Liveblog: Apple loops us in with the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro

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Apple event let us loop you in
Get ready for a new iPhone and iPad.
Photo: Apple

The first big Apple media event of 2016 is finally here.

Months of rumors, speculation and anticipation have been leading up to Apple’s “Let us loop you in” event this morning, at which the company is expected to unveil a new 4-inch iPhone, a new iPad Pro model, and some Apple Watch hardware.

Tim Cook and the rest of the Apple crew are set to take the stage at 10 a.m. Pacific and Cult of Mac will be here to liveblog the festivities. Will there be a “one more thing” at the end to make this a truly unforgettable event? Come follow along with us below:

March 21, 2016 11:53 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Here are our big roundups of what happened at the “Let us loop you in” event:

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March 21, 2016 11:05 am PDT Evan Killham

“Let us lull you to sleep.”

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March 21, 2016 11:05 am PDT Buster Hein

At least they didn’t stretch out the boringness into a 1.5 hour event.

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March 21, 2016 11:04 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Wow. That was one low-key event. Have they been studying Google keynotes?

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March 21, 2016 11:04 am PDT Evan Killham

So the loop meant … what? Nothing?

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March 21, 2016 11:04 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Tim’s wrapping up with a goodbye to the venue — and to talk up the theater on the spaceship campus.

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March 21, 2016 11:03 am PDT Buster Hein

Because there’s lot of people with old laptops.

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March 21, 2016 11:02 am PDT Evan Killham

I’m sure the iPad Pro is better in a lot of ways than a five-year-old laptop, but I don’t know why they keep pushing that.

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March 21, 2016 11:01 am PDT Buster Hein

12.9-inch iPad Pro is also getting a 256GB model. iPad Air 2 price drops down to $399.

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March 21, 2016 10:59 am PDT Evan Killham

The True-Tone Display is a pretty nice feature.

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March 21, 2016 10:57 am PDT Evan Killham

Not a lot of lead time on this event. Everything’s either out today or next week.

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March 21, 2016 10:57 am PDT Lewis Wallace

So the big selling point phrases are … best iPad upgrade ever and ultimate PC replacement. What will it cost? 32 GB for $599, 128GB for $749, 256GB for $899. Orders begin Thursday, shipping on March 31.

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March 21, 2016 10:56 am PDT Evan Killham

iPad Pro, Jr. is coming in Rose Gold along with the usual silver, space gray, and gold.

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March 21, 2016 10:55 am PDT Buster Hein

Apple tossed in a 12MP iSight camera in the back, but it comes with a little bump.

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March 21, 2016 10:55 am PDT Evan Killham

We need to get some engineers into this liveblog to do something about that echo.

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March 21, 2016 10:54 am PDT Buster Hein

There’s also some sweet new dongles for iPad Pro: USB Camera Adapter and SD Card Reader.

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March 21, 2016 10:53 am PDT Buster Hein

There’s a Smart Keyboard designed specifically for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Apple Pencil is also supported. “The greatest accessory Apple has ever made,” says Phil.

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March 21, 2016 10:52 am PDT Buster Hein

“It has a ton of grunt.”

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March 21, 2016 10:52 am PDT Rob LeFebvre

“It has a ton of grunt” is my new favorite phrase.

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March 21, 2016 10:51 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Please stop saying “grunt.”

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March 21, 2016 10:51 am PDT Evan Killham

“Let us scale you down.”

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March 21, 2016 10:51 am PDT Buster Hein

The new iPad Pro comes with a Tru Tone display that automatically adjusts to the temperature of the light around you. It could make it the best tablet for mobile photo editing.

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March 21, 2016 10:51 am PDT Lewis Wallace

This is the great downsizing, Evan.

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March 21, 2016 10:50 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Everybody, everywhere, every time, says iPad Pro is great but no desktop replacement. So … I’m not buying this line of reasoning. No way a big percentage of Windows users says, “My computer’s kinda old, so I’m going to buy an iPad Pro.” It’s wishful thinking.

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March 21, 2016 10:49 am PDT Evan Killham

So we have an iPhone 6s the size of a 5s, and an iPad Pro the size of an Air.

