Apple finally drops the 16GB iPhone SE, revises the iPad line

This week, Apple released some updates to its iOS device line. They seem aimed at both modernizing things (on the iPhone side) and trying to improve sales (on the iPad side).

RIP 16GB iPhones

The iPhone SE received an upgraded version. Among the changes to the four-inch entry-level model, the SE now comes in two sizes, 32GB (for $399) and 128GB (for $499).

I assume Apple’s finally paid attention to criticism about the 16GB model being too small for today’s standards, and finally dropped it. Of course, since there’s no MicroSD card slot, iPhone buyers are stuck with whatever capacity came with their phone. Thus, having a decent amount of space is even more important than it is on Android phones.

Elsewhere in the iPhone line, Apple’s releasing a new red model iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, as part of its longtime fundraising efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.

The iPad line’s been simplified

The iPad Mini 4, which was Apple’s entry-level model with several variations, is now available in only one model: a $399, 128GB version. Taking the Mini’s place at the low end is the 9.7-inch iPad (dropping the “Air” name), which comes in two models: a $329 32GB model and a $429 128GB model. Cellular versions of the above are available at an extra cost, of course. The Pro line is also available, starting at $599 for a 9.7-inch model.

As I’ve written before, sales of tablets have fallen off. Meanwhile, Apple’s iPad line faces competition from both the high end and lower end. At the high end, Microsoft’s Surface is proving more popular than first thought (disclaimer: I work for a contractor that does work for Microsoft). At the lower end, and what’s making both Apple and Microsoft concerned, are the sales of Chromebooks in schools. They’re cheap, easy to manage, work well for basic computing purposes, and come with keyboards (unlike the iPad).

In response, Microsoft’s making attempts at promoting cheaper, education oriented computer models and software. Meanwhile, Apple’s decided to drop the price of its most popular iPad model size. As Macworld notes, it might help spur some sales of iPads. That said, Bluetooth keyboards are still an extra expense. I wonder if Apple’s move might also tie to the Pro being sold as a laptop replacement (and Surface alternative), as seen in the Pro’s current TV ads. Apple seems to want the lower-end iPad to be a laptop replacement/Chromebook alternative as well.

As for which iPads will sell, it’ll likely be the full-size models. Unless one wants a smaller-size tablet running iOS, there’s not much point to buying a Mini. The Mini’s processor is a bit older than the iPad’s, and there’s only a $30 difference between the 128GB models. Power users wanting an iOS tablet with more horsepower will want the Pro, of course.

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