Apple reveals Product Red iPhone 7 and an updated iPad
Special edition smartphone marks tech giant's ten-year partnership with Aids charity (Red)
After closing its online store on Tuesday morning for "scheduled maintenance", Apple has revealed a new colour for the iPhone 7 and a more powerful version of its 9.7ins iPad.
The Cupertino-based company will now offer the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in red, often referred to as Product Red, to mark its ten-year partnership with Aids charity (Red).
Chief executive Tim Cook said: "Since we began working with (RED) ten years ago, our customers have made a significant impact in fighting the spread of Aids through the purchase of our products.
"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, and we can't wait to get it into customers' hands."
The Product Red iPhone has a matt red finish with silver etched into the back of the device. The front panel is white with a silver ring around the fingerprint scanner, while the plastic antenna has also been painted red.
Deliveries start on Friday, with prices beginning at £699 for an iPhone 7 and £819 for the 7 Plus.
That makes it £100 more than the regular 7, although a portion of the cost goes towards supporting (Red). Apple has not disclosed an exact figure, but says $130m has been donated since 2006.
The company has also dropped the iPad Air 2 in favour of a cheaper, more powerful 9.7ins tablet. Alphr reports it will cost £339 and feature the A9 processor that can be found in the iPhone 6S and SE.
There's no extra features with the new iPad, although ArsTecnica says it's both heavier and thicker than the outgoing Air 2.
Will Apple's next iPad have an edge-to-edge display?
Apple could introduce a radical new iPad Pro as soon as next month, according to reports.
Mac Otakara claims the Cupertino-based company may announce a successor to the iPad Pro, along with a broader range of screen sizes, at an event at the end of March.
The line-up will reportedly include a 10.5ins iPad Pro, 0.8ins larger than the current mid-size model, featuring a bezel-less design and without a physical home button at the bottom of the front panel.
MacRumors says the tablet will have "the same overall footprint" as the existing 9.7ins iPad Pro thanks to its edge-to-edge design, which might also make it "slimmer".
Meanwhile, sources told Mac Otakara that next-generation 12.9ins and 9.7ins iPad Pros could start shipping by the end of March, with the radical bezel-less 10.5ins tablet going on sale in May.
There's also a Pro version of the 7.9ins iPad Mini set to join the line-up in March, adds the site, the first high-performance variant of the entry-level model.
Along with an updated tablet range, Apple is expected to unveil an all-new iPhone in the autumn and early theories suggest it could be a real game-changer.
Similar to the rumoured 10.5ins iPad Pro, the next iPhone is expected to feature an edge-to-edge OLED (organic light emitting diode) display with an all-glass outer casing.
It has also been suggested that it could get wireless charging technology and house facial scanning security systems.
iPad could get two screens with this smart cover
Apple could be working on a new smart cover for its tablets, fitted with its own flexible screen and complete with touch sensitive controls, according to new patents.
Called a "Cover attachment with flexible display" and unearthed by Patently Apple, the design is an innovative way to expand the capabilities and overall screen surface of the iPad without resorting to making the device any larger, something the company did with the 12.9ins iPad Pro.
According to 9 to 5 Mac, the patent illustrates a number of ways in which the smart cover interacts with the tablet. It could simply open out to be an extension of the iPad's main display, or a text-only display for side information, such as reminders and notifications. Some of the drawings also hint at the screen being a full input device and one with which users can interact via touch.
The site adds that while Apple tends to patent far more items than it makes, some of the designs spotted in the various illustrations have now made it into production.
In its simplest form, the cover looks similar to the one Apple currently sells, but features an auxiliary screen fitted onto one of the foldable sections. The rest of the cover taken up by solar panels.
This design could be used in a number of ways: if the cover is opened like a book, the strip forms an additional part of the screen, but if folded over into a stand, it sits behind the screen. Apple also shows it as a touchpad, controlling the likes of volume and pause/play while watching a film.
All of this is controlled through a hardware addition Apple has already introduced – the images point to an early looking smart connector-like device powering the display.
A separate idea has display panels mounted on the outside of the cover. These would act as notification bars and there's even a panel fitted with "electric paper" – a doodlepad for reminders.
The party piece addition is the secondary full-display cover. It would double the screen surface and is demonstrated in the patents with another product Apple has since made – the Apple Pencil.
While some of the innovations laid out have come true, Mashable says that overall, a cover like this is still too "futuristic". Fortune is more hopeful, though, saying this is "the smart cover you really want" and that today's "smart" covers and sleeves aren't actually smart at all.