If you’re a little groggy today, it’s probably because you – along with most of the country – were forced to “Spring Forward” this past weekend and lost an hour of sleep in the name of Daylight Saving Time. However, the folks at Apple certainly appeared to be unfazed by a loss of sleep at their own “Spring Forward” event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Tim Cook & Co. energetically took the stage and unveiled new hardware, software, release dates, and services. So what exactly was up their sleeves this afternoon? Read on to find out.
Apple TV: More than just a hobby
First on the agenda was the Apple TV, which has become more than just a hobby for Apple with 25 million sold. And even more will likely be sold with the announcement of a price cut down to $69 for the streaming device. And as for content, HBO CEO Richard Plepler took the stage to announce that the new standalone HBO Now service. HBO will partner exclusively with Apple at launch in April with all past, present and future content available for $14.99 a month.
iPhone: New Kits on the block
Cook once again took the stage, this time to talk iPhone. Apple has now sold 700 million iPhones and Cook took the opportunity to talk about Apple Pay (now accepted at 700,000 locations and even some Coke vending machines) and new software that’s on the horizon.
CarPlay will continue to be a focus for Apple, with every major car brand now committed to delivering the service, and more than 40 new models of cars are shipping with it.
But the main focus was put on the iPhone’s Kits: The previously announced HomeKit and HealthKit, and the newly announced ResearchKit. Jeff Williams, SVP of Operations, took the stage to discuss the potential of ResearchKit, which will put iPhone users at the center of medical research by drawing from the data it collects. These apps will turn an iPhone into a diagnostic tool, and in order to allow anyone to contribute to these diagnoses, Apple has made it open source.
ResearchKit will be released next month with apps focused on Parkinson’s, glucose, cardiovascular disease, asthma, breast cancer available today.
MacBook: ‘Can you even see it? I can’t even feel it!’
In a move that was speculated but not a certainty, Apple announced the newest Mac to its lineup – the new 12” MacBook with a Retina display, which will ship April 10.
Here are some of the early specs on the MacBook:
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Thickness: 13.1 mm
- All metal enclosure
- Full sized keyboard
- Butterfly mechanism for more precise keystrokes
- Force Touch trackpad
- Fanless design
- 67% smaller logic board
- All day battery
- 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 built in
- One port for USB, DisplayPort, VGA, and power using the open USB-C standard
- Silver, Space Gray, Gold models
- 1.1GHz Core M processor, 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM for $1,299.
- A more powerful model with a 1.2GHz processor and 512GB SSD for $1,599.
There were also updates to the current MacBook Air models:
- The 2015 Air now has 5th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and Thunderbolt 2. The 13″ version now has 2x faster flash storage.
- The 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina gets Force Touch Trackpad and 5th generation Core i5 and i7 processors, 2x faster flash and longer battery life.
Apple Watch: ‘I’ve been wanting to do this since I was five years old!’
With the “Spring Forward” theme, and previous announcements of a release timeline, it was apparent that the Apple Watch would be the guest of honor at today’s event. Apple chose to close out the event with the Apple Watch and after rehashing news on apps and functionality and showing videos on the various metal designs, Apple finally got to the most sought piece of information: The price. So how much will it cost?
- The Apple Watch Sport will start at $349 for the 38mm model and $399 for the 42mm model
- The stainless steel Apple Watch: will start at $549 for the 38mm model and $599 for the 42mm model, with prices ranging up to $1,049 and $1,099 depending on the band chosen
- The 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will start at $10,000, but will only be available in select locations
Pre-orders for the Apple Watch begin April 10 with shipping beginning April 24.