The iPhone SE and iPad Pro (9.7) reach Apple's retail stores today, March 31, expanding the company's lineup of smartphones and tablets. The devices are iterative updates to existing hardware, but still manage to show some appeal.
Apple recycled the design of both devices, which are practically impossible to tell apart from earlier gear. The iPhone SE is, for all intents and purposes, an iPhone 6s crammed into the body of the iPhone 5s. Similarly, the iPad Pro (9.7) takes the major features of the iPad Pro (12.9) and installs them into the smaller, more portable form factor.
The iPhone SE's major features include a 4-inch screen, an A9 processor with an M9 motion coprocessor, a 12-megapixel camera, and Touch ID with Apple Pay. The phone comes with a paltry 16GB of storage, but that can be improved to 64GB for an extra $100. Like all iPhones, it ships with iOS 9 and includes the standard set of Apple apps, including Apple Music, Safari, iMessage, Apple Photos, iTunes, and the App Store.
The phone's innards, however, are not all new. Chipworks dismantled the iPhone SE and found components that date back five years. Um, yikes?
The A9 processor is the same one featured in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but the touch screen controller from Broadcom and Texas instruments comes from 2011. The iPhone SE may have the same base storage as the 6s, but Chipworks says the SE's storage chip uses Toshiba's older 19nm process and not the newer 15nm process found in the storage chip of the 6s. The good news? The iPhone SE uses the same NFC controller, 6-axis inertial sensor, and Qualcomm modem/transceiver as the iPhone 6s.
The iPhone SE starts at $400. It's is available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Aside from the lower price, the iPhone SE is more compact than the 6s/6s Plus, which Apple believes will help it sell in good numbers. Early reviews suggest it has excellent battery life.
The iPad Pro (9.7) is a slightly different story. It is essentially an upgrade to the iPad Air 2, even though Apple continues to sell the Air 2. It is the same size and looks almost identical. There are key changes, however, that give the iPad Pro its own identity.
The new iPad Pro has the same size and resolution screen as the iPad Air 2, but Apple improved it by reducing reflectivity and adding True Tone coloring. The screen is also compatible with the Apple Pencil stylus.
The new iPad Pro takes on the A9x processor from Apple and adds stereo speakers, and also adopts the more powerful 12-megapixel camera from the iPhone 6s. Last, Apple's new mid-sized tablet includes the same Smart Connector found on the larger iPad Pro, which allows it to connect to the Smart Keyboard and other accessories. Apple is pitching the device as a possible laptop replacement, but not everyone agrees with that notion.
The iPad Pro (9.7) starts at $600, which is $100 more than the iPad Air 2, but $200 less than the iPad Pro (12.9).