Aside from the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, anytime its Apple day (when the company holds one of its conferences to announce the latest) the Internet is abuzz from coast to coast. So what did Tim Cook and Co. announce today? Here are the top four things you missed:
1. “The Most Advanced Timepiece Yet”
Apple Watch is coming, and by all indications, it seems to live up to the hype. In addition to telling time with accuracy within 50 milliseconds, it makes and receives calls with a built-in speaker and microphone. Better still, it’s customizable with different faces and bands. By pressing the side button you can connect from Apple Watch to Apple Watch to digitally “tap” your friends or draw them silly pictures, seemingly aimed at the Snapchat generation.
A workout app provides the typical metrics and lets you know if it thinks you’ve been sitting for too long. The Apple Watch is integrated with Apple Pay for purchases (with haptic feedback to let you know the purchase is complete), you can have Siri do your bidding, and you can control your music and social media accounts. It can even check you into flights and serve as your hotel room key.
Apps are downloaded through the iPhone with iOS 8.2, which is available now. Cook & Co. also promise an 18-hr battery life. Its aluminum frame is reportedly 60% stronger than standard alloys while just as light. Apple Watch Sport starts at $349, with a full-sized version at $399. There are also stainless steel and gold versions (at higher price points, of course). Pre-orders will begin on April 10th, with full release to follow on the 24th.
2. A Fanless MacBook with USB-C
The latest iteration of the MacBook is the thinnest and lightest yet, at 13 mm and 2 lbs. It’s all-metal with antennas integrated into the chassis, a speaker at the top, and new keyboard technology with a butterfly key mechanism that is reportedly four times more stable. The 12-in. MacBook has Apple-standard Retina, 0.88 mm display, and a 2304 × 1440 resolution. It consumes 30% less energy than previous generations to maintain the same brightness level. The upgraded trackpad utilizes four force sensors to enable new gestures when you push down harder.
It’s also the first fanless MacBook, featuring a dual-core Intel Core M 1.1 GHz processor. It reportedly has an all-day battery life—equaling 9 hrs of wireless web and 10 hours of video—with new terraced, contoured battery cells. It features a single USB-C port for USB, power, HDMI, and VGA, which will require new cords. Communications include the standard 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. It starts out with 8 Gbytes of RAM, 256 Gbytes SSD, and will clock in at a starting price of $1299.
3. Apple TV and HBO Now: A Match Made in Streaming Heaven
Not only is the price of Apple TV lowering from $99 to $69, but HBO’s standalone streaming service, HBO Now, will be launched exclusively with Apple at launch. The service will include all of HBO’s past, present, and future programming and will be released in April. It will be $14.99 a month and launched in time for the new season of Game of Thrones.
4. Medical Research in the 21st Century
ResearchKit will consist of five different apps targeting specific diseases, like Parkinson’s. It uses the phone’s sensors and HealthKit technology to track activity and stats. Asthma research will include Bluetooth inhalers, mapping out cities to determine where pathogens are located and where symptoms are triggered. The service will be opt-in and Apple won’t look at the data—only the researchers will have access to it. ResearchKit will be open source with the first five apps launching today.
So…what are your thoughts on today’s announcements? Is an Apple Watch purchase in your future?