Eyeing India and China, Apple may unveil smaller, cheaper iPhone on Monday

San Francisco, March 21 (IANS) Amid the battle with the US government over encryption to unlock an iPhone used by an attacker in a mass shooting in San Bernadino last year, the company may unveil a new range of products – including a smaller and cheaper 4-inch iPhone SE as reported by the media – on Monday.

The announcement at a packed auditorium at its Cupertino, California-based headquarters is aimed at making further inroads into the emerging markets like India — that has a huge smartphone base of 160 million plus users and is likely to surpass the US smartphone user base in a couple of years — and China.

The iPhone SE is reported to be a replacement for the iPhone 5s series. Leaked photos suggest that the device will be similar to iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

According to media reports, Apple can also unveil a new iPad Pro with features like detachable keyboard and stylus specially designed for business use.

“Apple routinely schedules product events in March and September, so the juxtaposition of a product premiere on Monday to a high-profile court date is coincidental,” a USA Today report said.

Apple is expected to appear in a federal court in California on March 22 to fight the order and has accused the US Department of Justice (DoJ) of trying to “smear” the company with “desperate” and “unsubstantiated” claims.

The US government has been fighting Apple over access to information on the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers, Rizwan Farook, in December. Apple says the demands violate the company’s rights.

Apple has argued that the government is asking for a “back door” that could be exploited by the government and criminals.

If rumours are to be believed, Apple is also coming up with a 5.8-inch iPhone that will feature a tough AMOLED display panel and may launch it in 2018 or even earlier in 2017.

The AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display is a thinner and more power-efficient display as compared to the current LCD screen and has more depth in colours and clarity.

According to a pre-publication report in DigiTimes as cited by Motley Fool, the company may move as many as 50 million devices in their first year of availability.

DigiTimes is a China-based daily newspaper and The Motley Fool is a US-based multimedia financial-services company.

Apple is reportedly planning to release two variants of its large-screen iPhone 7 Plus this year — one with a single-lens camera and one with a dual-lens camera. The dual-lens variant has been rumoured to be marketed as the iPhone Pro.

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