Apple had their watch event today, but they covered some major items beyond the watch, as well.
The big announcement on the Apple TV front was that HBO will be launching a new stand-alone streaming service called HBO Now exclusively on the Apple platform. HBO Now is a separate subscription at $14.99 a month, and does not require an existing cable or satellite subscription. There was news on the hardware as well, with the cost of the Apple TV set top box dropping $30 to $69.
ResearchKit is a developer tool aimed at enabling a new series of apps to make gathering data easier for disease researchers. Examples given were diagnostic tools for Parkinson’s, and apps to gather data on asthma and breast cancer patients. The data gathering is opt-in, and Apple assures us they will not see our health data. And, in an unusual move for Apple, ResearchKit is open source.
Maybe the biggest surprise of the day was the announcement of a new, ultra-thin MacBook. This computer is the thinnest and lightest Apple has ever made with a widest point of 13.1mm and a weight of 2 pounds. It has a 12-inch display with 2304×1440 resolution. It’s also the first fanless Mac Apple has ever made, and features a redesigned keyboard system and touchpad, incorporating the same Force Touch technology as the Apple Watch, to discern between the two different types of tap.
The biggest news is the interface design of the new MacBook. It has a single USB-C port that provides power, USB data transfer, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA capabilities. A multi-port adapter will be available to connect your legacy devices to the MacBook. The standard earphone jack also is also still present.
The MacBook starts at $1299 with 8GB and an 256GB SSD, and will ship on April 10.
The item everyone knew they’d be hearing about today was the Apple Watch. We got a lengthy introduction to the watch last September, so today’s discussion was largely a recap of that, with important additions that were not known until now. Battery life was announced as 18 hours, though individual milages will vary. Pricing for the watch will start at $349 for the 38mm Sport version and go up past $10,000 for the high-end Apple Watch Edition. Extra bands are also available at prices ranging from $49 to $449. The watch will be available for pre-order April 10, with an available date of April 24. iOS is also getting an update to make it Watch-compatible, with version 8.2 available now.
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