When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) holds a press conference to introduce new products, expectations run high.
Even when the public and the media have a general sense of what might be introduced, as was the case for the company's March 21 event, the possibility of surprises still has the public hyped in advance of the big reveals. Of course, as M. Night Shyamalan has shown with his films, being known for delivering twists becomes a heavy burden. The same problem affects Apple, which goes into every event trying to offer up news that the public and the press don't see coming.
That's a bit of a curse that can overshadow what would have been exciting news had it not been predicted or reported previously. In this case, Apple was expected to unveil a a new, smaller version of its iPhone, as well as a smaller iPad Pro, its answer to Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface Pro, along with some software news and perhaps some Apple Watch changes.
That's pretty much exactly what it did, but there were a few mild surprises, and knowing in advance shouldn't dim enthusiasm for the company's latest innovations -- even though it may.
Apple is helping people get healthy
After an opening segment on the company's recycling efforts, Tim Cook turned the stage over to COO Jeff Williams, who talked about how information gathered by the company's ResearchKit has helped researchers around the world. He noted that it's been used for a Parkinson's disease study that became the largest such study in less than 24 hours, and for research that identified asthma triggers in all 50 states.
"When we introduced ResearchKit, our goal was to help medical research," Williams said, explaining that now the company understands that it can also help people manage their illnesses. "We think empowering people with data about their health is very important, so today we are introducing CareKit."
The new tool for software/app developers will help healthcare companies and institutions people track their own care while being able to track and share information with caregivers. Williams, of course, took pains to note that the information tracked would be shared only with the user's permission and that data would be treated with the utmost privacy.
New Apple Watch bands, price
Cook took the stage back to talk about Apple Watch and introduced some new bands for the wearable. They included a woven nylon band, as well as new sport and leather bands in all-new colors.
The CEO continued by touching on Apple TV, which is getting improvements to its interface.
A new, smaller iPhone
In expected news, the company introduced a new version of its 4-inch iPhone with enhanced specifications. Called the iPhone SE, the aluminum phone has many of the features offered in the current top-of-the-line models.
The goal of the new iPhone is for it to entice customers using older models to upgrade.
"The replacement cycle for iPhones has stretched to 27 months," compared with the 23 months of two years ago, RBC analyst Amit Daryanani wrote in a note to clients, Bloomberg reported. The new handset will "ensure that consumers who have a three-year-old 5S or 5C don't switch to Android for lack of new iPhone products."