Apple Keynote tonight: Here's what to expect

A 4-inch iPhone, a 9.7-inch iPad Pro, new Watch bands, software updates, and maybe, new MacBooks too.

By Souvik Das Published Date
21 - Mar - 2016
| Last Updated
22 - Mar - 2016
Apple Keynote tonight: Here's what to expect

Apple’s event is scheduled to begin in about eight hours, and after all the talk of a smaller iPhone and a more affordable and still smaller IPad Pro, we cannot help but be excited about it. The smaller iPhone is now a near certainty, and is expected to headline Apple’s keynote tonight, one which Apple has conveniently captioned as ‘Let us loop you in’. Similarly, the smaller, 9.7-inch iPad Pro is almost certainly going to be present. Alongside, a host of software upgrades are also expected to be unveiled across all of Apple’s platforms. We had also seen a report of an upgrade to the lineup of Apple’s MacBooks, but it somehow seems like a slim possibility now. Nevertheless, here’s looking at what you should expect from Apple’s event, in more detail.

iPhone SEWhere to buy 30989 31999
Apple’s first 4-inch iPhone since 2013, the iPhone SE (or iPhone 5se, as rumoured previously) is almost certainly going to be the headline of tonight’s keynote. The new iPhone is expected to feature a design similar to the iPhone 5s, but with less taut edges and a slightly curved glass on top. Under the hood, it is expected to run on the present generation A9 processor with integrated M9 motion coprocessor. It is expected to run on 1GB of RAM, and feature a 12-megapixel iSight camera with support for Live Photos. Other rumoured features include always-on Hey Siri functionality, a larger battery pack than the iPhone 5s and NFC to enable Apple Pay. It is, however, not expected to house 3D Touch. Unlike the iPhone 5s, the iPhone SE’s arrangement of buttons is expected to be similar to that of the iPhone 6s. The new iPhone is expected to be priced at around $499 (Rs. 33,200 approx).

A small, compact iPhone with near-identical firepower to the iPhone 6s? I’m listening.

9.7-inch iPad Pro
Apple did not upgrade its 9.7-inch iPad at its last event, which makes this one a major possibility tonight. An equivalent number of rumours have supported the speculation, suggesting that the new iPad will come under the iPad Pro lineup, eventually replacing the iPad Air line of tablets. The new, 9.7-inch iPad Pro is expected to house similar hardware to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, along with four speakers to enhance media consumption experience, a Smart Connector to connect keypad covers and other accessories, and support for Apple Pencil. It is expected to be powered by the same A9X processor that powers the present generation iPad Pro, along with an upgraded 12MP camera (the same one that resides in the iPhone 6s) with a rear-facing LED flash, a first for iPads.

Prices for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro are expected to begin at $599 (Rs. 39,800 approx.) for the 32GB and WiFi-only variant, and go up accordingly to a 128GB and WiFi+Cellular model

Updates to Apple Watch
While a new Apple Watch is certainly not due this time, Apple is expected to provide a software update for watchOS and new band options. watchOS 2.2 is expected to bring a revamped interface, support for connecting multiple watches to one iPhone, built-in Maps app and the nearby feature, that shows local points of interest based on current location. As for the watch bands, Apple may show a new nylon-made band, a space black version of a Milanese loop strap, and new colours in Sport, Modern and Leather loop bands.

Software Updates
iOS 9.3
We expect the Night Shift feature (already seen in Beta) to roll out, along with more quick actions in 3D Touch menus, update all apps feature in App Store, and password protection of Notes (also rolled out in Beta).

tvOS 9.2
Apple’s tvOS is expected to house the maximum number of functional updates among the ones scheduled to be announced tonight. These include Bluetooth keyboard and Dictation support, improved motion sensor performance, additional sound bar support, app grouping on Home (similar to iOS), iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos integration, and Siri search within App Store.

OS X 10.11.4
Not much is expected to be new on the front here, and OS X update 10.11.4 is expected to bring finer performance tuning to the system. Notable updates here include Live Photos viewing within Messages and password-protected Notes. Evernote to Notes integration is also expected to be rolled out.

Most of us expect Apple to hold a separate event to announce its 2016 lineup of MacBooks, although the possibility of the new devices being rolled out today cannot be completely ignored. If indeed, then Apple may launch its new MacBook Pro and Retina MacBook lineups with Intel’s latest generation Skylake processors running inside. Apple has also been rumoured to be working on a
15-inch MacBook Air, along with 13-inch and 12-inch versions. Much has not been heard yet, but then again, it’s never too bad to expect a surprise from Apple.

And lastly, VR?
It’s possibly too early, but we have seen approval of Apple’s patent and a $30 ViewMaster VR starter kit going up for sale in Apple’s offline stores. While this indeed has us interested in what Apple is making down in the labs, it is almost certainly too early to see one as a commercial product.

But, then again, never say never.

Souvik DasSouvik Das