When Apples online store went down yesterday unexpectedly for maintenance, many speculated that new announcements were on the horizon and they were right as the company delivered some exciting news today. While the only entirely new piece of hardware is a direct replacement for the iPad Air 2, they did make some notable changes to their existing lineups.

New 9.7-inch iPad

Since Apple introduced their iPad Pro line, they hadn't touched their entry-level tablets, and the iPad Air 2 remained the current budget-friendly model. Today, the company unveiled their newest tablet dubbed the ‘new 9.7-inch iPad' which replaces the iPad Air 2 at a lower price-point.

The design is similar to that of the iPad Air but is surprisingly a bit thicker with the case resembling more of the original iPad Air. Internally, the tablet offers Apple's 64-bit A9 chip which is used in the iPhone 6S. It harnesses a similar display (slightly brighter), camera, speakers and TouchID sensor, so you'll have to jump up to an iPad Pro to see a major improvement in these components.

With pricing starting at just $329 for the 32GB version, this new model caters to more consumers budgets without all the unnecessary bells and whistles that the average user wouldn't need.

(RED) Edition iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Models

Apple has long partnered with the (RED) organization to offer limited edition hardware products in a red finish that jointly contributes to HIV/AIDS prevention and research through part of the proceeds.

The newest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models have gotten the (RED) treatment with a special edition matte red finish. Similar to the Jet Black variant, this color choice is only available for the 128GB and 256GB options and not the base 64GB version.

Minor Product Announcements & Changes

  • iPad Mini 4 now offered in a sole 128GB configuration at $399 for the WiFi model and $529 for the LTE/WiFi version,
  • iPhone SE is no longer offered in 16GB and 32GB versions and is now only offered in 32GB ($399) and 128GB ($499) options
  • New video editing app called Clips which can be summed up as a mixture of iMovie and Snapchat, allows you to merge multiple photos/videos and add basic effects to share on social media
  • New Apple Watch bands including a woven striped version, Nike Sport, and Apple Watch Hermès bands.
  • New colors for Apple's iPhone cases including three new choices for the $35 silicone cases and three new finishes for the $49 leather cases.

Source: Apple