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March 21, 2016 10:48 am PDT Buster Hein

There are 600 million active PCs that are 5 years old. Apple wants to replace them with the iPad Pro.

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March 21, 2016 10:48 am PDT Evan Killham

Because their gear is old, Lewis. So they need a … tablet. Instead of a new laptop or PC.

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March 21, 2016 10:47 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Two reasons for smaller iPad Pro, according to Schiller:

1) 9.7-inch display wasn’t a random size — it’s a great size for a tablet. They’ve sold more than 200 million of that size so far.
2) They are targeting Windows users. Huh?

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March 21, 2016 10:45 am PDT Buster Hein

Phil Schiller on deck to talk about the iPad Pro. Tim just referred to the old one as a 12.9-inc iPad Pro, so it looks like it really will be called a “9.7-inch iPad Pro.”

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March 21, 2016 10:45 am PDT Lewis Wallace

And now for the celebrity/executive endorsements of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

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March 21, 2016 10:44 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Who knows about that 50 million active users, Buster. It’s a squishy number. Sounds good but … not clear what it really means.

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March 21, 2016 10:43 am PDT Buster Hein

iOS 9.3’s multi-user feature for education iPads needs to be added to iOS 10 for all users.

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March 21, 2016 10:43 am PDT Buster Hein

What’s an “active user” anyway? Some that opened it up once or twice when they set up their iPhone?

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March 21, 2016 10:42 am PDT Lewis Wallace

“50 million active users” for Apple News? I’ve honestly never met one.

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March 21, 2016 10:41 am PDT Buster Hein

Apple News now has 50 million active users says Joz. The update is adding trending topics and editors pics, plus a few other small features.

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March 21, 2016 10:40 am PDT Lewis Wallace

And … there’s the customary Android dig. iOS 9 is running on 80 percent of devices; latest version of Google’s mobile OS is on 2 percent. Sorry, Android fans.

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March 21, 2016 10:40 am PDT Buster Hein

Joz is now previewing iOS 9.3 “which is one of the biggest dot updates we’ve ever released.” First feature being shown is NightShift.

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March 21, 2016 10:39 am PDT Buster Hein


Will be available in stores on March 31st

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March 21, 2016 10:38 am PDT Buster Hein

$399 for the iPhone SE is cheaper than expected. 64GB for $499.

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March 21, 2016 10:38 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Starting price point for iPhone SE is $399 — the most affordable iPhone launch ever. This is the event’s first big surprise.

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March 21, 2016 10:37 am PDT Rob LeFebvre

Still no 3D Touch on this new iPhone SE.

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March 21, 2016 10:36 am PDT Evan Killham

My takeaway: The SE is a 6s the size of a 5s.

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March 21, 2016 10:34 am PDT Evan Killham

Siri continues to be the master of dad jokes.

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March 21, 2016 10:33 am PDT Buster Hein

It looks just like the iPhone 5s, only with matte chamfered edges and an A9 chip inside.

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March 21, 2016 10:33 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Not everybody loves phablets. So … big surprise … here comes the 4-inch iPhone SE. It’s “the most powerful 4-inch iPhone ever.”

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March 21, 2016 10:33 am PDT Evan Killham

“As you may have heard, we’re calling it the iPhone SE.” Well played, sir.

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March 21, 2016 10:32 am PDT Buster Hein

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March 21, 2016 10:32 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Over 30 million 4-inch iPhones sold in 2015, says Apple’s Greg Joswiak.

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March 21, 2016 10:31 am PDT Evan Killham

Here comes the iPhone.

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March 21, 2016 10:31 am PDT Evan Killham

But you can have folders TODAY.

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March 21, 2016 10:30 am PDT Buster Hein

FOLDERS!!!! Apple TV is getting folders. It’s sad how many people clapped for that.

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March 21, 2016 10:30 am PDT Evan Killham

I don’t think I could possibly pick my favorite Kevin Hart movie.

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March 21, 2016 10:29 am PDT Lewis Wallace

I’m confused by the continuing focus on the luxury market for Apple Watch and the revelation of woven nylon bands. Maybe they look better in person.

