Apple CEO Tim Cook began the company’s “Loop You In” product reveal and press event on Monday at its 1 Infinite Loop HQ in Cupertino, CA—its last in that location before moving to its futuristic new campus next year—with a solemn statement about why the company is adamant in its stance about protecting customers’ privacy and data from officials.
“For many of us, the iPhone is an extension of ourselves,” Cook said. “We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy. We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government. But we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers and we owe it to our country. We will not shrink from this responsibility.”
Hours after the event, the US Justice Department cancelled a planned hearing on Tuesday over obtaining personal data from the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, announcing that it may have found another way into the iPhone that wouldn’t require the company’s cooperation — a surprise move that raised as many questions as it answered in this polarizing debate.
One cause for celebration during Monday’s event: Cook noted that the company turns 40 on April 1st, celebrating “four decades of ideas, innovation and culture” with the following “40 Years in 40 Seconds” video:
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s SVP of environment, then took the stage to highlight its sustainability progress and introduce a video of Liam, a robot that tears down iPhones for parts to be recycled:
“True innovation means considering what happens to a product at every stage of its life cycle. Liam disassembles your iPhone when it’s no longer functioning, so the materials inside can live on.”
As for why that name, it’s not an acronym. According to Mashable, “Apple says the robot just looks like a “Liam” and the name stuck.”
HEALTH, FROM RESEARCHKIT TO CAREKIT
Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, also spoke about how the company is revolutionizing healthcare and research through its ResearchKit mobile developer platform. “The response to ResearchKit has been fantastic. Virtually overnight, many ResearchKit studies became the largest in history and researchers are gaining insights and making discoveries that weren’t possible before,” he said. “Medical researchers around the world continue to use iPhone to transform what we know about complex diseases, and with continued support from the open source community, the opportunities for iPhone in medical research are endless.”
Apple’s press release adds: “ResearchKit turns iPhone into a powerful tool for medical research by helping doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants anywhere in the world using iPhone apps. Participants enrolled in these app-based studies can review an interactive informed consent process, easily complete active tasks or submit survey responses, and choose how their health data is shared with researchers, making contributions to medical research easier than ever.”
Enhancing ResearchKit, Apple also announced CareKit, “a new software framework designed to help developers enable people to actively manage their own medical conditions. iPhone apps using CareKit make it easier for individuals to keep track of care plans and monitor symptoms and medication; providing insights that help people better understand their own health. With the ability to share information with doctors, nurses or family members, CareKit apps help people take a more active role in their health.”
“We’re thrilled with the profound impact ResearchKit has already had on the pace and scale of conducting medical research, and have realized that many of the same principles could help with individual care,” said Williams.
“We believe that giving individuals the tools to understand what is happening with their health is incredibly powerful, and apps designed using CareKit make this a reality by empowering people to take a more active role in their care.”
On the product front, Apple Watch is getting a $50 price cut and colorful new straps including nylon bands that recall the military-inspired Timex Weekender. Cook estimates that one-third of Apple Watch wearers like to change their bands.
A SMALLER IPAD PRO
Apple also unveiled the all-new 9.7-inch iPad Pro: “At just under one pound it features a new pro Retina display with greater brightness, wider color gamut, lower reflectivity, Night Shift mode and introduces new True Tone display technology to dynamically adjust white balance. The new iPad Pro delivers incredible performance with the 64-bit A9X chip that rivals most portable PCs, along with a four-speaker audio system that is twice as powerful, new 12-megapixel iSight camera for shooting Live Photos and 4K video, 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, and faster wireless technologies. And iPad Pro includes support for the breakthrough Apple Pencil and a new Smart Keyboard cover designed to fit the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro.”
“iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing. “The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a new Retina display with True Tone technology, four-speaker audio system, blazing fast A9X chip, 12-megapixel iSight camera, 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, faster wireless, and support for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. It is the ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users.”
…AND A SMALLER IPHONE
As expected, Apple unveiled a smaller smartphone with the iPhone SE, described as “the most powerful phone with a four-inch display, in a beloved compact aluminum design that has been updated with matte-chamfered edges, a color-matched stainless steel Apple logo, and four gorgeous metallic finishes, including rose gold. iPhone SE offers exceptional performance with the same 64-bit A9 chip offered in iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus for blazing fast speeds, longer battery life, faster wireless, a 12-megapixel iSight camera featuring Live Photos and 4K video, and Touch ID with Apple Pay.”
“iPhone SE is an exciting new idea — we started with a beloved, iconic design and reinvented it from the inside out. The result is the most beautiful and powerful phone with a four-inch display in the world,” said Schiller. “iPhone SE is packed with a stunning four-inch Retina display, advanced 64-bit A9 chip with M9 motion co-processor, longer battery life, 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash, Live Photos, 4K video, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, and Touch ID with Apple Pay. Everyone who wants a smaller phone is going to love iPhone SE.”