Big statement, teeny phone. Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off his March product event at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California, on Monday, March 21, by addressing ongoing privacy issues related to his company. Using that as a base, they later transitioned into the introduction of the new iPhone SE, in addition to other recent innovations developed by the tech company.
Cook — who spoke to Time in an article published last week about his stance on the FBI's demands that Apple unlock and encrypt an iPhone 5c belonging to Syed Farook, one of the terrorists involved in the San Bernardino attacks — was firm and resolute about his company's position on Monday. Cook explained that there are more than 1 billion active Apple devices used across the world.
"With that comes a significant responsibility," Cook said. "We built the iPhone for you, our customers, and we know it is a deeply personal device. We need to decide, as a nation, how much power the government should have over our data and our privacy. … We owe it to our customers and we owe it to our country." He concluded of the issue: "We will not shrink from this responsibility."
Cook then moved on to several other key topics, starting with Apple's commitment to the environment. Since 2014, Apple has wanted to reach its goal of using renewable energy at 100 percent of its facilities. The company claimed on Monday that the number is now at 93 percent around the world, with 100 percent of its facilities in the United States running on renewable energy.
He also revealed that the company is dropping the cost of the coveted Apple Watch with its new price starting at $299. Then, came the most anticipated announcement of the day: the iPhone SE, pronounced "essay." According to Cook, consumers can get the product in rose gold, and it has the stainless steel logo. It also looks remarkably similar to the iPhone 5, but has all of the functionalities offered by the iPhone 6s.
The phone boasts a 12-megapixel camera and also can capture live photos. It will start at $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 64 GB option. The phone can be ordered on March 24 and will ship to consumers on March 31.
Finally, the company moved onto the iPad family, announcing a new tech product called the iPad Pro. The tablet includes a 9.7 inch display and weighs one pound. It starts at $599 for the 32 GB, $749 for the 128 GB and $899 for the 256 GB model.
In addition to its latest products, the tech exec and his team spent a large portion of the event on to the issue of health. Apple announced that it was using ResearchKit, a tool that allows researchers to aggregate vital health data onto tech devices. Apple announced that a new Apple Watch app, known as CareKit, will help track and predict seizures. CareKit will be available in April.
"We're always pushing forward and innovating," Cook said as he closed the event on Monday. "This is probably the last product announcement in this Town Hall. The iPad was announced in this room."
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