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March 21, 2016 10:28 am PDT Evan Killham

Looks like the Apple Store is down while they change those Apple Watch prices and add all that nylon stuff.

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March 21, 2016 10:27 am PDT Buster Hein

These new woven nylon bands look like yuck.

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March 21, 2016 10:27 am PDT Evan Killham

Apple TV now.

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March 21, 2016 10:27 am PDT Lewis Wallace

And a price cut! Apple Watch will start at just $299.

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March 21, 2016 10:27 am PDT Lewis Wallace

New sport and leather bands in all-new colors, and a new black Milanese loop.

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March 21, 2016 10:26 am PDT Lewis Wallace

New band is made of … woven nylon.

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March 21, 2016 10:26 am PDT Evan Killham

Woven nylon bands.

First impression: Ew.

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March 21, 2016 10:26 am PDT Buster Hein

About time. Gimme that new James Bond band.

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March 21, 2016 10:25 am PDT Evan Killham

Apple Watch is up. First, a lot of numbers!

#1 smartwatch in both sales and customer satisfaction, and bands and stuff.

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March 21, 2016 10:22 am PDT Buster Hein

http://cdn.cultofmac.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/jeff-williams-researchkit.jpgApple is launching CareKit, a new framework to build apps, to help people who manage medical care.

The new software includes Care Cards that help you keep track of all the tasks you need to do each day, track symptoms, and share the information with friends and family and your physician.

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March 21, 2016 10:22 am PDT Lewis Wallace

ResearchKit isn’t just for researchers. It’s also helping patients manage their treatment, Williams says. And today they are launching … CareKit, a “framework to build apps that empower people to take a more active role in their care,” Williams says. First one is for Parkinson’s.

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March 21, 2016 10:20 am PDT Buster Hein

20 minutes into the event and zero mention of new products. Don’t think we’ll be getting any surprises.

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March 21, 2016 10:20 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Just kidding with the sleepy-time jab. It looks like ResearchKit really is a powerful tool for scientists. And it’s really just the beginning.

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March 21, 2016 10:19 am PDT Evan Killham

I think it’s brilliant. We had no idea we’d be hearing about yaks and Autism during this briefing. Apple has thrown us for a … LOOP???

Guys, I cracked it.

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March 21, 2016 10:18 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Virtually overnight, ResearchKit powered some of the largest health studies in history, Williams says. Studies have tackled diabetes, asthma, HIV, hep C, cancer, Parkinson’s and many more diseases … One year in, ResearchKit is transforming medical research. Much more of this and we’ll need a study on narcolepsy.

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March 21, 2016 10:17 am PDT Buster Hein

It’s like Apple’s trying to show everyone that it’s not evil for some reason.

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March 21, 2016 10:15 am PDT Buster Hein

Now Jeff Williams is up to talk about Health stuff like ResearchKit. This is such an exciting Apple event….

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March 21, 2016 10:13 am PDT Luke Dormehl

So Liam’s basically an iPhone executioner, right? What a difference some sinister music would have made to that video montage.

http://www.cultofmac.com/screen-shot-2016-03-21-at-17-11-54/

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March 21, 2016 10:12 am PDT Buster Hein

Apple built a robot called Liam that separates iPhone components to be recycled.

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March 21, 2016 10:11 am PDT Buster Hein

That’s pretty iPhone 5s in the slide for Reusing Apple gear. Or is it an early shot of the iPhone SE?

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March 21, 2016 10:10 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Reuse and recycling — are they about to mention Cult of Mac’s buyback program?

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March 21, 2016 10:10 am PDT Buster Hein

99% of Apple’s packaging comes from recycled paper, or sustainably managed forests. In the future all paper will come from recycled paper.

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March 21, 2016 10:08 am PDT Evan Killham

In China, Apple built a massive solar farm without annoying a single yak.

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March 21, 2016 10:08 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Apple’s solar farms are yak-friendly.

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March 21, 2016 10:07 am PDT Buster Hein

93% of Apple’s facilities now run of renewable energy. Some countries are already at 100%.

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March 21, 2016 10:06 am PDT Evan Killham

Some blistering initiative talk coming, folks.

