As usual, Apple is spilling few details ahead of its next big media event, scheduled for March 21. Headlined, "Let us loop you in," the company's online and media invites to the event went out earlier today.
The header could prove to be nothing more than a reference to the event's location at Apple's main campus, 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. However, Apple watchers expect the event will include several announcements for new products, including a 4-inch iPhone and a 9.7-inch iPad. We contacted Apple for more information but a spokesperson told us, "We have no other details to share."
4-Inch Device To Resemble iPhone 5s
Scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, the March 21 event will be live streamed online. Viewers without Apple TVs, Macs or iOS devices can watch the event if they have PCs running Windows 10 and Microsoft's Edge browser.
A number of details about Apple's rumored 4-inch iPhone have come out through leaks of investor notes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new, small-screen model -- tentatively identified as an iPhone 5se -- will feature an A9 processor and resemble an upgraded iPhone 5s, according to Kuo-authored research that has trickled out over the past few months and been reported on by MacRumors.
Kuo noted that despite the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens on last year's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, respectively, the demand still exists for smartphones with smaller displays. Expected to be priced at $400 to $500, the 4-inch iPhone will also likely feature a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and support near field communication for Apple Pay.
Day Before FBI-Related Hearing
The March 21 event is also expected to provide new details about Apple's latest iPad update, the iPad Air 3 (although Apple Insider is reporting that the device could be named the iPad Pro). Both the 4-inch iPhone and new tablet are likely to hit the market shortly after the Apple event.
Meanwhile, one day after the Cupertino event, Apple is scheduled to appear in court in connection with its decision not to comply with a Federal Bureau of Investigation order to crack the security of a particular iPhone. The FBI wants Apple to create a new version of iOS so the agency can break the security of an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook in a December 2 attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.
Several dozen technology companies, civil rights organizations and other groups and individuals have filed letters of support or amicus briefs in support of Apple's contention that the FBI order could set a dangerous legal precedent. In an interview with Spanish language channel Univision Tuesday, Apple head of services Eddy Cue warned that the FBI order -- if imposed on Apple -- could mean the company will eventually be forced to remotely turn on the cameras or microphones of users' devices.
"Where will this stop?" Cue asked in a translated version of the interview. "In a divorce case? In an immigration case? In a tax case? Someday, someone will be able to turn on a phone’s microphone. That should not happen in this country."
Image Credit: Apple screenshot of March 21, 2016 invite via Apple.