First Impressions Roundup: iPhone SE and 9.7" iPad Pro
Apple today provided members of the press with hands-on time using the iPhone SE and 9.7" iPad Pro, and first impressions of the new products are beginning to surface across the web. Below is a roundup of some of the more interesting observations and opinions about the new smartphone and tablet.
The Verge said the iPhone SE "finally makes a small phone feel powerful," which is unsurprising given it is essentially an iPhone 6s shrunk down into an iPhone 5s form factor. The 4-inch smartphone is powered by a 64-bit A9 chip with M9 motion co-processor, which is up to twice as fast as the iPhone 5s. Other features are outlined in our iPhone SE announcement coverage.
Usually, getting a small phone has meant getting a phone that skimps on power or on the camera (or, most likely, both). That's absolutely not the case with the iPhone SE. It feels every bit as fast and modern as an iPhone 6S, able to move quickly through screens and web pages. Obviously we weren't able to test the camera very extensively, but we can say that it launches quickly and takes photos just as fast.
TechnoBuffalo described the iPhone SE's top five new features as its 4-inch screen size, $399 starting price, 4K video recording, Live Photos support, and full Apple Pay support without needing an Apple Watch.
That’s going to be a nice bump for folks with the iPhone 5s who otherwise weren’t able to use Apple Pay due to the lack of an NFC chip in the smartphone. Also, Touch ID should be much, much faster than the sensor originally included in that device.
Business Insider highlighted how Apple used more scratch resistant materials for the iPhone SE shell, meaning it should not be prone to scratches and scuffs as easily as the iPhone 5s. This includes matte-chamfered edges and a slightly different aluminum backing with a color-matching Apple logo.
The good news: The iPhone SE gives you everything great about the iPhone 6s for $250 cheaper.
The bad news: Despite all those great features, it still feels a lot like the iPhone Apple unveiled 2.5 years ago.
9.7" iPad Pro
AnandTech went hands on with the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro's True Tone Display, which Apple says adjusts the color temperature of the display by measuring ambient light conditions. There is a toggle switch for True Tone in the iPad's settings, as shown in the short demo video below.
It turns out that this is something that you can toggle on and off on the fly, and the result that it produces seems to be designed to make the display more consistently neutral while other Apple mobile devices tend to end up with a colder white balance in most conditions. I didn’t see a toggle for color gamut, so it’s likely that the iPad Pro 9.7” is using either color management to enable a wider gamut on the fly or just displaying a wider color gamut all the time.
CNET tested the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in a brief hands-on video that summarizes the tablet's features and tech specs and provides a quick look at the Apple Pencil and resized Smart Keyboard. The tablet features a Smart Connector that will allow it to be paired with many other keyboards and accessories.
TechnoBuffalo was able to get a look at the new iPad Pro and has a video depicting its four speakers, rear camera, and Apple Pencil compatibility, along with a quick rundown on all of the included features.
SlashGear also received time to test the smaller iPad Pro, and declared "it's enough to make you throw your iPad Air 2 into the trash." The first impressions also spoke highly about the Apple Pencil.
Really, the iPad Pro 9.7 is about taking the iPad Air 2 form factor and supercharging its guts, and hopefully encouraging a wider wallet in return. On that front, it's undoubtedly the best all-round iPad you can buy, but only time will tell if it can turn around tablet sales for Apple.