Apple Bolsters Product Line with New iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7
By Jim Lundy
Apple’s special event was held on Monday at its Cupertino location. The key takeaway from the event is that it is broadening its iPhone line with a lower-cost model and is shifting to a higher-end iPad Pro line at the same time.
This blog talks about how Apple is managing its mobile product line.
Apple iPhone SE Smaller, Faster
The 4-inch iPhone SE may be the ideal road warrior iPhone at a great price. Small but powerful, it represents a good value for consumers and business buyers alike. While there is no major revolution in this model, it does round out the product lineup with a high powered, compact phone that easily fits into a pocket.
People who were not ready to give up their iPhone 4S or 5S for a larger 6 model will be attracted to the SE. It is essentially a 6S in the form factor of a 5s, which means it has about twice the speed. Given the price point of $399 and $499, the iPhone SE falls into an attractive price category. Consumers will like the $17.00 per month lease plan.
iPad Pro 9.7: 4K Video Is Now Standard
The iPad Pro 9.7-inch model follows the 2015 fall announcement of the 12-inch iPad Pro. That model was largely believed to be a counterattack against the Surface Pro.
The problem for Apple is that the original iPad and iPad Air 2 were so good, that they do not need to be replaced that often; the iPad Pro 9.7-inch makes a credible argument for a better, brighter, and more colorful experience.
The bigger part of the iPad Pro story is the Apple Pencil and Solid Keyboard, which are both accessories. In testing the Apple Pencil, we found that it works very well and is a natural for note-taking in a business setting (so is a stylus). For professionals, particularly sales or creatives, the iPad Pro can serve as a video camera and meeting device—all in one package.
With better multi-tasking, support for Microsoft Office 365, and outstanding reliability, the iPad lineup, when powered with a keyboard, offers an attractive platform that can do more. Apple wants Windows users to switch over, and for sales organizations, this device may be the ultimate tool for sales people on the go.
iOS 9.3: New Features
Apple did highlight some new features in iOS 9.3—such as Night Shift mode. One we really like is that Apple Health on iPhone connects to Apple Watch. For those that have been using the iPhone and Apple Watch, this is a big deal.
The list of iOS 9.3 enhancements:
- Touch 3D offers new shortcuts
- CarPlay updated
- New multi-user support for Apple Classroom apps
- Notes gets password protection
- Apple News personalization
- Night Shift mode
- Apple Health (iPhone) connects with Apple Watch
El Capitan Updates: But No New MacBooks
It wasn’t a surprise that no new MacBooks were announced. Apple usually does the Mac lineup mid-year at its Developers Conference. What is expected is a new lineup of thinner MacBook Pros to match the 12″ MacBook that was introduced in 2015. The availability of new Intel processors may have also impacted the availability, but by spreading out the announcements, it also helps Apple to smooth revenue growth across the year.
El Capitan, the current OS release for Macs, got a series of feature and security improvements. Key updates include:
• Notes containing personal data can be password protected.
• Notes can be sorted alphabetically, by date created or modified.
• Evernote files can be imported into Notes.
• Live photos can now be shared between iOS and OS X via AirDrop and Messages.
• Addresses an issue that may cause RAW images to open slowly in Photos.
• Adds the ability for iBooks to store PDFs in iCloud, making them available across all of your devices.
• Twitter t.co links will now load in Safari.
• Fixes an issue that prevented the VIPs mailbox from working with Gmail accounts.
• Fixes an issue that caused USB audio devices to disconnect.
• Improves the compatibility and reliability of Apple USB-C multiport adapters.
While Apple didn’t make any radical announcements, the special event reinforced important parts of its product line. Enterprises and consumers will be able to make the appropriate product selection or upgrade based on needs.
The lesson product teams should take away from Apple’s special event: It is critical to leverage your technology to offer a set of differentiated models in order to appeal to different sets of buyers.