Apple is separating the new smartphones into its usual low-cost versus high-cost categories, with big differences between the two models coming down to the camera, display, and battery life.
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Apple Said to Debut New iPad Pro Lineup, 128GB iPhone SE, and Red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus at March Event
In terms of the iPad Pro lineup, the report claims Apple will announce new 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch models. The 10.5-inch model may not ship until May, while the other sizes are said to ship in March.
If the report is accurate, it would suggest Apple plans to refresh the iPad mini 4 with a new 7.9-inch iPad Pro model, update its existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and introduce an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which is rumored to feature a narrow bezel design, possibly without a Home button.
Mac Otakara previously said the 10.9-inch iPad Pro—it now says 10.5-inch—will have the same overall footprint as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro thanks to its narrow bezel design. The earlier report said the top bezel will remain in order to provide space for the front-facing FaceTime camera, but it will likely be slimmer.
The blog also previously said the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature a 12-megapixel rear camera and True Tone display like the current 9.7-inch model, using advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in the surrounding environment.
Meanwhile, it said the 7.9-inch iPad Pro will feature a Smart Connector, True Tone display, four speakers, and a 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera with True Tone flash, as Apple works to standardize features across its tablet lineup. All new iPad Pro models will reportedly gain quad microphones as well.
Three months ago, Barclays analysts predicted Apple will release a trio of new iPad Pro models in March, including 9.7-inch, 12.9-inch, and edge-to-edge 10.9-inch models, but not a 7.9-inch iPad Pro. Instead, their research note said Apple will continue to produce and sell the iPad mini 4, released in September 2015.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has likewise said Apple is planning a new 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro lineup for 2017. He did not mention a 7.9-inch model. He said the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models are likely to feature a faster Apple A10X processor, while the "low-cost" 9.7-inch model will sport an A9X chip.
DigiTimes expects a 10.5-inch iPad Pro as well, making that four separate sources reporting similar. The math checks out too: the width of a 10.5-inch iPad Pro would match the height of the iPad mini screen, while it would have the same resolution as the 12.9-inch model and the same pixel density as the iPad mini.
Today's report also claims Apple may add a 128GB storage option for the iPhone SE, alongside the smartphone's existing 16GB and 64GB capacities, and add a new red color—(PRODUCT)RED?—option for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The blog previously said the red color would be for the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.
The report also calls for new Apple Watch bands at the event in line with last year's Spring refresh. Apple introduced the iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and new Apple Watch bands at its March 2016 event last year.
Mac Otakara has a good but not perfect track record in terms of Apple rumors.