Cupertino(US), Mar 21: Apple went small -- cutting prices as well as screen sizes -- unveiling a new iPhone and iPad aimed at reaching more customers and boosting replacements, at a low-key product unveiling Monday.
The new launches came as Apple geared for a high-profile court battle with the US government on encryption and data protection, with chief executive Tim Cook claiming that protecting privacy is an obligation for the tech giant.
The new iPhone SE will debut at $399 for US customers without a contract subsidy, a significant cut from the price of its larger iPhones.
Apple vice president Greg Joswiak said many consumers prefer smaller handsets, which accounted for 30 million iPhones sold in 2015.
"Some people really love smaller phones," he told the event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, unveiling the aluminum handset with upgraded specifications and other features including Apple Pay. "In some countries like China, for a majority of these customers it is their first iPhone."
The iPhone SE will be aimed at first-time Apple buyers and those who want to upgrade from the iPhone 5S and 5C, which have not been updated in over two years.
The iPhone 6S, the lowest-cost handset in the large-screen family, starts at $649. Also unveiled at the event was a new iPad Pro that also moves smaller -- a 9.7 inch display compared with the 12.9 inch model on the original business-geared tablet.
"It is a large enough display to get all your work done, but easy to carry around," said Apple vice president Phil Schiller. The smaller, new iPad starts at $599 for US customers, down from around $800 for the original.
Apple will be taking orders Thursday for the new phone and tablet, with deliveries set for March 31, in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore, with more markets to come online in April.
Apple is seeking "to kickstart the upgrade cycles for both iPhones and iPads," said Jan Dawson at Jackdaw Research.