What to Expect at Apple's 'Let Us Loop You In' Media Event

Apple will hold its first event of 2016 next Monday, and while it won't be as exciting as last year's event that saw the launch of the Apple Watch, Apple is planning to introduce several new products. Headlining the event will be the 4-inch iPhone SE, Apple's first 4-inch iPhone since 2013.

appleinvitemarch21
Joining the iPhone SE will be a new 9.7-inch iPad, a range of new Apple Watch bands, and software updates for iOS 9, watchOS 2, tvOS, and OS X El Capitan.

iPhone SE

Apple's 4-inch iPhone, the "iPhone SE," is modeled after the iPhone 5s. It is said to be close in size and shape to the iPhone 5s, with the same general dimensions, but rumors say it also includes a display that curves very slightly at the edges, similar to but not as dramatic as the iPhone 6s.

Renderings, cases, and design drawings have disagreed somewhat on the design of the device, with some depicting an aluminum body identical to the iPhone 5s and others depicting more rounded edges like the iPhone 6s to match the rumors of a curved display, leading to questions about the final design of the device.

iphonese-thumb8

A rendering of what the iPhone SE could look like based on current rumors

Because of these mixed rumors and a lack of part leaks, we still don't know for sure exactly what the iPhone SE will look like, but the most recent information has leaned towards an iPhone 5s-style design.

spigeniphonese

iPhone SE renderings created by case maker Spigen

While the iPhone SE may have an external design that matches the iPhone 5s, its internals are modern and up to date. It's said to include the same A9 processor found in the iPhone 6s, along with either an 8 or 12-megapixel rear camera that supports Live Photos. With the A9, which includes an integrated M9 motion coprocessor, the iPhone SE will support always-on "Hey Siri" functionality.

3D Touch will not be included, because it is a flagship feature of the iPhone 6s, but the iPhone SE will have a Touch ID-enabled Home button and an NFC chip for use with Apple Pay.

It will also include the latest iPhone features like Bluetooth 4.2, fast 802.11ac WiFi and VoLTE. It may also include a 1,642 mAh battery, larger than the battery in the iPhone 5s. The iPhone SE will be available in the same colors as the iPhone 5s - Silver, Gold, Space Gray, and Rose Gold. As for pricing, it the entry-level device may be priced at $400 to $500.

9.7-inch iPad

Apple didn't refresh the 9.7-inch iPad in September when it introduced the iPad Pro and iPad mini 4, so the tablet is due for an update. While the last two 9.7-inch iPads have been branded as the "iPad Air," rumors suggest Apple is retiring the iPad Air line.

The new 9.7-inch iPad is said to be branded as an "iPad Pro," joining the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Apple's iPad line will resemble the MacBook Pro line, which is also sold in multiple sizes under the same name.

9.7-inch-iPad-Pro-case

A case designed for the new 9.7-inch iPad

As the name implies, the 9.7-inch iPad will adopt many features from the existing iPad Pro, but the general size and shape will continue to be similar to the iPad Air 2. It will include a four-speaker layout for louder, more immersive audio, with two speakers positioned at the top of the device and two speakers positioned at the bottom.

The 9.7-inch iPad will essentially serve as a smaller iPad Pro. It will have a Smart Connector allowing it to support accessories like the Smart Keyboard, and it will feature the same display improvements to enable Apple Pencil functionality. A powerful A9X processor will be included, and it may have an upgraded 12-megapixel camera, the same found in the iPhone 6s. The new iPad may also be the first of Apple's iPads to have a rear-facing flash.

Pricing on the iPad is said to start at $599 for a 32GB Wi-Fi only model, with a 128GB model and cellular models also available for purchase at higher price points.

Apple Watch Bands

Apple won't introduce a new Apple Watch at its spring event, but we are expecting to see new Apple Watch bands. Existing bands like the Sport Band, Modern Buckle, and Leather Loop may be available in new colors, and rumors suggest Apple has been working on a new Apple Watch band made from nylon.

Also in the works is a Space Black Milanese Loop to match the Space Black Stainless Steel Apple Watch.

space black milanese loop band

Software Updates

Apple has been working on software updates for Mac, iOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV 4 since January 11, and it's likely all four updates will be available shortly after the March event.

iOS 9.3
iOS 9.3 is the biggest update to iOS 9 yet, introducing a new Night Shift feature that cuts down on blue light exposure in the evening for better sleep. For iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users, several apps have new Quick Actions in iOS 9.3.

Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store, and iTunes Store all offer new or improved features when pressed on the Home screen. Settings, for example, offers quick access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Battery settings, while the App Store offers an option to update all apps.


