Apple’s iPhone SE event: we’ll be there live
We’re reporting live from Apple’s special March 21 gathering at its Cupertino HQ, an event where the firm says "let us loop you in" – but what does it mean? Could it simply be the launch of some new Apple Watch straps? We don’t think so, but they may feature at some point.
As with all rumors, some are far more likely than others. Thankfully we’ve done the hard graft of working out what’s hot, and what’s not, and even broken out the trusty techradar rumormeter to visualize those workings.
The March 21 Apple event kicks off at 10am PT, 1pm ET, 5pm GMT (4am AET) and we’re live blogging the proceedings right here – so stick this page in your bookmarks and get ready to refresh.
- 5 things to expect from Apple’s big March event
- Everything you need to know about the iPhone SE
- All the latest on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro
- Apple Watch 2 release date, news and rumors
10.39 – It’s only iOS 9 – Greggy digging Android to point out that 80% of devices are running iOS 9, compared to the Android 6 running on just 2%. I wish we were past these little nibbles.
Talking about iOS 9.3 – how Night Shift knows when it’s sunset and shifts the phone to the warmer tones, and passcode protecting your Notes. We knew all this, to be fair.
10.36 – TouchID is onboard, and that means Apple Pay too. This thing is the iPhone 5S with the iPhone 6S’ innards and colors.
It’s only going to cost $399, but that’s for the 16GB model, and 64GB will be $499. If you’re on a two year subsidized plan it’ll be free, and $17 per month on ubsubsidized plan.
Orders will begin this Thursday on March 24, and March 31 on sale, with the normal US, UK and more countries at the start.
Wait, there’s more…
10.35 – Live Photos are included as well. Yes, we get it, it’s like the iPhone 6S. Interesting that this isn’t the main event – seems that the iPad Pro reboot / smaller model which we’re expecting soon will be the big headline.
LTE bands are larger, and 150% faster than the iPhone 5S.
10.34 – 12MP camera iSight sensor, with the True Tone flash, and it’ll last for 50 hours on battery compared to the iPhone 5C.
10.33 – The most powerful iPhone – it’s called the iPhone SE.
With the A9 chip, a smaller screen, and the same processing performance of the iPhone 6S. It’s also got the M9 motion co-processor. It’s the same as the iPhone 6S basically, but crunched down.
10.32 – It’s going to be a smaller iPhone. And people are still buying old iPhones – because some people still want smaller iPhones, apparently. And it’s some people’s first iPhone, ‘whether they’re switching from Android’.
10.31 – A new member of the iPhone family is coming, and Greggy Joz is on stage to talk about it.
10.29 – What’s good about Siri is that she’ll search through all your apps, so Netflix and Hulu are being added to new services for more searching.
And you can now organise your apps into folders – like on an iPhone – and speak your user names and passwords or to search the App Store. And that update is coming today.
10.28 – Next up, Apple TV. He just mentioned Silicon Valley and that got a chuckle from the audience. There’s an in-joke for you.
Cook talking up the biggest sales ever since the box was rebooted last year – and Siri was added. Games are being pushed now, as well as apps that are coming too. Still can’t see people loving apps on the TV, but still. It’s good it’s not going anywhere.
10.26 – New colors and a woven nylon band. And people have just clapped that last point – in fairness, the people that made it are probably in the audience.
New leather colors and a Space Black Milanese loop too.
Beginning today, Apple Watch price is dropping to $299. And that’s it for Apple Watch.
10.25 – Cook telling us that everyone loves the Apple Watch – and that people loves changing the bands. Guess what’s coming…
10.24 – Back to Tim now. And we’re going into the Apple Watch.
10.21 – Apple launching CareKit. To build apps that empower people to take a more active role in their care, and Parkinson’s is the first app for it, so people can understand better how it affects their health, and six organisations will be getting involved to start.
