Apple announces new 9.7-inch iPad, Red iPhone 7, Watch straps and Clips app

Apple has introduced a limited edition red iPhone, available on the 7 or 7 Plus handsets, alongside an updated version of the 9.7-inch iPad, new Watch straps and a video-creation app for iOS devices called Clips.

The new iPad features a brighter 9.7-inch Retina display with an aluminium unibody enclosure weighing less than 500g in total. It uses the 64-bit Apple-designed A9 chip and maintains the same battery life as the previous model. The UK price has been reduced to £339 despite Apple’s post-Brexit hikes.

This is an update to the mid-range iPad, which sits in the in the middle of the iPad range, ahead of the mini 4 and behind the two iPad Pro models, which are due for their own tech spec refresh, likely to follow later this year. 

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said: “iPad is the world’s most popular tablet. Customers love the large, 9.7-inch display for everything from watching TV and movies, to surfing the web, making FaceTime calls and enjoying photos and now it is even more affordable.”

Apple also released the first-ever Product Red iPhone, available as either an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus handset. The specification of the Red model is the same as a standard iPhone 7. This Red special edition arrives in the tenth year of Apple supporting the global fund to fight AIDS, following such previous Red products as the Red iPod, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle. To date, Apple has contributed over $130m to the Red global fund. 

Taking a similar positioning as it did with the Jet Black iPhone 7, the vibrant red aluminium-finish Product Red iPhone 7 will be available in either 128Gb or 256GB capacity – no low-end 32Gb option. The handset will be available to order worldwide from Friday 24 March 2017. 

“Since we began working with (RED) 10 years ago, our customers have made a significant impact in fighting the spread of AIDS through the purchase of our products,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The introduction of this special edition iPhone in a gorgeous red finish is our biggest (PRODUCT)RED offering to date in celebration of our partnership with (RED).” 

In honour of Spring, the Apple Watch has expanded its colour palette, with a new line-up of bright and striped bands. The seasonal refresh of Watch straps is becoming a regular event for Apple, indicating the importance of fashion trends in encouraging greater take-up of the Watch hardware.

In Apple’s own marketing words, these “highlights for the season” include new Sport bands (in Pebble, Azure and Camellia) a wide stripe Woven Nylon band (in Berry, Tahoe Blue, Orange, Red, Pollen and Midnight Blue), the standalone availability of Nike Sport Bands for the first time (in Anthracite/Black, Pure Platinum/White and Volt/Black) and the “newest expression” of beautifully crafted but undeniably eye-wateringly expensive Apple Watch Hermès bands in various elegant shades of on-trend colour (Bleu Zéphyr Epsom leather, Fauve Barenia leather, Lime Epsom leather and Colvert Swift leather).

In the software domain, Apple introduced Clips, a new video app for creating short video clips with overlaid, animated titles and graphics, “the fun, new way to create expressive videos on iOS”. 

The app allows the user to combine multiple video clips, photos and music into short videos that can then be easily shared with friends via the Messages app, or on Instagram, Facebook and other popular social networks. Clips introduces Live Titles, a feature that lets users create animated captions and titles using just their voice. Bundled effects include comic book filters, speech bubbles, shapes and full-screen animated posters to help bring out the user’s personality in their videos made with Clips.

Clips is likely Apple’s response to the success of Snapchat and the addition of short video tools to other social media apps, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With no social app of its own, Apple is aiming to at least be able to leave its own digital fingerprint on these channels if it can persuade end users to adopt Clips. Videos made with Clips can be shared directly to popular social networks and video websites, including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and more. When sharing with friends in Messages, Clips will suggest who to share with based on people who appear in the video and the people a user shares with most often. When a suggested name is selected, Clips inserts the video directly into Messages so it’s ready to send with a single tap.

“Clips gives iPhone and iPad users a new way to express themselves through video and it’s incredibly easy to use,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Apps Product Marketing. “The effects, filters and amazing new Live Titles we’ve designed for Clips let anyone make great-looking, easily sharable videos with just a few taps.”

The app will be available free from the App Store in April 2017.

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