Apple iPhone 5se, 9.7-Inch iPad Pro Debuts Moved to March 21: Rumors

The expected release dates for the rumored iPhone 5se and 9.7-inch iPad Pro are being delayed by about a week, according to reports.

Apple, iPhone 5se, iPad Pro, tablets, smartphones, iPhone 6, rumors

Rumors continue to circulate about the reported debut date for Apple's upcoming smaller iPhone 5se and the smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro version, which will both apparently be unveiled on or about March 21. Only a week ago, the expected debut date for the devices was March 15.

The latest debut date was revealed in a Feb. 27 article by AppleInsider, which said the announcements will likely come at a low-key Apple event at the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, rather in a glitzy presentation, as is often the company's practice.

In a related report, the expected price of the smaller 4-inch iPhone 5se will be $400 to $500, which is far less than the latest iPhone 6 models, which start at $649, according to a Feb. 26 story by MacRumors. The price estimates came from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a recent research note to investors, the article reported.

Earlier in February, rumors began circulating that Apple was slating the announcement of its iPhone5se for March 15, according to an earlier eWEEK story. Recent reports about the rumored smaller iPhone 5se describe the handset as being a special edition variation of the previous 4-inch iPhone screen size and an enhanced version of the iPhone 5s. It won't be a smaller version of Apple's iPhone 6s (pictured), but is instead being built as an upgrade to the company's iPhone 5s that debuted in the fall of 2013.

Apple is planning to debut the smaller, more feature-laden phone to attract new buyers to a handset that won't take away sales from its larger flagship phones, while also encouraging iPhone 5 users to upgrade without having to move to one of the company's larger phones if they choose to carry a smaller phone.

The 4-inch iPhone 5se would be smaller than the company's existing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone smartphones, giving customers more options.

Rumors call for the iPhone 5se to include upgrades in hardware and software as well as curved edges like those on the latest iPhone 6 and 6s devices, while the handset will retain the same 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.2-megapixel front camera systems used on the iPhone 6. A near-field communication (NFC) chip is also expected to allow the phone to use Apple Pay, and it will include camera support for larger panoramas and auto-focus for video recording. Also included will be faster, more powerful Apple A8 and M8 chips from the iPhone 6 and Bluetooth 4.2, voice over LTE (VoLTE), and 802.11ac WiFi chips from the iPhone 6s.

The upcoming iPad is expected to be a 9.7-inch version of the company's flagship, enterprise-focused 12.9-inch iPad Pro model. That means the iPad Pro will soon reportedly be offered in distinct 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch versions, just like Apple's MacBook Pro laptop machines are available in 13-inch and 15-inch models.

The diminutive iPad Pro will include components that mimic its larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro brethren, including Apple's third-generation 64-bit A9X chip, which has two times the memory bandwidth of previous versions, quad stereo speakers and support for the Apple Pencil, according to reports. Apple will also include the Smart Connector that is found in the larger iPad Pro, and will offer a smaller version of its Smart Keyboard cover attachment for the smaller model.

Any future devices from Apple are certainly targeting increased revenue for the company, which is seeing sales slowdowns globally for some of its most popular products, such as iPhones and iPads, according to Apple's latest quarterly results, released Jan. 26. While Apple chalked up $75.9 billion in first-quarter revenue, a new record for the company, its sales of 74.7 million iPhones—little changed from the 74.5 million sold in the same quarter a year earlier—has analysts concerned, eWEEK reported recently.

First-quarter sales of iPads dropped to 16.1 million units from 21.4 million in the same quarter one year ago, while Mac sales slipped to 5.3 million this quarter, compared with 5.5 million one year ago.

The $75.9 billion in revenue for the company's fiscal 2016 first quarter, which ended Dec. 26, is up 2 percent from $74.6 billion in the same quarter one year ago, while the company's net income of $18.4 billion, which set another quarterly record, edged up from $18 billion one year ago.