Apple turns 40 on April 1, and it’s celebrating how there are over 1 billion Apple devices in use around the world right now. Among the big announcements from today’s special presentation is how the company is very close to reaching its environmental goals. About 93 percent of Apple’s facilities around the world across 23 countries are running on renewable energy. And all of Apple’s stores and offices in the U.S. and China are using renewable energy.
Demonstrating the tech company’s commitment to a sustainable future is a robot called Liam, which is a prototype designed to efficiently disassemble Apple devices so that their parts, right down to the gold in the camera, can be recycled and used in other products. Once Apple was done demonstrating how it would preserve the Earth, it went on to discuss how it would make its inhabitants a little happier using its products.
Apple Watch reveals stylish new price tag
The Apple Watch has become the bestselling smartwatch in the world since it launched a year ago, with customers saying that it has become “an essential part of their daily lives” for alerts, receiving messages, activity tracking and more. Users also love being able to change out bands to customize the Apple Watch so that it fits a particular style, outfit, or occasion. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, about a third of users “regularly change their band.”
To meet the demand for change, the Apple Watch bands are getting new colors and a different material: woven nylon. The nylon bands will cost $49, feature a unique four-layer construction, and will be offered in seven different colors. Meanwhile, the existing sport and leather bands will have new colors of their own. However, there was no indication of whether the Hermès Collection bands, which were introduced last fall, would also be updated.
Yet, the most exciting news is for prospective Apple Watch buyers, as the price for both the 38mm Sport and 42mm models are dropping by $50 to $299, and $399, respectively.
Apple TV continues to grow
The new Apple TV remains committed to making the future of TV in apps a reality. Over 5,000 apps have released since the Apple TV’s launch in October. They include plenty of entertainment apps like HBO Now, which started the cord-cutting trend of subscribing to premium channels without having to go through a cable provider. Then, of course, there are plenty of games.
A new update to tvOS went live today, enabling users to organize apps into folders, enter in text like usernames and passwords by speaking, and use Siri to search through the App Store. Lastly, Apple TV users can access their entire iCloud photo library, including Live Photos, for viewing on large screen televisions.
iPhone SE offers big power in a small package
Described by Cook as, “the most loved smartphone in the world,” the iPhone has had an immense impact on the mobile market. Although many love the large-display 6s and 6s Plus models, there is still tremendous demand for the compact 4-inch versions. Last year, over 30 million 4-inch iPhones were sold worldwide, especially in China, where over half the Apple consumers are picking up smartphones for the first time. Therefore, Apple is keeping the 4-inch smartphone as part of its lineup, branding it the iPhone SE.
The iPhone SE may be small, but it sports the same processing and graphical performance of the iPhone 6s, giving it all the power it needs to run the latest apps and games. It also has the same hardware features as the 6s, including a 12MP camera that can take Live Photos, 4K video capture and a full-screen Retina Flash for selfies.
Best of all, the starting price is $399 for the 16GB model, free when bundled with a service plan, or about $17 a month through an installment plan. The 64GB version will go for $499 when iPhone SE pre-orders become available on March 24, and they will start shipping on March 31.
iPad Pro gets a little sibling
Continuing with the theme of making devices smaller and more affordable without sacrificing features or power, Apple announced a new 9.7-inch display version of the iPad Pro that weighs less than one pound. The iPad Pro has only been available for 6 months, but users are already turning to it as full computer and notebook replacements.
This new iPad Pro is down from 12.9-inches, and Apple gives two reasons for the size reduction. The first is that the main iPad line has a 9.7-inch display, and it remains the best-selling version, with over 200 million of them sold to date. Its screen size is enough to get work done while remaining small enough to take on-the-go. The second reason takes a direct shot at Windows users. According to the tech giant, there are over 600 million PCs in use today that are over 5 years old, and Apple wants them to switch over to its “ultimate PC replacement.” Access to the App Store, with over one million iPad apps, is also strong incentive.
Other features include a booming sound system, powerful processor, and a screen that automatically adjusts the brightness and color temperature to match that of real paper, so there’s less fatigue when reading from it. The new, smaller iPad will still have Apple Pencil support, and users will also have the option to purchase a keyboard cover that’s specially designed for its 9.7-inch screen.
Despite a long list of other features, like a high-resolution camera that can shoot 4K video, and five different colors (including rose gold), it will likely be the relatively low price point that will convince many PC users to switch over to an iPad Pro. It starts at $599 for the 32GB model, which is $200 less expensive than its 12.9-inch sibling. The 128GB version will cost $749, and top-of-the-line buyers can look forward to a 256GB model for $899 when pre-orders start on March 24. Like the iPhone SE, the new iPad Pro will ship on the 31st.
Apple on the go
Amidst the product announcements, Apple also discussed upgrades to the iOS experience today, which include automatic screen color adjustments for nighttime use. However, one of the biggest reveals is how every major car brand, from Honda to Mercedes, has committed to integrating CarPlay into their vehicles. Over 100 car models have already been announced with CarPlay support. So, expect to see more vehicles to take advantage of features like Apple Music and Maps in the future.