Apple March 2016 Media Event: Mac Users Out of the Loop

New iPad Pro, iPhone SE, But No Macs at March Media Event

Apple Campus Cupertino
Apple Campus at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino. Buyenlarge | Getty Images

Apple’s "Let Us Loop You In" media event focused on new Apple Watch bands, an iPhone SE, and an iPad Pro, plus iOS and tvOS updates. And as expected, the event didn't have content directly related to our favorite product, Macs, although Apple will likely hold Mac events as the year rolls on. In the meantime, let's take a quick look at some of the key announcements today, starting with new Apple products.

iPhone SE

Surprising no one, Apple officially released the new iPhone SE. While the iPhone SE has impressive capabilities, perhaps the most important bit of information is that the new SE represents Apple’s commitment to having a modern iPhone lineup that encompasses both the classic 4-inch display size (iPhone SE), and the larger displays seen in the iPhone 6s products.

Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but these models represent older technologies, and customers upgrading or purchasing new will likely consider the new iPhone SE or the current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus instead.

You can find out all about the iPhone SE from Sam Costello, our iPhone/iPod expert: iPhone SE Hardware & Software Features.

iPad Pro

One of the lingering questions we had about the new 9.7-inch iPad was answered this morning in Cupertino: the name will be iPad Pro. Seems those who cover the iPad were about evenly split between Apple calling the latest iPad an iPad Air 3 or an iPad Pro.

Pro won out, and Apple now has two iPad Pros, differentiated primarily by screen size. The smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro, being the newest member of the family, has a few additional features lacking in its bigger sibling, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The main differences seem to be a better camera, support for shooting 4K video, wider color gamut, and a new “True Tone display,” which measures the ambient color balance where the iPad is being used and adjusts the display's native white balance to match.

There are, of course, additional new features in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which you can find out about by checking in with our iPad Expert, Daniel Nations.

Apple Watch

New Apple Watch bands in new colors were on display at the March media event, along with a nice price drop for the entry model of the Apple Watch. Emily Price, our Apple Watch Expert, will have more information for those of you with some Apple time on your wrists.

iOS 9.3

Apple released iOS 9.3, and it's available as a free update starting today. While there are a number of new features, two struck me as interesting. The first is Night Shift, which changes the color balance toward the warmer colors as nighttime approaches. The reason for the change is that sleep research has found that light containing a large spectrum of blue can inhibit sleep, while warmer color temperature doesn't cause sleep problems, at least in those prone to them.

If Night Shift works as expected, there may be a large number of folks getting better sleep, but never finishing that eBook they're reading.

The other update was a simple security change that allows you to protect entries in the Notes app from prying eyes. You can choose to use a password or a fingerprint as the method to lock and unlock a note.

Find out more about the iOS 9.3 update.

Macs

As I mentioned earlier, we weren't expecting any Mac updates, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing a great many Mac updates this year. The annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), which typically takes place in mid-June, is a natural time for Apple to announce new Mac products and provide details about upcoming versions of OS X; this year, I’m expecting details about OS X 10.12.

If you would like to guess the name for the next version of OS X, let us know on Facebook.

At this point, which Mac will be shown at WWDC 2016 is sheer speculation on my part, but I think an update to the Mac Pro is likely. The current Mac Pro, introduced in 2013, needs to be updated to include better graphics, faster processors, and faster flash storage options.

Also, I’d like to see Apple commit to the faster USB 3.1 generation 2 port. This is the faster version of the USB 3.1 port now included with the 12-inch MacBook. Gen 2 ports would double the speed of the USB port to 10 Gbits/s, as well as support DisplayPort and HDMI video over the same USB connector.

Which Mac would you like to see updated? Drop us a line and let us know.