Apple has now officially announced the time, date, and location for its March 21st Spring 2016 event, meaning that excitement and speculation will ramp up to an all-time high over the next two weeks. We will soon start to see Apple officially “dressing” the venue with insignia that will no doubt raise questions over about what will be announced during the event. Here we’re going to take look at the announcements that we expect to take place during Apple’s ‘Let us loop you in’ media event.
4-inch iPhone SE
The introduction of Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone – expected to be named the iPhone SE – will likely be the biggest announcement during this event. The SE model is all set to replace the iPhone 5s, and is expected to look largely similar to that device, albeit with modern improvements internally. Apple is expected to ship the iPhone SE with an internal A9/M9 combo, 2GB RAM, and always-on Siri support.
Additionally, the new iPhone model is expected to come equipped with an upgraded camera module with Live Photos support, upgraded Wi-Fi and Bluetooth spec, integrated NFC for Apple Pay support, Rose Gold/Space Gray/Silver/Gold color options, as well as 16 and 64GB storage capacities. Features like Touch ID will still be present in this device, but 3D Touch is not expected to make it into the final model. iPhone SE is expected to cost between $400-$500 for the unlocked model.
9.7-inch iPad Pro
We all expect Apple to use this Spring event to introduce the next-generation iPad Air, or the iPad Air 3 as we expected it be called. This is likely to still happen, but Apple will take the opportunity to align the new hardware with last year’s introduction of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro by also giving this new 9.7-inch model the same ‘Pro’ branding. That hardware will feature an integrated A9X processor with 4GB RAM in addition to a 12MP primary camera with 4K video recording and 4-way speaker system.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will also offer support for Apple Pencil, as well as feature a Smart Connector port for the connection to additional accessories, such as Apple’s Smart Keyboard. Expect this new iPad to essentially be a shrunken down version of the 12.9-inch beast that made a splash in the tablet world late last year.
New Apple Watch Bands
Apple could potentially shock us with an improved version of the Apple Watch with minor hardware upgrades, but that remains unlikely. The more likely option is that Tim Cook will hand over to one of his team to introduce a slew of new Apple Watch bands that will be designed to complement the existing Apple Watch models.
There’s no such thing as an Apple event without the company taking the opportunity to push the button on a software release at the same time. We’ve been privy to a number of pre-release seeds across Apple’s major platforms over the last couple of months, and it’s extremely likely, in fact, pretty much nailed on, that Apple will publicly release final versions of all of those software during the event.
That will include iOS 9.3 for the iPhone and iPad, tvOS 9.2 for the Apple TV 4, watchOS 2.2 for the Apple Watch, and OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 for Mac. All of those will likely be available as an over-the-air update immediately after the event.
The level of detail that this will be covered in during the event is currently unknown. After all, Apple’s legal counsel will be in court the following day to follow up on the official and formal objection that it levied against a court order to force the company to unlock an iPhone involved in the San Bernardino shooting in California. Such is the level of interest and passion around this ongoing encryption case, that it’s highly likely that it will be addressed on stage in one form or another during this event.