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Your handy guide to all of today's Apple announcements

Apple Watch will be available for pre-order on April 10th and HBO Now is coming to Apple TV

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
March 9, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3c76

Whoooo boy, Apple sure does know how to put on a presentation. Running over 90 minutes, today's event encompassed a large number of announcements, product releases and some very exciting developments with the Apple Watch.

Unfortunately, Apple limits the number of people who can actually watch their events to those who use OS X10 or have an iOS device. Why do they do this? Uh, don't ask me. All I can tell you is that it makes it that much more difficult for non-Apple users to switch over.

So if you, for whatever reason, couldn't see today's event, here is everything that was announced. It's a lot of stuff.

Apple TV

Last week it was reported that HBO and Apple were in talks with Apple to have Apple TV be one of the launch partners for its new stand-alone streaming service, called HBO Now.

Today, those rumors were confirmed. Apple was revealed to be the exclusive launch partner for the new service; that means that users will be able to stream HBO through their web browser, but not through any other streaming box, at least for the time being. 

"All you need to get HBO Now is a broadband connection and an Apple device," HBO CEO Richard Plepler (pictured above) said on stage.

As previously reported, HBO Now will cost $14.99 per month and will offer access to HBO's entirely library of original shows, both past and present, as well as its feature films catalog. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company has now sold over 25 million Apple TV devices and, in honor of the new partnership, it has also decided to reduce the price from $99 to $69.

The iPhone

Apple revealed some new stats about the iPhone. First, that that it just sold its 700 millionth unit. Second, that Apple Pay has gone from just six banks to over 2,500, and more than triple the number of locations to over 7,000 in just three months.

It also revealed that CarPlay, Apple's vehicle integration service, has been signed on to be used in every major car brand, and will be in 40 new car models by the end of the year.

But the biggest announcement was ResearchKit, a new software framework that will help medical research teams collect data in order to fight diseases.

There are a lot of problems with collecting this type of data, Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of Operations, said on stage, including sporadic readings, and people not fully participating. With ResearchKit, the iPhone becomes a diagnostic tool by pulling data from HealthKit.

The company has already teamed up with notable medical research teams to develop apps to measure symptoms of diseases, including Parkinson’s. Users can tap their device to test for hand tremors, talk into the microphone to detect changes in their voice and even walk with it in their pocket to measure their gait.

Other diseases that currently have similar apps are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and breast cancer. ResearchKit is being made open source so that users who use other platforms, besides iOS, can also benefit.

Williams acknowledged that "there is nothing more sensitive than a person;s medical data," and said that the user would have complete control over how the data was used and that Apple would never see it.

The Mac

The company also unveiled a new, and totally reinvented, MacBook.

Even though Notebooks, overall, shrank last year, the Cac grew 20%, Cook said, noting that the portability offered by the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad, led it to want to "reinvent the Notebook."

Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, got on stage to present the thinnest, and more energy efficient, MacBook yet.

It only weighs two pounds, making it the lightest Mac ever made, and is only 13.1mm thick at its thickest, making it 24% thinner than any previous version.

The new MacBook also comes with a new type of keyboard, with a new mechanism to make typing more efficient, as well as new type of touch pad, called Force Touch, that is pressure sensitive.

But here are the two coolest things announced:

First, it will have a 12 inch display with retina display of over 3.3m pixels, making it the "thinnest display ever." And, second, it has a single connector, called USB-C, which acts as a single port for power, USB, HDMI and more. 

Apple Watch

Now, finally, we can get to what we've all been waiting to hear about: the Apple Watch.

"The Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever created. What you wear is an expression of who you are so we created a device to appeal to a variety of people with different tastes and preference," said Cook. 

"In addition to being a beautiful object it also the most advanced timepiece every created, with revolutionary ways to connect with others as well as a comprehensive health and fitness companion."

Accurate to within 50 milliseconds of universal coordinated time, the Apple Watch also comes with many different faces and configurations, including traditional and digital, as well as new and different ways, such a flower blooming, and fun ways, like a dancing Mickey Mouse.

Users can also add many details to the face they choose, such as the date, the world clock, a stopwatch, their next meeting and more.

It also comes with a new feature called Glances, which allows users to check things quickly that they most frequently use. By swiping up they can see the weather, calendar, control their music and even check their heart rate. 

They can also communicate in real time with other watch users by either tapping their wrist, or by sending them drawings that they can then also watch in real time with a feature called Digital Touch. Users will be able to receive calls on the Apple Watch and read their e-mails.

There had been reports that Apple had been forced to abandon some of the health aspects of Apple Watch due to technical issues, such as them not working correctly or being too complex to master at the moment. