AirPlay Presentations Got Cheaper Today

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Apple announced today that the current generation of the Apple TV will now be available for $69. Although Apple has been slowly releasing new channels for the Apple TV over the past year, no substantial update was discussed. Apps are still only released at Apple’s discretion and no 3rd party SDK is available.

The Apple TV has faced stiff competition over the past year with more powerful and open devices released from both Google and Amazon. In addition to full featured Apple TV type set-top boxes, both Amazon and Google also have small dongles that simply plug in the back of your TV. These devices also offer the ability of third party developers to release applications to extend the capability of them.

It would still be nice to hear that Apple has additional plans for the Apple TV, but for now be happy that you can pick one up for less money.

More Details About the Apple Watch

Apple Watch SportApple officially announced today that the Apple Watch will begin pre-order on April 10, 2015. The Apple Watch will be officially available on April 24, 2015. As previously announced, the Apple Watch will be available in two different sizes across three different lines. Pre-orders will be taken at Apple Store Retail locations, where purchasers will be able to try the Apple Watch on. The Apple Watch settings app will be available in iOS 8.2 that was released today.

The least expensive version of the Apple Watch will be the Aluminum Apple Watch Sport. The 38mm version of this watch will be $349, and the 42mm will cost $399. You will have the option of several different color rubber bands (Sport Bands), and Silver or Space Gray watch enclosures. You will only be able to purchase these version with the rubber sports bands.

The mid-range Apple offering is simply called the Apple Watch. It is made of stainless steel and is available in the natural Stainless Steel color or Space Black. It will also be available in 38mm and 42mm sizes, with the 38mm Watch starting at $549 and the 42mm Watch starting at $599. The least expensive version of this watch will include the rubber sport band, but you will have the option upgrading to the Black Classic Buckle; the Milanese Loop; the Leather Loop in Black, Blue, Stone, or Light Brown; or the Space Black or Stainless Steel Link Bracelet. Prices will range as high as $1,099 depending of the watch band selected. (See iMore.com article for full pricing details).

The most expense Apple offering will the Apple Watch Edition. This is an 18-Karat Gold enclosure finished in Rose or Yellow gold. Even the Apple Watch Edition only includes the Sport Band in the least expensive version. The Apple Watch Edition will only be available in limited quantities and will start at $10,000. Again, two sizes will be available with different color watch bands to choose from. Surprisingly, Apple is currently just advertising Modern Buckle or Sport Band watch bands for the Apple Watch Edition. The most expensive version will be the 38mm Rose Gold with the Modern Buckle for $17,000.

Confusing about these announcements was that Apple failed to indicate whether all watch bands could be worn across each line of Apple Watch. Currently the Apple Website has no details of pricing, or indicating of which watch bands can be worn with which version of the Apple Watch. Luckily, iMore.com has more details indicating that all bands will be sold separately, but not every configuration will be available with your initial purchase. According to iMore.com, the rubber sports bands will be $49 (in both sizes), the leather loops will be $149, the modern buckles will be $249 (only listed as available for the 38mm versions of the Apple Watch), and the link bracelet will be $449 for the 42mm version of the watch.

Watch SpecsThe Apple Watch Sport features an Aluminum case (enclosure), retina display, and is made of Ion-X Glass. It is noted to be water resistant, but not waterproof. It is rated at up to 18 hours of battery life, and features an ambient light sensor, a heart rate monitor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a speaker and a microphone. It supports 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. The case of the 42mm version weighs 30g. The Apple Watch has a Stainless Steel case (enclosure) and the screen is made of Sapphire Crystal. It is heavier at 50g of weight, but otherwise has all the same features of the Apple Watch Sport.

The big questions are going to be how many hours of actual use the Watch provides, and whether the Stainless Steel and Sapphire Crystal make the Apple Watch more durable than the Apple Watch Sport Edition. Although a reserve battery technology had been rumored prior to today’s event, no mention was made on stage or in the press materials on Apple’s website. There was also no mention of what features will be available when it is not connected to an iPhone, and how many apps, songs, or photos can be stored on the watch.

It is somewhat disappointing that despite being pre-announced September 9, 2015 there are still so many unknowns about this device. There were not many additional details provided at today’s event, and I was surprised that the Watch still will not actually be available until April 24th, more than 7 months after being announced. I expect as members of the press get to view and try out the watch, more information will trickle out.

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