All hail Tim Cook!
Apple held its latest live event this morning, and like the keynotes of years past it delivered in a big way. Cook, the company's CEO, gathered in Cupertino with some of his best and brightest employees to bring us, the technology plebeians, the newest products that will come to take over every aspect of our lives. (But would we have it any other way? Probably not). And this time around there are actually some pretty exciting changes coming—if you like things really, really small.
Before launching into the actual product announcements, Cook took a minute to stand on his soapbox about Apple's current, er, tussle with the federal government over the locked iPhone of the San Bernardino attackers. He mentioned that they've been "humbled and grateful" for the outpouring of support the company has received over its choice not to break into the phone. "We did not expect to be at odds with our own government," he added. "But we believe deeply that we have a responsibility to protect your data and your privacy. We will not shrink from this responsibility."
And with the politics portion of the morning over, he got to the good stuff.
What most viewers were interested in was the mysterious iPhone SE. What would it look like? What kind of technology would it have? Would Siri finally be able to just read our minds? It's a big no on that last front, but as for the other questions we'll put it this way: The new iPhone is basically a combination of the 5 and the 6S. That means it has all the features of the current newest phone: Performance speed, graphics, the use of "Hey, Siri," and the awesome camera. But it's the size of the old iPhone 5.
According to Apple, they found that the 4-inch phones are actually some of the most popular, presumably because people are tired of having a telephone the size of a chalkboard. You'll now be able to keep your iPhone in your pocket again, but without reverting back to the (gasp!) old iOS. The SE will also be significantly cheaper than any current iteration, starting at $399 (or free with a two-year activation). Orders for the SE start on Thursday, and they begin shipping a week later on March 31.
But of course the iPhone isn't the only new product that drew Apple fans out to the burbs of San Francisco. The company made several other big announcements throughout the morning. The apple watch got a lot cheaper (it will now be $299), and it will come with fancy new bands that they're calling "woven nylon." The Apple TV is getting organized folders just like on the iPhone home screen, the ability to use dictation to type in searches (read: you can just talk and the little box will know what you're saying), and you'll also be able to access your entire iCloud photo library. All this will be available on a free download today.
The iPad Pro is also getting a bit of a facelift. Apple is billing it as "the ultimate PC replacement," because apparently a bunch of old-timers on PCs are rapidly switching over to iPads. The screen will now be 40% less reflective and 25% brighter than the air, and it will come in...wait for it...rose gold. Praise. For the data geeks out there, pony up the dough for the brand new 256G version.
And finally, for anyone not looking to trade in their hand-sized iPhone 6S-Plus, there's a pretty banging update to iOS 9.3. You can add fingerprint protection to the Notes app for super-secret note-taking, and there's also a feature called Night Shift, which is able to tell when the sun goes down wherever you are and alter the color of the phone's display to the warmer end of the spectrum. In layman's terms, you can now read your phone in bed to your heart's content, without it disturbing your sleep patterns as much. This is available in a free upgrade today.
Scroll on, Apple lovers.