Apple’s Cook: Company Has ‘Significant Responsibility’ to Customers in FBI Rift

Before major product unveiling, CEO takes up encryption controversy

Apple CEO Tim Cook wasted little time March 21 addressing his company’s current fight with the government, which has the Justice Department and FBI looking to force Apple to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino, Calif. shooters.

Apple and the government will begin arguing their cases March 22.

“We built the iPhone for you, our customers, and we know it’s a very personal device,” Cook said at an Apple event live-streaming over the Internet. “We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and our privacy."

“We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our government. We owe it to our customers, and we owe it to our country. We will not shrink from this responsibility.”

Apple followed up its defense of iPhone users and their data with the introduction of a new iPhone: the SE. The small features a four-inch display, a 12-megapixel iSight camera and 4K video.

“iPhone SE is an exciting new idea — we started with a beloved, iconic design and reinvented it from the inside out. The result is the most beautiful and powerful phone with a four-inch display in the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s SVP of worldwide ,marketing. “iPhone SE is packed with a stunning four-inch Retina display, advanced 64-bit A9 chip with M9 motion co-processor, longer battery life, 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash, Live Photos, 4K video, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, and Touch ID with Apple Pay. Everyone who wants a smaller phone is going to love iPhone SE.”

Apple said it’s the most powerful phone in its class, with a 64-bit A9 chip, allowing  for a two-times faster CPU and three-times faster GPU performance, compared to iPhone 5s. Apple shared that iPhone SE users will be able to stream content over WiFi up to three times faster than the 5s. The phone ships March 31 with a $399 price tag, the lowest intro price for an iPhone in the device’s history.

Apple also introduced a small, 9.7-inch version of its iPad Pro, weighing one pound and outfitted with a Retina display and a 12-megapixel iSight camera for shooting 4K video. It also features a five-megapixel FaceTime high-def camera, and support for Apple Pencil.

“iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes,” Schiller said. “The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a new Retina display with True Tone technology, four-speaker audio system, blazing fast A9X chip, 12-megapixel iSight camera, 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, faster wireless, and support for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. It is the ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users.”

The new iPad will retail for $599 (32 GB) and will be available March 31.

Apple also announced that more than 5,000 apps are now available for its Apple TV product, and an update to the Apple TV system will allow for dictation.