Several apps have been updated, and there are additional new features. Apple News has support for in-line video, better personalized recommendations, and a landscape view on the iPhone, while Health has an Apple Watch-style "Activity" view. Notes has an option to password protect individual entries with passcode, Verizon subscribers gain access to Wi-Fi calling, and there are new features for education users.

watchOS 2.2
Along with iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2 introduces support for connecting multiple Apple Watches to a single iPhone. The update also includes an update for the built-in Maps app. Along with a revamped interface and buttons for accessing quick directions to home and work, Maps now supports the Nearby feature first introduced with iOS 9, allowing users to to quickly locate local points of interest.

OS X 10.11.4
OS X 10.11.4 is a minor update to OS X El Capitan, focusing mainly on under-the-hood performance improvements and updates.

New features include support for password protected notes and importing notes from Evernote in the Notes app. OS X 10.11.4 also brings support for viewing Live Photos directly within the Messages app.

tvOS 9.2
tvOS 9.2 is a significant update for the tvOS operating system, bringing several features that have been sorely missing from the fourth-generation Apple TV. It includes support for Bluetooth keyboards and Dictation, introducing two new text entry methods for inputting usernames and passwords.


The update also includes support for grouping apps into folders on the Home screen like on iOS devices, and there's a new look for the App Switcher interface. In the Photos app, there's now support for iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos, and there's a firmware update for the Apple TV remote that adds improved motion sensor performance and support for additional sound bar and receiver hardware.

Perhaps the most useful feature in tvOS 9.2 is Siri search for the App Store, allowing users to ask Siri to find specific apps or categories of apps, such as games. tvOS 9.2 also includes support for MapKit so developers can incorporate maps into their tvOS maps and there are new language options for Siri.

Other Possibilities

Many of Apple's notebooks are due for a refresh, including the Retina MacBook, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro, but there have been no rumors suggesting we will see updates at the March event.

With no rumors pointing towards a refresh, it's unlikely to happen, but with Skylake chips available for some machines, such as the MacBook, a Mac-related announcement remains a slim possibility. It is more likely we will see Mac refreshes starting at a later date, perhaps ahead of or at Apple's June Worldwide Developers Conference.

Top Rated Comments

jscooper22 Avatar
73 months ago
I'm still really annoyed at the lack of new desktop hardware (Mini and MP). If they're only going to refresh every 2-3 years they could at least cut the pricing a bit so I don't have to pay a premium for 2 year-old technology. Need to buy a couple minis anyway, just waiting 'til Monday on the remote chance Festivus comes early.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mackinmike Avatar
73 months ago
They had 15min left for the event and they had nothing else to announce... enter new watch bands... seriously, why are watch bands even an announcement? it's a effin band!
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pelea Avatar
73 months ago
Tim Cook: iPad sales have been slowing down for the last few years, what can we do to excite customers again?

Schiller: why not lower the prices of the iPad or add something useful and unique to the new ones, something that customers may actually care about other than a $100 crayon?

Cook: great idea! A price change! Let's call it the iPad pro and charge $100 more for fun!

Schiller: oh for **** sake...
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mackinmike Avatar
73 months ago
Snoozefest. Seriously apple? Reinventing the iPhone 5? You already did that with the iPhone 5c. Smh.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bentron Avatar
73 months ago
Looking forward to seeing how quickly Phil Schiller skims over 16gb storage for the iPhone SE and a $100 bumped price point for the next iPad! No doubt there'll be a few audience groans.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WarHeadz Avatar
73 months ago
Quit fracturing the product line with stupidly named/rebranded products. Why couldn't this be released at just another size option as part of the iPhone 7 line in September?

iPad Pro? Makes about as much sense as jumping from iPad 4 to iPad Air.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
twitterqrcode

Twitter Introduces QR Codes for Sharing and Following Accounts

Wednesday November 16, 2016 4:13 pm PST by
Twitter today introduced Snapchat-style QR codes, which are designed to make it easier to find and follow friends on the social network. Each Twitter QR code is unique to an individual Twitter user, so when scanned, it'll bring up the person's account. To access your Twitter QR code, you'll need the official Twitter app for iOS. In the app, go to your profile, tap on the gear icon, and select...
macOS Monterey on MBP Feature

Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of macOS Monterey to Developers

Monday August 30, 2021 1:11 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth developer beta of macOS Monterey, the newest version of the macOS operating system. The sixth beta comes three weeks after Apple released the fifth macOS Monterey beta. Registered developers can download the beta through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...