Apple began the event by discussing Apple TV. Apple’s Tim Cook invited the CEO of HBO, Richard Piepler, onstage to announce that Apple would be HBO’s exclusive partner for HBO Now, HBO’s standalone streaming product, at launch. HBO Now will be available prior to the April 12th premiere of Game of Thrones on Apple TV, and will be available for $14.99 per month (with the first month free).
Tim Cook called the Apple TV the category leader. He indicated that over 25 million had been sold to date. It was announced that the current Apple TV would now be available for the lower price of $69 (down from $99). There was no indication of any changes to these devices.
It was indicated that Apple has already sold over 700 million iPhones since released. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have a customer satisfaction rate of 99%, and Tim Cook indicated that Apple was the largest seller of smartphones in the world last quarter.
Updated information was provided about the success of Apple Pay. Tim Cook indicated that Apple Pay has forever changed the way we pay for things. Apple started with only 7 banks supporting Apple Pay, but indicated that there are now over 2500 card-issuing banks. In the 3 months since being introduced, Apple indicated that there are now over 700,000 locations accepting Apple Pay, including over 40,000 Coca-Cola vending machines.
Cook indicated that every major auto manufacturer has now committed to offering CarPlay. He indicated that more than 40 new models of cars will be introduced by the end of the year with CarPlay. He promised that HomeKit will change the way we control our home, but did not highlight any released product.
(1:21 pm update:) HealthKit was also addressed during the event. Cook indicated that Medical Research was among the most important use of HealthKit. It was noted that historically one of the problems with Medical Research is that it is one-way in nature. Apple has worked to allow HealthKit and the iPhone play a more important role in medical treatment.
Apple announced a new platform called ResearchKit to allow medical providers to better manage projects and obtain and share data with participants. ResearchKit works with HealthKit to incorporate other data that your devices have already collected. Research Projects highlighted by Apple included Parkinson’s, Asthma, Diabetes and Breast Cancer. The user decides what data is shared, sees the data collected, and Apple never sees the data. ResearchKit was released as an open source project, and the first five-apps under this project will be available later today.
(1:40 pm update:) Cook moved on to discuss the Macintosh. It was indicated that although the industry has had shrinking numbers of sales, the Mac increased 20% last year. It was indicated that Macs are now seen everywhere. Cook indicated that Apple challenged themselves to reinvent the laptop and announced the new MacBook.
The new MacBook is only 2 lbs in weight, and is 24% thinner than the 11-inch MacBook Air (13.1mm). The new MacBook has a 12″ Retina display with a full-size keyboard. Everything has been re-thought. The trackpad, the keyboard, and the internals have all been redesigned. The new MacBook also is the first Mac to run fan-less. Almost the entire base of the new MacBook is filled with batteries to provide all-day battery life (which means about 9-10 hours of active use). The MacBook will run off a USB-C interface. This will be used for charging and input/output devices. The new MacBook will be available in Silver, Space Gray or Gold.
(1:55 pm update:) The MacBook starts at $1299 for the 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M with 8GB memory and 256 SSD. There will also be a $1599 model that has an upgraded 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor and 512GB SSD. Both models will be available on April 10th and will only be available with a 12″ display. Existing MacBook Airs are being updated to faster processors, and the 13″ MacBook Pro is getting the new trackpad, faster flash memory and updated Intel processors. The existing updated MacBooks are available later today.
(2:00 pm update:) The Apple Watch was called the most-advanced time-piece ever by Cook. Not only was the Apple Watch designed to be stylish, it was designed to be fun, versatile and increase your productivity. The Stainless steel model is available in traditional and space back finishes, and the Apple Watch Sport is available in an aluminum finish in silver or space gray.
With the Apple Watch, you can receive and reply to messages right from your wrist. With the built-in speaker and microphone, you can make and receive phone calls on your wrist. You can monitor your blood pressure, and check your emails. You will be able to customize your watch face to be useful to you. The Watch tracks your activity, and alerts you of your exercise, movements and whether you have been sitting too long.
Christy Turlington Burns, was highlighted at this event. Turlington-Burns is a fashion model, mother, and health advocate. She has been using the Apple Watch, and a short film was shown highlighting her use of the Watch during a half-marathon in Tanzania. She indicated that she frequently relied on the Watch during the marathon to monitor her activity and progress. She is preparing for the Virgin Money London Marathon with the Apple Watch, and her training blog will be hosted on Apple.com.
(2:15 pm update:) Additionally Cook highlighted that the Apple Watch will allow you to pay with Apple Pay, manage your photos, interact with Siri, and control your music. Any notification that is currently received on your iPhone will also be available on your Apple Watch. Kevin Lynch demonstrated Glances which will allow you to see information from apps to quickly interact with data that is important to you.Reminders will also be able to alert you of important events throughout the day.
Lynch demonstrated calls onstage, Digital Touch (to share hand-drawn photos with friends), and requesting rides with Uber. It was shown that hotel rooms can be unlocked using the Apple Watch, products can be paid for, and boarding passes can be accessed. Music can even be identified using Shazam from your wrist. Using home automation, Lynch also showed opening his garage door with his Watch.
Cook indicated that the Apple Watch is designed to provide all-day battery life. During a typical day you can expect up to 18 hours of battery life. iOS 8.2 and the new Apple Watch App will be available on the iPhone today. You can learn about the Watch and configure notifications from within the App. Charging the Apple Watch is done with a magnetic charger on the back of the device. As previously announced, the Apple Watch will be available in Watch Sport, Apple Watch, and Apple Watch Edition.
Apple Watch will be available for pre-order on April 10th. You will be able to try on and learn more about the Apple Watch at Apple Retail Stores beginning April 10th. The Apple Watch Sport will begin at $349 for the 38mm version, with the 42mm available for $399. The Apple Watch (Stainless Steel edition) will start at $549 for the 38mm, and $599 for the 42mm. Depending on Watch bands, the Apple Watch will be as expensive as $1,099. The Apple Watch Edition (the 18k Gold version) will start at $10,000. Actual watches will be available on April 24th.
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