Apple will be holding a major unveiling event in March with the intention of rolling out several new products. But it seems that the Apple Watch 2 may not be among the revelations. 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman suggests that Apple will hold back on releasing its next generation smartwatch, and that we might have to wait until later in 2016 to see the second iteration of the Apple Watch.
iPad Air 3 coming
However, one product that should be unveiled at this event anticipated for a California venue is the iPad Air 3. The latest release in the iPad tablet series will be extremely welcome, although Apple probably realizes that it is likely to experience diminishing returns in this department. The tablet marketplace has been stagnating over the last couple of years, and despite the introduction of the iPad Pro, it is unclear how Apple hopes to stimulate the marketplace once more.
It is believed that Apple has been testing various versions of the iPod Air 3 that are compatible with the Apple Pencil stylus that debuted last year. However, Apple is keeping pretty quiet on the subject of whether it will manufacture a new version of the Apple Pencil for the 9.7-inch iPad Air 3. The Apple Pencil was unveiled last year as part of the iPad Pro package, with this high-spec tablet being significantly larger than the iPad Air 3 is expected to be.
Other possible specs for the iPad Air 3 include quad stereo speakers that are found on the existing iPad Pro. Some sources have also suggested that the tablet may come complete with an LED flash in order to enable the camera to shoot more capably in low-light conditions. Schematics have already been leaked suggesting that this is the case.
An update to the iPad Air would represent the first time that the medium-sized tablet had been upgraded since October 2014. Apple only recently indicated that iPad sales have fallen by around 25 per cent from this time last year, and it is thought that the lack of an update to this most popular iPad models could have played a major role in this figure. With Apple testing a new version of its operating system with a Classroom application, with the intention of selling more tablets to schools, it is clear that the consumer electronics giant intends to address this declining marketplace in 2016.
iPhone 5SE expected
Elsewhere, the other major release anticipated for the smartphone market is the four-inch smartphone that has been hotly tipped for some months. The latest word on the street is that this version of the iconic iPhone will be called the iPhone 5SE when it is released, although some analysts have queried the logic of this conclusion.
If Apple is to make a significant splash in the marketplace with this smaller version of the iPhone range, it must surely present the device as something new and exciting. Considering that Apple already released the iPhone 6S last year, it would be surprising to many people if this new iPhone device was now given a preceding number to existing releases. However, analysts point out that the SE in the title of the iPhone 5SE stands for Special Edition, so this could at least make some marketing sense.
Regardless of this, the iPhone 5SE Is now anticipated in several quarters to be the likely title for this handset, and Gurman cites sources close to Apple which have provided more information on this unit. In particular, it is suggested that the iPhone 5SE will feature a speedy A9 processor, with an M9 chip which will support always-on Siri activation. This will make it possible for iPhone 5SE users to activate the personal assistant using solely voice commands. Such technology is becoming increasingly important, and indeed the personal assistant niche is a common selling point of contemporary consumer electronics.
Apple Pay emphasis
Another major emphasis of the iPhone 5SE will be its compatibility with Apple Pay, as Apple steps up its efforts in the mobile payment marketplace. Naturally on this basis, the phone will feature an NFC sensor, and Apple is likely to strongly promote the Apple Pay capabilities of the iPhone 5SE in marketing when it is released.
Other iPhone specs
The iPhone 5SE will also probably include an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera, coupled with a 1.2-megapixel front-facing selfie capturer. Bluetooth 4.2, VoLTE, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi will also be included, and the device will also be able to display Live Photos, but not record them. 16 and 64 GB versions of the smartphone are anticipated, with Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold and a $449 price tag mooted.
Apple Watch 2 may not be unveiled at this event
Although it is believed that Apple will not be unveiling the Apple Watch 2 at this event, this does not mean that it has nothing planned on the smartwatch front. Reports indicate that Apple will indeed reveal new Apple Watch models at the event, but that these will not be second-generation devices. Instead, new iterations of the original Apple Watch will be unveiled, with multiple new colors for the rubber Sport central to this. There will also be additional colors for the line of Hermes bands, a black version of the Milanese Loop, and an additional band line constructed from an entirely new material.
As to what we can expect from the second generation of the Apple Watch, This is still very much open to speculation. It has been anticipated in particular that Apple will enhance the health-tracking capabilities of the Apple Watch 2 when it is ultimately released. And although this latest report suggests that the device will be delayed for sometime, we should still expect to see it at some point in 2016, as Apple attempts to establish its smartwatch as a relatively mainstream device.