanating from the latest version of the iOS operating system.

New product line

It is difficult to compare the iPhone 5SE to existing models, as it will represent something of a departure for Apple. It has been a while since the corporation released a more affordable version of its iconic iPhone, and additionally previous handsets were significantly different in design terms to how the iPhone 5SE is expected to be presented. While colorful, plasticky units were the norm in previous Apple releases of this nature, the consensus of opinion is that Apple will scrap this approach in favor of a design that somewhat resembles other major iPhone releases.

Additionally, Apple has not produced a 4-inch version of its smartphone for many years, despite the widely reported suggestion that this sort of smartphone size was preferred by founder and CEO Steve Jobs. So assessing the merits of the iPhone 5SE is very much based on the individual qualities of the unit, and consumers will have to ask themselves whether they are happy to accept the smaller screen in the unit, and a slightly reduced spec list. On the other hand, this compact smartphone may suit certain individuals, and the price tag may absolutely fit their pocket as well.

iPad Air 3

iPad Air 3 updated

By contrast, the iPad Air 3 has been linked with a wide variety of new features, and is building on the outstanding technology that was included in the iPad Air 2. There is also expected to be a redesign of the unit, with reports suggesting that it will be significantly slimmer than its predecessor. Other new physical features will include a smart connector, enabling a smart keyboard cover to be attached to the left-hand unit of the device.

Apple is also rumored to be working on a four-speaker audio setup for the iPad Air 3, as the consumer electronics behemoth begins to place an emphasis on music playing capabilities in its device range. This will also address the comparative audio weakness of the previous iPad releases, which have been attributed to the two speakers in the unit being placed adjacent to one another.

In addition to these new features, Apple is also expected it to bump up the screen resolution, processor power and photographic capabilities of the unit when the iPad Air 3 is released. However, key Apple analysts have suggested that 3D Touch will not be included in this particular unit.

It is possible that Apple will also consider increasing the screen of the iPad Air 3, and that this will probably be achieved while retaining a similar unit size by reducing the bezels in the tablet.

While consumers could opt to purchase both the iPhone 5SE and iPad Air 3, those choosing one or the other could focus on the particular qualities of the two devices. The iPhone 5SE is perfect for someone looking for an affordable way to acquire their first Apple device as a taster, while the iPad Air 3 will be a significant upgrade to what is an already established tablet range.


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