Apple Event 3/21, “Let us loop you in.”

“Let us loop you in”, the event hosted by Apple on today, March 21st brought some great news, affirmations and a few gut punches.

Here’s what you need to know:
Who steps on stage first?  You guessed it, our buddy Tim Cook who started off the day with an introduction and words of affirmation letting us know that our iPhones are personal, private devices that Apple will be committed to keeping it that way.  Cook noted, “owes it to our customers and we owe it to our country”, furthermore nothing, “This is an issue that impacts all of us, and we will not shrink from this responsibility.”  For those of you following the Apple v FBI case, this is certainly something you want to hear and should be proud to hear from Apple’s CEO, he knows how pivotal our devices are in our daily lives.
Apple Renew
Since there are so many iPhones in use all over the world, as well as many other smartphones, there is no real standard of recycling them.  In comes, Apple Renew where project “Liam” will automatically disassemble old iPhone components for potential re-use in an effort to reduce waste.
Apple Watch
Apple is giving us new bands made of woven nylon and dropping the price down to $299 for the entry level Apple Watch Sport device.  This will put it on par with the Moto 360 2nd generation, which is highly regarding as the best option for Android Wear.
Apple TV
With the Apple TV currently having support for over 5000 focused apps, there comes a need for a few additional features:
  • Folders for app grouping just like on iPhone and iPad
  • Voice dictation throughout the OS (entering text and more)
  • Access iCloud Photo library on tvOS
iPhone SE, something we all knew about, has finally showed it’s 4-inch face today.  This device is essentially the iPhone 6S in a smaller body.  The device will include the A9 processor, M9 chip for the always-on “Hey Siri”, NFC and Live Photo support.  This is followed up with a flurry of updates coming in the form of iOS 9.3 which includes:
  • Nightshift
  • Notes protection
  • Health app upgrades
  • More education focused apps for the classroom
iPad Pro has given users a pencil with enhanced drawing capabilities that replicate drawing using an actual pencil and paper; however, some feel that the iPad Pro coming in at 12.9 inches a little to unwieldy.  This has sparked the created of a 9.7-inch iPad Pro model starting out at $599 that is easier to hold, carry and work with and should provide a boost in sales to the line.  This new device also pushes the price drop of the iPad Air 2, which will now start at $399.

Bottom line and takeaways: Incremental; yet, focused and much needed upgrades and product introductions.  The iPhone is now available in a flavor for everyone in a very classy move by bringing back the 4-inch form factor and bringing the specs up to 2016 standards. While I feel like 4 inches is entirely too small for a device, some love it.  Apple is also touting the iPad pro as a PC replacement (which is a bold statement that I believe is reaching a bit), is this now possible in 2016?  Many feel that the tablet is a companion device that should stay in it’s place — we will see how this plays out.
For the complete keynote video please go here.