10 announcements Apple made today you probably missed

Small details you may have missed from Apple's stealth announcements

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, (RED), iPad Pro, Clips, Apps
Credit: Apple

Apple quietly made numerous announcements today, including a new low-end iPad, an anti-AIDS (RED) iPhone, a much better iPhone SE, new Apple Watch straps and a brand-new video creation app called Clips.

Scheduled Maintenance

The first warning that we should expect the news came when the company warned its online Apple retail store would be offline for a few hours for “scheduled maintenance.” There was a schedule, but it wasn’t for maintenance. You can read all about the respective announcements in the press releases:

Rather than simply repeat Apple’s news, I’ve spent a couple of hours attempting to identify some key details concerning the new products:

Get (RED), but limited supply

Apple’s decision to launch (RED) iPhones in red is significant as it’s the first time Apple has created a (RED) version of its biggest-selling product. Apple has contributed over $130 million to the charity so far.  

There’s a price hike on saving lives.

There are only going to be a limited number made available, Greg Joswiak told Mashable. They start at $749, so that’s around $100 more than their standard siblings. The red iPhone looks good -- interestingly, I note the company has color-matched the antenna lines on this model: Apple does not color-match the line on gold or rose gold iPhone 7 models.

iPhone Upgrade Program

Apple now offers iPhones under its upgrade scheme to customers in China, U.K., and the U.S. The scheme lets consumers purchase a new iPhone on a monthly instalment plan. You can then upgrade to the new model each year. Hardware as a service.

32GB is the new 16GB

It looks like the iPhone SE isn’t going to get a big upgrade this side of summer -- instead Apple has doubled the capacity of the device but kept pricing the same (from $399, 32GB, or $499, 128GB). The iPhone SE capacity bump means Apple has finally accepted that 16GB is no longer enough space for a digital age.

Project: India

Apple is working hard to build its business in India, and the company’s new iPhone SE models should help it in these aims. Apple will sell the new 32GB iPhone SE at Rs 27,200 ($415), which is much lower than the Rs 39,000 ($600) it was charging for the last edition. It remains to be seen if this price reduction will help Apple break into the market, but there is little doubt it will widen its potential market. Counterpoint claims Apple shipped c.60,000 iPhone SE units in India in 2016.

Great iPad, better price

Dubbed simply, ‘iPad’ and with a starting price set $70 less than the iPad Air 2 it replaces, the new 9.7-inch iPad offers a brighter Retina display but is thicker (7.5mm v 6.1mm) and a little heavier (469g v 437g) than the last iteration, possibly to provide space for the 32.4Wh (10-hour life) battery. It does offer a much better (64-bit) A9 processor, but not Apple Pencil support. Incidentally, Apple says there are now 1.3 million iPad apps available. What is interesting is the price: The new iPad costs $330, or $270 less than a $600, 9.7-inch, 32GB iPad Pro. That price leaves a big gap that could be filled by another product...

iPad mini

Apple has discontinued the iPad mini 2 and introduced higher storage capacity in iPad mini 4, which now costs $399 and provides 128GB of storage.

Brexit will batter Britain

Apple’s new products cost almost the same in Sterling as they do in dollars. The new iPad costs $329 in the U.S., but will set UK purchasers back £339. This reflects Apple building in around 7 percent protection against the inevitable collapse of UK currency once Brexit begins. (UK food prices have begun to rise after 31 months of decline).

A.I. for the rest of us: The new Clips app

Apple’s really focused on social media in this app, which won’t ship until April. The app lets you combine video clips, photos, and music with animated captions and effects.

It also lets you share your creations through popular social media services, including Snapchat, Facebook and so on -- a good move by Apple as it does rather better when it works with other social networks than attempting to build its own.

There is a little machine intelligence within the app, which will recommend friends you should share your clips with based on contacts it has recognized within your footage. That's a subtle way of showing the future potential of A.I.

To create movies using the app you can shoot from within the app or import videos and photos from your collection. It ships with a dozen built-in music soundtracks which will adjust to fit the length of your content and you can add shapes, speech bubbles, text and emoji to your movies. Clips also includes Live Titles which use voice to text to let you dictate these. 

iOS 10.3

Apple says it will introduce Clips in  “early April,” noting the new app needs iOS 10.3, which means the new iOS will be available by then.

Change in how Apple sells Apple Watch

Apple has introduced a raft of new Apple Watch bands, but it has also changed how it sells the core product: You can now only purchase a new Apple Watch with a Sport band or a Milanese Loop, meaning any additional band varieties must be paid for. (The only exception is when you purchase Apple Watch with Hermes bands.)

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