Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, came out to present the latest Apple products. Most anticipated this would be the introduction of the Apple Watch, and it was complemented by a plethora of other Apple updates to excite and intrigue.
- The show began at 10 am PDT with Cook announcing new stores in China. Apple plans to have 40 stores there by next year.
- Next, Apple TV was discussed. The price is being dropped to $69.99 and HBO is launching its new streaming service exclusively on Apple for $14.99/month.
- Cook discussed Apple Pay and CarPlay. The news here is that Apple Pay is being accepted in more than 700,000 locations, and more than 40 new car models will have CarPlay by year’s end.
- ResearchKit is a set of apps released as a way to turn the iPhone HealthKit app into a diagnostic tool to aid in medical research. Users of ResearchKit will be able to send data to Apple partnered researchers. Apple said the info sent will not be seen by Apple.
- A new MacBook was released. It features a 12 inch Retina display, and is the lightest MacBook ever made. The new force touch trackpad senses pressure and reacts differently to different touches. It’s designed to be wireless, so there’s only one USB Type-C connector for everything. That means to charge and use a USB device or monitor, you’ll have to pay for some accessories such as adaptors like the one Apple will sell for $79. The MacBook is fanless, comes in silver, space gray, and gold, and starts at $1299.
The Main Event
An hour into the program, the Apple Watch was finally brought out. To quote from apple.com, “It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn.”
Many of the features are available on Android smartwatches already, and Apple delivers with a style and look that the public has come to expect. On the features side:
- It’s taptic engine notifies the wearer of incoming events like messages or calls.
- Some of the “features” like Tap and Heartbeat have dubious usefulness. With Heartbeat, for example, press two fingers on the screen and a sensor records your heartbeat and sends it to a friend’s watch.
- A feature that falls into the category above, but is interesting, is the ability to sketch something on the watch face with your finger and have it appear on a friend’s watch face as it’s being drawn.
- The expected health and fitness apps are on the Apple Watch, including apps that track how sedentary you are during the day, and apps that learn your activity levels and suggest activity goals.
- Apple Pay will work on the watch, as well as other NFC applications.
- It also does what watches traditionally do; it keeps extremely accurate time.
There were some interesting products unveiled, and the Apple Watch was what most were there to hear about. It will be available for pre-orders April 10th. It comes in three versions, with different models in each version. Prices vary from $349 for the least expensive Watch Sport model, with the regular Watch starting at $549, and the Watch Edition starting at $10,000.
Whether the Apple Watch is a bust or a terrific success can be debated. If just a fraction of those who waited in line to get an iPhone 6 buy the Apple Watch, millions will be sold. Whether it has an effect on how future wearable technology will unfold will soon be seen.