Apple will be downsizing at a planned March 21 event where it’s expected to launch a 9.7-inch version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablet and an updated 4-inch iPhone with the features of Apple’s larger iPhones.
The 4-inch phone, called the iPhone SE, would replace the 4-inch iPhone 5S, released in 2013 and selling for $450 without contract on Apple’s website. It would join the 4.7-inch iPhone 6S and 5.5-inch 6S Plus, launched last year to complement the company’s first big-screen phones launched in 2014.
The new 4-inch model is expected to appeal to iPhone users who prefer the smaller 4-inch size and have chosen not to step up to bigger screen sizes, analysts said. It would likely bring such new features to the 4-inch size as Apple Pay, improved camera and the latest processor.
Research company Piper Jaffray forecast Apple will ship 50 million iPhone SE models in the first year, compared with almost 75 million iPhones sold in the most recent quarter.
In tablets, Apple will likely launch a 9.7-inch version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro that shipped last fall at prices of $799, $949 and $1,079. The latter price is for a cellular-equipped version. The smaller model will likely be compatible with the optional sensor-equipped Apple Pencil, currently for use only with the big Pro. The new model will also likely add the Pro’s third-gen 64-bit processor.
The new model could replace the 9.7-inch iPad Air, which currently ranges from $399 to $579 and was introduced in fall 2013.
Other current tablets in the Apple line are the:
--9.7-inch iPad Air iPad 2, launched in fall 2014 and currently priced from $499 to $829;
--the iPad Mini 4, launched in fall 2013 and priced from $399 to $729; and
--the older iPad Mini 2, priced from $269 to $449.