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March 21, 2016 10:06 am PDT Buster Hein

Apple brings Lisa Jackson, head of environment, on stage to talk about Apple’s initiative to protect and preserve the environment. First time Lisa has presented at an Apple event.

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March 21, 2016 10:05 am PDT Lewis Wallace

“We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government [on iPhone security]…. This is an issue that impacts all of us and we will not shrink from this responsibility,” Cook says.

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March 21, 2016 10:04 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Wow. Nice use of the bully pulpit to talk up privacy. Preach it, Tim!

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March 21, 2016 10:04 am PDT Evan Killham

I think I fell asleep during that part of the earnings call, Buster.

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March 21, 2016 10:04 am PDT Buster Hein

Tim Cook playing up Apple’s 1 billion active devices. We’ve heard this before at Apple’s earnings call.

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March 21, 2016 10:03 am PDT Evan Killham

And now, let’s talk about privacy!

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March 21, 2016 10:03 am PDT Evan Killham

Apple just crossed the 1 billion active devices mark.

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March 21, 2016 10:03 am PDT Buster Hein

A couple good mornings from Tim Cook. Though not as enthusiastic as I would expect. Score: 6/10

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March 21, 2016 10:02 am PDT Buster Hein

Here we go. Apple’s starting off with a video titled “40|40”

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March 21, 2016 10:02 am PDT Evan Killham

Intro movie threw some shade at the Newton. Poor little Newton.

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March 21, 2016 10:00 am PDT Evan Killham

Be sure to check out our reviews of both the Cinnamon Roll Classic and the Cinnamon Roll Plus after today’s event.

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March 21, 2016 9:57 am PDT Evan Killham

Neither of them has a camera, a Retina display, 3D Touch, or a Home button because they are cinnamon rolls.

But I can confirm that they are also entirely free of headphone jacks, which lines up with some of the rumors I’ve been hearing.

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March 21, 2016 9:56 am PDT Buster Hein

Four more minutes….

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March 21, 2016 9:55 am PDT Evan Killham

The cinnamon roll is about 4 inches wide, and it contains two full coils. It comes in two varieties: The Cinnamon Roll Classic is exactly what you’d expect, but the Cinnamon Roll Plus has pecans on it.

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March 21, 2016 9:52 am PDT Evan Killham

I have no opinions about Beats 1, but I’m ready to provide tons of insight on this amazing cinnamon roll I’m eating.

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March 21, 2016 9:49 am PDT Lewis Wallace

Those are fighting words, Buster. Leander loves Beats 1.

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March 21, 2016 9:48 am PDT Buster Hein

I haven’t listened to Beats 1 in months. This is a great reminder why.

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March 21, 2016 9:47 am PDT Buster Hein

The livestream is up. Beats 1 Radio is playing during the pre-event. Must be nice to have your own radio station.

http://www.apple.com/apple-events/march-2016/

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March 21, 2016 9:45 am PDT Buster Hein

The press are taking their seats. The event should start in 15 minutes.

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March 21, 2016 9:40 am PDT Buster Hein

Twitter embeds are all messed up. Lewis promises someone is working to fix it though.

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March 21, 2016 9:38 am PDT Buster Hein

This could be Apple’s last keynote at the old Apple Campus. They’re expected to move into the spaceship early next year.

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March 21, 2016 9:32 am PDT Buster Hein

Reporters have been let inside the hallway. Still not into the auditorium yet though.

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March 21, 2016 9:27 am PDT Buster Hein

We know pretty much everything Apple will announce today, but Joshua Topolsky has a crazy theory that would make today’s event historic.https://twitter.com/joshuatopolsky/status/711951663658102784

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March 21, 2016 9:25 am PDT Buster Hein

Bright turquoise press badges for this event. Could it also signify a new iPhone SE color?

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March 21, 2016 9:23 am PDT Buster Hein

Sneak peak of Apple’s new product from Steve Kovach.

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March 21, 2016 9:14 am PDT Buster Hein

Tech journalists are outside scarfing up some breakfast and chatting before the mad dash happens when Apple opens the doors.

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March 21, 2016 9:12 am PDT Buster Hein

45 minutes until the party gets started. Tim is warming up…

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