Let us loop you in: What to expect from Apple’s March 21 event

A smaller iPhone, a smaller iPad Pro, and a shotgun blast of smaller reveals.

Apple’s having an event next Monday. We’re going to be on the ground to cover everything the company has to offer, but as usual leakers and rumor sites have outed most of the biggest potential announcements.

To get you prepared for the big event, we’ve rounded up the most likely rumors and added our own educated guesses and commentary. Check back on Monday to follow along with our liveblog and all of our post-event coverage.


Return of the 4-inch iPhone


Fans of smaller phones (“smaller” in this case meaning “less than 4.7 inches”) haven’t had many flagships to look forward to in the last couple of years, aside from stuff like the Xperia Compact series. Apple’s larger phones have been great for sales, but people who actually liked the size of the iPhone 5 and 5S haven’t had anything to upgrade to in a while.

Enter the “iPhone SE,” a 4-inch model that will supposedly combine the size and screen resolution of the iPhone 5 series with specs imported from the iPhone 6 and 6S. The most reliable rumors suggest it will use an Apple A9 SoC (possibly at a lower clock speed than the A9 in the larger iPhones, similar to the A8 in the sixth-generation iPod Touch) and the NFC hardware necessary to support Apple Pay. The phone will use either the 8MP camera sensor from the iPhone 6 or the 12MP sensor from the iPhone 6S, and either way it will be able to take Live Photos à la the iPhone 6S. It will also reportedly support the always-on Hey Siri feature from the 6S, but it isn’t expected to include the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display technology, possibly because there isn’t enough room in a smaller iPhone 5-esque enclosure for the necessary Taptic Engine hardware.

As of this writing, the phone is expected in 16GB (ugh) and 64GB capacities and will supposedly replace the $450 unlocked iPhone 5S at the bottom of the lineup. It’s then expected to keep that spot when the so-called “iPhone 7” is introduced in the fall, while the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will fall to the middle tier, and the iPhone 6 will be discontinued.

Rumors about the phone’s physical design have been all over the place—it could look exactly like an iPhone 5S with new internals, it could resemble a shrunken iPhone 6, or it could fall somewhere in between the two. We’ll know for sure in a few days. In any case, rumors indicate that it will be sold in the same space grey, silver, gold, and rose gold finishes as the iPhone 6S.

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