The biggest event of the consumer electronics year so far is about to take place, with Apple hosting its major technology unveiling conference on March 21. There are some huge device releases expected for this particular conference, with both the iPhone SE and iPad Air 3 / iPad Pro 2 earmarked for this date.
It is also possible that Apple could have a couple of surprises for us, and although the general consensus is that the Apple Watch 2 will probably be delayed for the second half of 2016, it is possible that this could be one of the devices featured.
So there will be a huge amount of attention on the event in California, as fans of Apple look on with interest at what the market-leading corporation has planned for the early months of the calendar year. And, thankfully, Apple makes it considerably more convenient to view this event online than it would be to travel to California in order to be present in person.
Apple will be streaming the March 21 event via its website, with the conference due to begin at 10 a.m. PDT. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the event is ultimately late, as this is usual procedure for such a massive media conference.
The broadcasting of the event will be relayed on Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology, which means as usual that the event will be viewed largely by existing Apple consumers. HTTP Live Streaming is only compatible with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch devices running at least iOS 7.0, Mac computers running at least OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.5 and Apple’s Safari browser version 6.0.5. However, PC users running the Microsoft Edge browser which is part of Windows 10 will also be able to view the stream, as this is also compatible with the software.
Those wishing to view the stream in more traditional fashion can do so via their television sets by utilizing the current generation Apple TV set-top box. And consumers of older versions of the Apple TV software can also use them to watch the Apple broadcast as long as they are running at least version 6.2 of the software.
In order to serve the needs of Apple TV viewers, Apple has even added a new Events app with the sole purpose of boosting the functionality of Apple TV for this unveiling. It is important to note, though, that the Events app will not be displayed automatically on the Home screen of the device, and it is instead necessary to specifically download it. Accessing the vOS App Store between now and Monday is thus essential for those wanting to get the best Apple TV experience.
iPhone SE release
Of all the devices that are likely to be unveiled in Cupertino, the iPhone SE is certainly the most significant. Of course, the iPhone range is responsible for the majority of revenue that Apple accumulates, but this latest iPhone release is also particularly important for the future of the company in several ways.
Firstly, Apple predicted that the number of iPhone units that it shifts during 2016 will decline from last year. Although the numbers involved are extremely small, it would still represent the first time that the number of iPhones sold by Apple had declined since it was first released back in 2007.
But Apple has frequently underestimated the number of iPhone handsets that it will sell in more prosperous times, so it is possible that it has once again made an inaccurate approximation this year. And the new iPhone SE could potentially play a role in shifting more iPhone units than even Apple anticipates. This would certainly be good news for a corporation that finds its share price and market capitalization sliding significantly from the peak values that were achieved last year.
Additionally, the iPhone SE is intended to be a more affordable version of the premium iPhone unit that will play a significant role for Apple in emerging markets. Apple has had to endure the fact that iPhone sales are virtually stagnant in the western world and in the key United States marketplace, and emerging economies in East Asia, and China in particular, have become extremely critical for Apple if it is to demonstrate significant growth in its key product lines.
While countries such as China unquestionably demonstrated that they have a growing middle-class, the consumer marketplace is nonetheless somewhat different in these nations compared to Apple’s western home. A more affordable iPhone SE would be particularly attractive to Chinese consumers, and it is in the world’s most populous nation where Apple is now most dependent for future growth.
New revenue stream
Another theme of 2016 for Apple will be whether or not it can establish new product niches, and two devices expected for the March 21 unveiling will play a role in this process. The iPhone SE itself can clearly be recognized as a new product niche, and Apple will be hoping to demonstrate in 2016 that the Apple Watch can become a truly dynamic and mainstream device itself.
Although the consensus of opinion is that the Apple Watch 2 will not launch in California, the additional band options that Apple is expected to reveal for the original Apple Watch will be the first step in proving that the smartwatch can truly reach the mass market. Arguably the inability of Apple to demonstrate that consumers are enamored with the concept of the Apple Watch played a significant role in the diminishing of its share price over the last twelve months.
So there will be a great deal to look forward to for Apple fans, and it is refreshing for consumer electronics followers to live in an era in which such events can be followed as they happen.