With Apple Inc. turning 40-years-old on April 1, the technology company made four big announcements: a new iPhone, a new iPad, a new software platform for healthcare apps, and a move towards complete environmental sustainability. The company also made four smaller announcements.
After a 40 second video celebrating the 40 years of Apple’s existence, Apple CEO Tim Cook started the event with a brief speech fortifying Apple’s position on protecting privacy. Having 1 billion Apple devices in use around the world “comes with a significant responsibility,” says Cook. “We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data, over our privacy.”
2012: A bigger screen
2013: A bigger screen
2014: AN EVEN BIGGER SCREEN
2016: A smaller screen 😎😎😎😂😂😂
— Poppy Mathobela (@PopMathobela) March 21, 2016
Lisa Jackson was asked to update the world on Apple’s progress towards becoming a greener company. Jackson cited that 93 percent of Apple facilities world wide function on renewable energy. In 23 countries, including China and the US, Apple is running 100% on renewable resources. She also introduced us to Liam, a destructive little robot. Check him out in the video below.
About 99 percent of the packaging for Apple devices are recycled paper or taken from sustainably managed forests. With Apple Renew, you can recycle your Apple devices, either by bringing them into any Apple store or shipping them for free with a pre-paid label printed from the Apple website.
Jackson notes that Apple users can feel at ease about their environmental footprint when they send iMessages and make FaceTime calls because of the company’s move towards sustainable and green business practices.
Jeff Williams discussed the success of Apple’s ResearchKit, which was announced in March 2015. ResearchKit—a “software framework designed for medical and health research, helping doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone apps”—allowed researchers to conduct the largest ever Parkinson’s study.
Due to insights gained from data collected by ResearchKit, Apple has built CareKit, a framework for the construction of health monitoring apps. One of the very first apps on CareKit, amongst others, is an app designed to track the progression of Parkinson’s Disease. Like ResearchKit, CareKit will be open source and it will available in April 2016.
Greg Joswiak, vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing, introduced the “most powerful four-inch phone ever”
Since Apple sold “over 30 million four-inch iPhones in 2015,” Apple will be releasing a new four-inch iPhone, the iPhone SE. It has the same processing power as the iPhone 6s, which is double the iPhone 5. It has 3x the graphics power of the iPhone 5s, and offers the possibility to take live photos—a feature also available on the iPhone 6s. Apple Pay will be built into the iPhone SE.
The 16GB iPhone SE starts at $399, making it the “most affordable” iPhone upon release. The 64GB version will be $499.
Phillip W. Schiller made the iPad announcement. After displaying a series of quotes from entrepreneurs and business leaders touting the iPad Pro, Schiller announces an iPad Pro with a 9.7 inch retina display. With the fastest chip ever built by Apple, the A9X, the iPad Pro is believed, by Apple bigwigs, to be “the ultimate PC replacement.”
“It truly is the future of personal computing,” said Cook of the iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro’s display is 25 percent brighter and has 25 percent greater color saturation than the iPad Air 2. With 500 nits of light, the iPad Pro will be the brightest tablet on the market. The True Tone display measures the intensity and color temperature of the ambient lights, and alters the display to match for a more natural look that is easier on the eyes.
Schiller said it was “really sad” that 600 million PC users have devices that are over five years old.
— Summer Brennan (@summerbrennan) March 21, 2016
It will come in four metallic finishes—silver, gold, space gray, and, for the first time, rose gold—and will start at $599 for 32GB. The announcement of a 256GB option for both the 12.9 iPad Pro and the 9.7 iPad Pro elicited oohs and aahs from the crowd, as this was the first time Apple has ever offered 256GB for any device. A 256GB 12.9 iPad Pro will set you back a little over $1k, not including tax.
The price of the iPad Air 2 will be reduced to $399.
Both the iPad Pro and the iPhone SE feature a 12MP iSight camera, a forward facing flash for low-light selfies, and the ability to shoot and edit 4,000 pixel resolution video. Pre-order for the devices will begin on March 24 and shipments will start on March 31. Apple hopes to have the iPhone SE in 100 countries by the end of May 2016.
The first of the smaller innovations is the Nightshift feature. Nightshift, which is being introduced on the iOS 9.3 update, shifts the color display to the warmer end of the spectrum to help you sleep at night. The notion that blue light can make it harder for some to fall asleep at night is behind this feature. The iOS 9.3 update is available for free as of March 21.
Cook says the since its release in April 2015, Apple Watch has become world’s top selling smartwatch and is the first in customer satisfaction. The Apple CEO announced the introduction of a “woven nylon band” with “four-layer construction” for the Apple Watch, including “sport and leather bands” in a variety of colors.
The price of the Apple Watch will be lowered from $349 to $299.
Relatively minor improvements—dictation capabilities and the ability to organize applications into folders—will be part of the tvOS upgrade, the operating system that powers Apple TV. “Apps,” says Cook, “are the future of TV.” The upgrade is available as of March 21.
Apple Campus Move
To conclude the event, Cook announced that in 2017, Apple will be moving to a brand new campus in an undisclosed location, which will have a new theater. There, all future product introductions will occur—hinting that there may be no more new Apple products released in 2016.