In case you missed the live stream of the Apple event earlier today, let me provide you with a rundown of the key components announced at the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts in San Francisco:
Available next month, HBO will offer their HBO NOW service exclusively on Apple TV and the App Store. For $14.99 a month, subscribers can get all the shows and movies available on the premium channel without the cable or satellite connection. It’s no coincidence that this will be available just in time for season five of Game of Thrones. This is just another step in Apple’s directive to offer cord cutters another reason to indulge in the Apple TV, not to mention the price cut of the latter, now just $65.
After a big announcement and some resistance at September’s event, Apple Pay is pushing through the muck and the mire and making steady progress. CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Pay is currently accepted at 700,000 locations, with more joining daily. Coca-Cola has jumped in, and currently offers more than 40,000 vending machines that accept the new-age form of payment.
With more and more consumers using health apps to track food intake and exercise, Apple upped the ante by adding the ResearchKit. While medical researchers may only see patients once a quarter, this app allows them to view a patient’s data over an extended period of time. The app also allows researchers to create their own app, much like the University of Rochester and Sage Bionetworks did to conduct research on Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s patients can use the app to test their ability and even record their symptoms. You can see more in the video below:
It was rumored that a new version of the MacBook would be introduced at today’s event, and lo and behold it came to fruition. The new MacBook weighs a mere two pounds, comes in three colors (silver, gold, and space gray) and is 24% thinner than the already thin MacBook Air. The keyboard extends to either edge, allowing Apple to use its butterfly-design keys to provide a sturdier response to typing, and increasing the size of each key. Also new to the keyboard is an LED under each key, offering a much clearer background when backlit typing is needed. There’s also the Retina display, which has been reengineered to let more light through, thus using 30% less energy than other Mac Retina displays. The trackpad on the new lineup has been reinvented as well. The Force Touch trackpad as it’s called, has sensors that detect how much pressure is being applied, being able to tell the difference between a light tap and a deep press, which can provide different responses depending on the sensitivity settings. Another big selling point for this new MacBook is the lack of a fan, which saves space and keeps the notebook running silently. Expected battery life is between nine and ten hours, features a USB-C port, and is the most energy efficient notebook to date. The new MacBook will begin shipping April 10th, and starts at $1299.
If you tuned into the Apple event, this was probably the reason. The official announcement of the watch first came back in September, but now we get a closer look. Apple is offering three models: Sport, Watch, and Watch Edition, each with a variety of colors and bands to choose from, including aluminum (Sport), steel (Watch), and 18-karat gold (Watch Edition):
The watch allows users to see who is calling before they reach for their phone (if they don’t want to use the watch to talk), and the Taptic Engine provides a gentle tap whenever a notification is received. Apple is also using their watch to continue promoting good health, even suggesting daily movement goals based on the previous week’s activity. Users can also receive the same notifications on the watch as they do on the iPhone such as news headlines, weather, or social media alerts. The same apps on the iPhone are available as well, so requesting an Uber ride, checking Instagram, and using Apple Pay is a piece of cake. If users are uncertain about the Apple Watch, there’s an app available on iPhone today where one can learn more before deciding on purchasing. Expected battery life is all day, and a magnetic snap is all that is needed to connect the charger when the battery is running low. The Apple Watch will be available for preview and pre-order on April 10th, and will ship April 24th, and will be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States. The Watch Sport will begin retailing for $350, the Watch for $550, and the Watch Edition for $10,000.
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