Apple will be holding a major unveiling event on March 21, during which it be revealing some of its major devices for the coming months. This will undoubtedly be one of the consumer electronics highlights of the year, but what can we actually expect from the market-leading corporation?
A small iPhone has been rumored for well over a year, and it may finally come to fruition at the March 21 event. Apple will be releasing this four-inch iPhone SE with emerging markets particularly in mind, while it will also be an affordable variant of the premium iPhone in the Western marketplace. While a smaller iPhone was reported to be an Apple in the eye (no pun intended…) of late founder and CEO of the company, Steve Jobs, it will also serve an easily identifiable commercial purpose for the company as well.
Aside from the four-inch display, the affordable iPhone variant has been linked with some pretty nifty specifications and design elements. Firstly, it is strongly expected that the iPhone SE will resemble the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s in terms of physical design. Previous affordable Apple variants have featured a colorful and plasticky visage, but this is extremely unlikely to be repeated with the iPhone SE. The market has simply moved on, as has the fashion in smartphones, and a primarily metallic design is almost a certainty.
The display of the iPhone SE is expected to be akin to that of the recent iPhone 6s in terms of resolution, which would mean that this affordable iPhone would actually have a superior pixels per inch rating compare to the existing premium handset. Specs for the iPhone SE have also been reported to be somewhere between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, suggesting that this will be a pretty powerful performer considering that it is expected to come at a very competitive price point.
Another interesting aspect of the iPhone SE is that Apple will arm the device with a main camera of equal quality to the existing iPhone 6s. Thus, an eight-megapixel rear-facing snapper will be matched with a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. Apple may particularly emphasize the photographic capabilities of the device, aiming it at youthful Apple fans who wish to purchase an affordable picture taking device.
This quality will likely be allied to an emphasis on Apple Pay, with the hope that Apple can convince younger consumers in particular to participate in the mobile payment system. Apple Pay has yet to become part of everyday life to the degree that Apple is hoping, but the mobile payments marketplace is widely predicted by analysts to become a major growth engine of consumer electronics in the coming years.
Chinese manufacturers have reported that the iPhone SE will sport a 1,642 mAh battery, suggesting that the battery life of the device will be significantly improved over the iPhone 5c. This has been an area where Apple has been criticized previously, and the California-based corporation may be sensitive about improving this issue in what will be a mass market product.
The iPhone SE will undoubtedly be the highlight of the March 21 event, as Apple attempts to improve its penetration in the affordable niche in the Western marketplace, while further extending its successes in China.
iPad Air 3
The other major device that is expected to be unveiled on March 21 is the iPad Air 3; although there are some doubts regarding the branding of this particular tablet. It has been suggested in some quarters that Apple could instead opt to refer to this device as another iPad Pro, as the professional range of its devices is expanded in 2016. Indeed, some media has already linked Apple with the production of an iPhone Pro before the year is out, and branding this tablet as the iPad Pro would certainly correlate with this ethos.
Regardless of this, the iPad Air 3 is expected to be an extremely powerful tablet performer, at least if early reports on the subject are to be believed. The tablet has been linked with a 4K resolution display, suggesting that Apple is intending to deliver a screen equal to that of its iMac desktop range. This will be particularly impressive considering that the iPad Air 3 is expected to feature a smaller 9.7-inch display than the existing iPad Pro, meaning that the tablet competitor will have a superb pixels per inch rating.
It is also expected that this new tablet will support the Apple Pencil peripheral that was announced last year. The emphasis with the iPad Air 3 / iPad Pro is expected to be placed on the Apple Pencil device, rather than incorporating the 3D Touch system that has also been integrated into the iPhone range.
Reports have also indicated that Apple is currently preparing a smaller version of the Smart Keyboard attachment for the iPad Air 3, and that the tablet will feature the larger iPad Pro’s quad stereo speakers. Apple is particularly focusing on music this year, as it attempts to make its acquisition of Beats pay off more handsomely.
There is also an emphasis on producing devices with serious productivity potential, and the Smart Keyboard certainly fits into this mentality. Apple has already been hugely successful in targeting corporate consumers, but there is a feeling that the iPad really could be a crossover device that appeals to the business community as much as consumers.
Apple will also upgrade the camera in the iPad Air 3 to 12-megapixels, as it continues to improve the photographic capabilities of its mainstream device ranges.
Apple Watch 2
Unfortunately, for those hoping that Apple will update its Apple Watch smartwatch at the March 21 event, this seems increasingly unlikely. The consensus of opinion is that Apple will unveil the Apple Watch 2 during the second half of 2016, possibly in collaboration with the release of iOS 10 (Although the Apple Watch 2 will get its own specialist watchOS system). So don’t expect to see this improvement on the original Apple Watch appear on March 21; Apple is instead more likely to simply unveil some new strap options for the original.