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article imageApple preparing iPad Air 3 and 4-inch iPhone for March launch

By James Walker     Dec 15, 2015 in Technology
Renowned Apple leaker and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed some details on the current state of Apple's 2016 products. The company is expected to launch a 4-inch iPhone, Apple Watch 2 and awaited iPad Air 3 in March but the latter may not have 3D Touch.
Apple had been widely expected to add its 3D Touch pressure-sensing display technology to the iPad Air 3, giving it the ability to differentiate between taps and presses. 3D Touch is present on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and was presumed to make an appearance on larger devices next year.
MacRumors obtained a research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo which claims that is no longer the case though. Problems along the way, attributed to "production issues" in Apple's supply chain, mean the iPad Air 3 will miss out on 3D Touch technology.
Apple is still expected to launch the high-performance tablet in the spring. New iPads are usually unveiled during September but Apple's focus on its range-topping iPad Pro this year prevented it from refreshing the Air.
The Apple Watch 2 is set to make an appearance in March alongside the updated iPad Air. Few details have yet to emerge on the successor to Apple's wearable but the company is thought to be concentrating on refining its technology and eliminating the early issues experienced with the current Apple Watch.
Apple is also thought to be preparing a 4-inch iPhone aimed at the lower end of the market. The handset is apparently an upgraded version of the iPhone 5s, featuring an aging A9 processor but no 3D Touch display.
Details remain scarce but rumours of the phone's existence have been circulating for a while and show no sign of calming down. This will also be unveiled in March so as not to detract from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus' unveiling later in the year.
The new flagship smartphones are reportedly still on track for Apple's predictable September launch event. The iPhone 7-series is likely to get an upgraded processor and new design but is likely to stick with the current 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays for the standard and Plus variants respectably.
MacRumors writes that Apple is not currently working on expanding 3D Touch support for the iPhone 7. Kuo's note claims the system will have "similar technology and structure" to the implementation on the iPhone 6s, implying Apple is concentrating on improving other aspects of the device.
Apple seems to be splitting its 2016 product launches fairly evenly between the first and second half of the year. March buyers will have a smaller iPhone, new iPad Air, updated Apple Watch and likely a new range of MacBooks before the iPhone 7 comes along in September, potentially accompanied by a new iPad Pro. Developments in 3D Touch are conspicuously absent though, leaving fans waiting until 2017 for any hardware improvements.
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