Surgery is also in this too – using our phones to help in the recovery process, rather than having to use a simple list of paper with a list of do’s and don’ts. By using the CareKit modules, Apple’s worked with TMC to help people know what they should be doing each day to help post-surgery.
Again, take Apple out of the equation here. Let’s hope all phones let us use the accelerometer to tell us how we’re getting on in terms of mobility post operation. That’s just tech being used the right way.
10.19 – It’s hard to translate what’s happening in this video. It’s easy to be cynical, and assume a company has some sales-based ulterior motive for doing something like this, but all the examples on offer are how technology SHOULD be used.
We SHOULD have a watch that can forewarn epilepsy sufferers of a fit. An app SHOULD help Parkinson’s test their symptom levels and give them new information on medication and exercise. We SHOULD be able to use our phones to help children that need help can get that need detected earlier.
10.14 - Jeff Williams is up. Talking HealthKit and the impact it’s had. It’s another look at what the mixture of this and ResearchKit together is having on the world.
Parkinson’s, autism and a host of other big diseases can be studied differently thanks to everyone having this tool in their hand. For instance, autism can be detected earlier thanks to a simple app being shown to them, thanks to a larger number of people giving information.
10.13 – OK, maybe that won’t happen. Maybe grabbing those materials will help, given our smartphones are costing the Earth. You can either take your old iPhone into the retail stores or get a prepaid label to send it away.
10.12 – Liam can pick up an iPhone and pull it apart to grab the cobalt, gold, silver and all the other little bits that need to be changed up and re-used.
But what happens when Liam starts to think? Decides humans need to be repurposed? Starts pulling us apart? What about then, Apple?
10.11 - Liam IS A ROBOT!
10.10 – Now we’re talking about the recycling of iPhones. Time for a new approach, apparently. There’s a new R&D project called Liam, and it’s a video.
10.09 – Let’s talk about forestry! Who didn’t predict that sentence tonight?
Paper. That’s where we’re at. 99% of paper Apple uses (in packaging and others) comes from sustainably managed forests and recycled materials. And Apple is buying new forests and loads of acres of forests in China.
10.08 – Just saw a picture of some yaks. #yakattack #yakkityyak #babygotyak
10.06 – Back onto the tech now. First, we’re going to hear about altruistic schemes Apple is involved in to ‘leave the world a better place’. Lisa is up on stage to talk about the environment.
This is all about renewable energy – two years ago Apple wanted to be 100% renewable in all operations, retail, data centers, and offices. And now, two years later, 93% run on renewable energy. And it’s 100% in the US. And in 22 other countries around the world.
That’s impressive given data centers are in the mix.
10.05 - Cook going straight into the FBI debate. He’s asking ‘how much control the government should have over our data and privacy’ and he’s ‘humbled’ by the outpouring of support that the public gave the company.
‘We owe it to our customers and we owe it to our country. This is an issue that impacts all of us and we will not shrink from this responsibility’.
10.04 - By the way, Cookie Monster is Tim Cook. The CEO is on stage. Not the Sesame Street character.
10.03 – 1 BILLION Apple devices used around the world. Showing ‘the impact Apple has on people around the world.
10.01 – Magic is happening. Apple is showing a video of all the things it’s done in 40 years. And you’ll never guess who’s on stage… COOKIE MONSTER! Sporting a sweater and shirt combo. Maybe he’s chilly.
09.59 – There’s an Apple logo on screen. That’s original. Minutes to go.
09.52 – We’re in our seat. Smooth jazz is rudely interrupted by what we can only assume is a Beats 1 stream. Thumping bass, intimate venue – is this an Apple event or an emerging band’s breakout gig? Could go either way.
08.55 – Not sure how to get out of here. It just keeps on going. Send help.
08.45 - We love the smell of Cupertino in the morning. Pass in hand. A song in our heart. And a quiet moment of mental preparation before it all kicks off.
08.30 – Still nothing from Tim, he’s usually tweeted his excitement by now. Perhaps there’s not too much to get excited about this time. In other news, the live stream page is now up if you fancy tuning in alongside our live coverage.
