Surprises Apple Might Have in Store for Its March 21 Media Briefing

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-03-07
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Surprises Apple Might Have in Store for Its March 21 Media Briefing
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    Surprises Apple Might Have in Store for Its March 21 Media Briefing

    Apple isn't saying what it will announce at its March 21 media event, but rumors suggest that it could unveil a new iPhone, new iPad models and more.
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    A New-Generation Follow-On to the iPhone 5c
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    A New-Generation Follow-On to the iPhone 5c

    The strongest rumor to surface is that Apple will announce a new iPhone at its March 21 event. Many reports have claimed Apple is getting ready to introduce a smaller mobile handset called the iPhone 5se, although more recent reports say it will be called the iPhone 6c, consistent with the earlier generation iPhone 5c. The reports say the unit will have a 4-inch screen in a metallic chassis and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and will run on Apple's A8 processor. Expect it to be cheaper than the iPhone 6s.
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    The iPad Air 3 Is Long Overdue
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    The iPad Air 3 Is Long Overdue

    There is some debate over whether Apple will unveil the iPad Air 3 at its event, but there are signs are pointing to a new iteration of the tablet. Apple's iPad Air line didn't get an update in 2015 and with an ailing tablet business, the company could use a boost with a new version of its flagship consumer-focused slate. The iPad Air 3 would likely come with the same 9.7-inch screen, but feature a higher-resolution screen than its predecessor and perhaps even the high-speed A9X processor.
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    A Smaller iPad Pro Seems Likely
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    A Smaller iPad Pro Seems Likely

    The 12.9-inch iPad Pro may soon have a complement. According to several reports, Apple will unveil a 9.7-inch iPad Pro at the company's March event. Like its bigger brother, the smaller iPad Pro would come with support for Apple's digital stylus and its attached keyboard. It'll also be cheaper than Apple's current iPad Pro line, but like its larger counterpart, it will focus on the enterprise, according to reports.
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    Apple Watchbands, Not the Apple Watch 2
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    Apple Watchbands, Not the Apple Watch 2

    Although some earlier reports said Apple would launch a new smartwatch in March, the latest rumors say it'll instead focus on new watchbands. Apple likely wants to get more sales out of its first Apple Watch and boost smartwatch accessory sales until September, when it's now rumored that it will launch its second wearable.
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    Apple's MacBook Air Needs a Boost
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    Apple's MacBook Air Needs a Boost

    The MacBook Air could be getting a much-needed boost this month. Rumors suggest Apple will nix the 11-inch MacBook Air, since it already has a 12-inch MacBook, and go with a new 15-inch MacBook Air to complement its current 13-inch model. Both versions would come with updated specs, including better processors and perhaps even improved screens. Expect them to be thin and lightweight to differentiate themselves from the thicker, heavier and more powerful MacBook Pro line.
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    An Expansion of Apple's Force Touch
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    An Expansion of Apple's Force Touch

    Apple first unveiled its Force Touch technology in the MacBook, and it has since come to the MacBook Pro. Expect Apple to extend it to other devices at the company's March event. In fact, the latest rumors say Force Touch, which allows users to press down on the touchpad with different pressure to affect how software responds, will come to the new MacBook Airs.
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    An Improved Version of iOS 9
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    An Improved Version of iOS 9

    There's a good possibility that Apple will announce some upgrades to iOS 9 at its March event. iOS 9.3, which is currently in beta, comes with several improvements, including enhancements to Apple's CarPlay, a feature that helps users "get a good night's sleep," and updates to Notes, News and Health. Those who have tested iOS 9.3 say it's a major upgrade, so the March event may be a perfect place to showcase the new and improved software.
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    Some More Mac Surprises?
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    Some More Mac Surprises?

    Debate rages over whether Apple will unveil other Mac upgrades besides a MacBook Air at its event. A handful of rumors say that Apple could announce some new configurations for its Mac Pro, and perhaps even enhance its iMac line. While a full lineup upgrade seems unlikely, the MacBook Air may not be the only Mac getting improvements at the March event.
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    Look for a Tim Cook Statement About Data Privacy
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    Look for a Tim Cook Statement About Data Privacy

    Apple's case with the FBI isn't going away anytime soon, which means CEO Tim Cook will discuss it at the company's March event. Expect Cook to talk extensively about privacy, his company's commitment to it and how he plans to improve user privacy in the future. Apple has chosen privacy as its top political concern this year, and that will be made abundantly clear both in court and in the court of public opinion at its March 21 event.
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    Talk About Security Improvements?
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    Talk About Security Improvements?

    Following that, there are some rumors that say Apple is already working on ways to improve the security and privacy features baked into iOS and OS X. While it's believed those improvements will focus on Messages and iCloud, it's not known when they'll be rolled out. Either way, several recent rumors say Apple will talk up its plans to improve software privacy and security at its March event, and perhaps will even provide some hints on what it's working on for future software upgrades.
 

Apple appears to be adhering to a regular schedule of nearly quarterly product announcements.  The company kicked off its 2015 announcement schedule with an event in March, followed by a software-heavy keynote address at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. In September, Apple showcased its latest iPhone models in tandem with its iPad Pro tablet. According to the latest rumors, Apple will follow a similar schedule plan this year with a special media briefing on March 21. While Apple has not confirmed any of the many rumors that have circulated for weeks, all signs point to the introduction of a new iPhone, a smaller iPad Pro and perhaps even the long-awaited iPad Air 3, although there continues to be plenty of debate about what the new models will actually be named. Apple might also expand its watchband inventory to offer more customization to its popular wearable. These rumors suggest that these products won't be Apple's most important of the year, but will help fill in some gaps in the company's mobile product line. Still, there will be plenty of news to grab the technology world's attention at Apple's event on March 21. Here's what to expect.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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