The Yerba Buena Centre before Apple's "Spring Forward" Event (Credit: iPhoneinCanada)
Apple just wrapped up its "Spring Forward" event which was held in San Francisco with the express intention of unveiling more details about the Apple Watch, including price and availability. Alongside this, Apple also dropped the price of the Apple TV down to just $69 and introduced a new category of MacBook, simply entitled "MacBook," which has just one port and is 24% thinner than the MacBook Air and weighs just two pounds.
The Apple Watch with various band configurations (Credit: Apple)
The main focus of the event was on the Apple Watch, a much debated product that has almost completely dominated technology punditry over the past few weeks. Various reports have speculated about its features and pricing and, more obliquely, whether it will flop or succeed.
First up was another look at what the Apple Watch can do for the customer, and it was much the same as it had been at the previous Apple event when the Watch was unveiled: it can tell the time and is predominantly an accessory for the iPhone, adding a new dimension of interactivity to Apple's most popular product.
Very little new was shown off by Apple except for a live demo on stage of some of the features. Siri plays a big part, enabling a button-less Watch (aside from the 'Crown'), allowing the user to respond to texts, search and operate other apps. Apple made a show of replying to a message, emphasizing just how easy it is. An Uber cab was ordered and a garage door was remotely opened, all things that we can see before and neither groundbreaking.
Apple Watches at the event (Credit: IBTimes)
Apple Pay was also touted both early on in the presentation - there are now 700,000 locations that accept Apple Pay, an example of which are vending machines - and during the Watch demo, showing how easy it is to pay with just the flick of a wrist. To many, the ability to easily pay with something that is already prominent will be a selling point for the Watch.
The pricing of the Watch was also announced, and pre-orders can be made from Apple's online store. Broadly, the Sport version with the cheapest band will set you back $349 to $399 (depending on whether you opt for the 38- or the 42 mm face); the Collection will set you back between $549 and $1,099 depending on size and band (the least expensive band being the Sport band and the most expensive being the Link Bracelet); and the Edition starts at $10,000 for the 18-karat gold model and goes up to $17,000 depending on the band, all 8 variants have "limited availability". The Watch will be rolled out on April 24th.
Apple also shed some light on the battery life of the Watch, describing it as "all day" which translates to around 18 hours on a single charge.
The 2015 MacBook (Credit: Apple)
Prior to unveiling more details about the Apple Watch, Apple showed off arguably its most exciting new product in a while: an ultra-thin 12-inch MacBook which bridges the gap between the MacBook Air and the iPad Air.
Coming in silver, black and gold (like the iPhone and iPad), the new laptop has just a single port which uses USB Type-C technology to integrate multiple functions into a single neat solution. The MacBook charges, connects to HDMI and USB alongside other functions via one port (and, most likely, many adapters). 9to5Mac first broke the news of a single-port MacBook and here it is in reality.
The 12-inch display packs over 3 million pixels (2304 x 1440) and uses 30% less power than previous monitors on the MacBook range and, from various hands-on tests, it looks incredible. The internals have also been shaken up and have been placed onto a single circuit board, incorporating Intel's latest processor technology with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD (or more), allowing the rest of the device to be filled with batteries. Battery life is quoted at 9 hours browsing or 10 hours watching films.
Gold 2015 MacBook (Credit: Apple)
The new MacBook comes in silver, black (the first black MacBook since the original black MacBook in 2006) and gold, a first for Apple's PC line. Starting at $1,299, the new MacBook isn't cheap and we will have to wait until April 10th to find out if its worth the money.
The Apple TV's price has been dropped to $69 and a new deal with HBO means that all of their programming is now available on the Apple TV but there was no major revamp of what is frequently described as a "hobby" device.
The Apple Watch in Gold (Credit: Apple)
The "Spring Forward" event delivered what many expected it to: more details on the Apple Watch and a new MacBook, both of which have yet to be released or thoroughly reviewed and so the jury is still out. Did Apple present a compelling reason to buy an Apple Watch? Depending upon who you ask, maybe. The Edition model is more about fashion that features (a Rolex 'only' tells the time and sets you back double what the Edition costs, for example) and only time will tell to see if the public snaps up with Watch like they snap up new iPhones.