Apple says 9.7-inch iPad Pro is 'ultimate PC replacement'


Apple's live event Monday delivered what we thought it would, and the two stars of the show were the iPhone SE and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The latter might even replace the PC altogether, according to one Apple exec.

Apple's introduction of a 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes just six months after the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was released. According to Greg Joswiak – Apple's vice president of iPod, iPhone and iOS product marketing – Apple decided to release the smaller size because "it's a large enough display to get all your work done but small enough to carry with you everywhere you go." The 9.7-inch iPad is the most popular size, said Joswiak, and over 200 million have been sold.

Phil Schiller details iPad Pro specs | Source: Apple

Apple is really pushing the iPad Pro as the new laptop, and Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, called the smaller iPad Pro the "ultimate PC replacement."

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro weighs less than a pound, sports an A9x chip, is 40 percent less reflective and 25 percent brighter than the iPad Air 2. The device starts at $599 for 32GB, $749 for 128GB and even has a 256GB version for $899. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be offered with 256GB going forward, too. Like the new iPhone, orders start on March 24 and the official ship date is March 31.

The new iPhone SE has been written about for quite some time, and now "the most powerful 4-inch phone ever" is finally here. That's how Joswiak described it anyway. The specs don't lie, either.

The iPhone SE sports a 64-bit A9 chip and boasts the same processing performance and graphics as the iPhone 6s. Joswiak also mentioned battery improvements, 4K video capabilities, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and voice over LTE. The smartphone is also said to be 50 percent faster than the iPhone 5s. But why build another 4-inch iPhone at all?

Some people just love small phones, said Joswiak – as evidenced by the more than 30 million 4-inch iPhones sold in 2015. Phones of that scale also tend to be customers' first purchase in the iPhone product line. 

No enterprise-specific features were highlighted during the event, but enterprise and consumer technologists alike could see the appeal of more power in a smaller form. The iPhone SE also has the cheapest starting price for any iPhone, deputing at $399 for 16GB. The ordering period for iPhone SE begins March 24 and shipping starts March 31.

Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 9.3, went live Monday and was also highlighted during the event. 

Watch was mentioned briefly by Apple CEO Tim Cook – and mostly about the new band options for the wearable. However, in an effort to make the Apple Watch more affordable, the Sport model now starts at $299.

You can watch the full town hall event now on Apple's website

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- watch the full town hall event

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