05.00 – No word from Mr Cook just yet, but someone at Apple is already hard at work as the Apple Store is down. REPEAT: the Apple store is down.
Has it been hacked? No. This is normal behavior from the tech giant, which takes its store offline a few hours before every announcement so it can load up all the juicy details of its new products without accidentally leaking them.
03.00 PT – Tim Cook is fast asleep, or at least we hope he is, because he’s got quite the day ahead of him. There’s talk that he’ll be in charge of launching the iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro (or will it be called the iPad Air 3?) and a range of new Apple Watch straps. There’s even the possibility of a few surprises too.
Of course, the question on everyone’s lips is, what will Mr Cook be wearing? Back in September he donned a suave lilac (or is that indigo?) shirt, dark wash jeans and dress shoes combo to launch the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. It’s no polo neck and sneakers, but you can’t say he didn’t look good.
What to expect and how to watch
As you may have already guessed, the core focus of this event is likely to revolve around the launch of a new iPhone – namely the iPhone SE.
It seems Apple won’t just stop at one announcement though, with rumors pointing towards the possibility of a new tablet, new watch, new accessories and even, if you want to stretch your imagination, a new iPod, VR devices and the iCar.
Originally rumored as the iPhone 6C – the successor to the plastic-clad iPhone 5C – Apple’s new iPhone has developed into something more premium over recent months.
Gone is the hope of a bargain basement price, and instead a replacement to the 4-inch iPhone 5S seems to be more on the cards. In short the iPhone SE, also known as the iPhone 5SE, looks to bring the 4-inch form factor inline with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
That gives customers the choice between three sizes of iPhone without having to compromise massively on specs and performance. We fully expect the iPhone SE to arrive with a lower price tag, but it’s unlikely to be its main draw.
9.7-inch iPad Pro / iPad Air 3
The iPad Air 2 is now a year and a half old, so it’s about time Apple’s flagship slate had an update. The supersized iPad Pro brought with it some neat ideas – questionable stylus aside – and we’re expecting to see those features flow into the more manageable 9.7-inch form factor.
There’s some confusion just how Apple will pitch this tablet – will it go for the straight replacement of the now well-known Air brand with the iPad Air 3, or will it instead look towards its MacBook naming structure and purely state the screen size ahead of the iPad Pro handle?
Our money is currently on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but it’s far from a sure thing.
Apple Watch straps
Yes, we know, an accessories launch is hardly the most thrilling of announcements and we seriously hope Apple’s got more up its sleeve than new leather options.
The reality is we’re unlikely to see the Apple Watch 2, so new straps for your wrists to enjoy are about as exciting as things can get for your fruit-branded timepiece.
One more thing(s)…
Not content with just a trio of announcements, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a host of other, slightly more surprising products.
Rumors surrounding Apple’s activity in the VR market have been hotting up as its competitors launch a range of VR headsets, cameras and experiences. The Cupertino firm meanwhile has been spotted making keys hires and filing various patents in the realm of virtual reality. March 21 could be the launch pad.
Another avenue we know Apple is exploring is automotive, although beyond CarPlay it’s not clear just how invested it’s getting. Talk of an iCar refuses to die down, and with Google’s driverless vehicle sweeping around town there’s no doubt some envious eyes watching on from One Infinite Loop.
Finally, and this is more of a dream scenario for ourselves, there’s an outside chance Apple may give us some retro love and launch a 2016 edition of the iPod Classic. It’s a big ask, but if it happens you can guarantee people will be swooning the world over.
How to watch
Apple is living streaming the event, but to get a real flavor of what’s going down on campus make sure you follow our live blog. We’ll be there, sitting in the crowd, bringing you all the latest – including the real atmosphere in the room and our expert musing from the show.
- Take me to your Apple iPhone SE event live blog
Of course, if you want to watch along too, then you can. We’ve rounded up the ways to watch in one handy article.