Apple Announces Smaller iPhone SE, iOS 9.3 Available Today

by Mike Futter on Mar 21, 2016 at 08:43 AM

Apple just wrapped up a “town hall” event with a number of product refreshes. No new product types were announced, but if you’re interested in an iPad Pro you might want to read on.

For all current iOS users, you’ll see a notification today that a new version of the operating system is available. The update, iOS 9.3, adds something called Night Shift, which helps to cut down on sleep-disrupting blue light by using the clock to move the display toward warmer tones.

This will come standard on two new Apple devices announced today. The iPhone SE is a 4-inch phone designed to bring together a smaller form factor with power.

It features a 64-bit A9 chip and M9 motion co-processor. This gives it the same processing performance as the iPhone 6s (double the iPhone 5s) and the same graphics performance as the 6s (three times the 5s). The SE is $399 for a 16 GB model (free with two-year contract) and $499 for the 64 GB version.

Apple also unveiled a smaller form factor iPad Pro. The new model is 9.7 inches (the same as the iPad Air 2) and includes an A9X chip. The iPad Pro supports a lightning card reader adapter and USB convertor for digital cameras and podcasting microphones.

The smaller iPad Pro will be available at $599 for 32 GB, $749 for 128 GB, and $899 for 256 GB (all prices WiFi only). Both the iPhone SE and smaller iPad Pro will be up for pre-order on March 24 and on sale March 31.

During the presentation, Apple also announced a couple of new milestones. There are currently 1 billion Apple devices in use around the world. The current version if iOS (9.0) is on eighty percent of eligible devices, compared to only two percent of Android devices running the latest firmware, which was released around the same time as iOS 9.

200 million 9.7-inch iPads have been sold, with 1 million iPad apps available. Apple TV is also seeing a surge, with the latest hardware seeing the largest sales spike of any model in the family. There are currently 5,000 Apple TV apps available.


Our Take
While the gaming angle here is pretty thin, I’m pretty excited about Night Shift. If you use your phone right before bed or check it during the night, this will likely benefit you. You can read up more about the effects of blue light exposure and its impact on sleep in a Harvard Health Letter.