Thoughts on iPhone SE, iPad Pro 9.7”, and Apple’s March 2016 ‘Let Us Loop You in’ Event


A lot of people are not pleased with the fact that Apple ‘only’ unveiled a new 4” iPhone, another iPad, and a few Apple Watch bands. Personally, I don’t have anything negative to say about the hardware, but what I really miss is the surprise. The leaks in the weeks before any Apple event in recent years are both a blessing and a curse — while I can’t stop myself from following the rumours, they totally spoil the event. It’s as if I’d gone to see ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ on opening night, knowing the whole plot. In 2012, during D10, Tim Cook promised Kara Swisher and Walk Mossberg to ‘double down on secrecy’ — I’m still waiting for him to deliver.

iPhone SE

While I have heard multiple complaints that Apple basically ‘refurbished’ the iPhone 5S, I am actually pleased that they went with an almost completely unaltered external 5S design (and the matte chamfered edges actually make it look even better) — I still consider it to be the best looking iPhone there ever was.

The insides are all new however, and that is what matters. I did not expect Apple to make the SE as high-end as they did — it’s basically a 4” 6S, with the major differences being the lack of a newer generation Touch ID sensor and no 3D Touch. The biggest surprise was the camera — I truly did not expect Apple to implement the 12 MP sensor and lens from the 6S; I was sure they’d use the 8 MP sensor.

While I’m not planning to switch to the SE from my iPhone 6S Plus, I’m still tempted to do so. And it appears that the new arrival’s battery life is pretty good too.

iPad Pro 9.7”

The new 9.7” iPad Pro is an evolution of the 12.9” model shown last year, with an improved screen and a few new features. I expected ‘just’ a smaller 12.9” iPad, but Apple is obviously trying to keep things interesting and innovating as best they can — the new True Tone Display feature is very promising, especially considering the new ICC profile support in iOS 9.3.

There are however two aspects to it, which I personally don’t quite understand: the rear lens bump (thanks to the 6S’ camera system) and the premium that Apple is charging for the extra storage on the 128 and 256 GB models ($150 per pop; flash prices have fallen in the meantime).

I wish I could justify buying the smaller iPad Pro, just so I could use it to read, while still keeping my 12.9” iPad Pro for more serious work — it’s unfortunately too heavy to hold with one hand for more than a few minutes at a time.

New Apple Watch Line-up

I like how Apple is changing the available models and band combinations in the store every few months. I have the new scuba blue nylon band on order, but I do have a problem with the accessory bands (almost all of them) – the new nylon bands all have silver buckles and pins, and they’re supposedly made of plastic. They should be made of steel and/or aluminium, and I’d like to be able to choose their colour, depending on my Watch’s case: rose gold, gold, space grey, polished steel or space black. I’d happily pay more for this.

I was a bit disappointed though

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Apple should skip the jabs at Microsoft, Windows, Google, and Android. The comment from Phil Schiller about older PCs was completely unnecessary, especially considering that last update to the Mac Pro was 827 days ago. They should be above that sort of language and behaviour — it’s unbecoming.

This event wasn’t nearly as good as the previous one, but I liked it. And the new hardware is pretty impressive.

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