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Apple Releases iOS Update, New iPad Pro, Smaller iPhone

Tim Cook Apple Ipad 2016
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds the new 9.7" iPad Pro during an Apple special event at the Apple headquarters on March 21, 2016 in Cupertino, California. 

Spring has officially sprung. The energy at Apple's launch event today, not so much.

Tim Cook and his silicon squad had what could be characterized as a "light" slate of announcements including two new products (technically three, if you count the woven nylon watchband Cook unveiled). Cook addressed the encryption fight the company is currently embroiled with the FBI on, saying  that Apple "did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government, but we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and your privacy."

Meanwhile, on the day NASA unveiled a study showing climate change's effect on vineyards, Cook announced the ambitious goal of his company being wholly powered by renewable energy. A project called Liam was announced that will deconstruct out-of-use iPhones in order to re-use the metals within on new manufacturing.

The energy in the room was noticeably subdued for an Apple event, which often causes a palpable giddiness. Perhaps the laconic delivery of today's presenters flagged that excitement down, or that much of the announcements were largely known before the event even started. (If you don't believe us, the keynote can be replayed here.) 

There were rumors that today's announcement would bring an update to Apple Music and iTunes, though neither appeared. Here's a list of what did:

Apple Watch

-- Has "become top-selling smartwatch in the world."

-- New band option, woven nylon, made available

-- A price drop for the relatively mild-selling device, which now starts at $299

Apple TV

-- "Apps are the future of television," Cook said, pointing to the existence of 5,000 apps on the their TV's App Store.

-- Siri and dictation, making "typing" on the device much easier for users.

iPhone

-- Introduced a "new member of the Apple family," the 4.7-inch iPhone SE, which has an identical form factor as the iPhone 5S, but double the speed of that 2.5 years-old device.

-- Starts at $399.

iOS

-- Company claims "80 percent" of active iOS devices use newest version of the company's software, compared with Android's two percent.

-- iOS version 9.3, being released today, characterized as one of the "biggest 'dot' releases" the company has done. 

-- New version updates with "Night Shift," which adjusts the blue light on devices as the sun goes down, easing sleep for some users.

-- Passcode protection of Notes.

-- Updates to the News app, which seems to be making itself friendlier to publishers and allows readers to "track" stories.

iPad

-- Introduced an "entirely new iPad Pro with a 9.7-inch retina display. It weighs less than one pound."

-- 34GB version starts at $599, with capacity up to 256GB.

-- New product also causes the iPad Air 2 price to drop, now starts at $399.


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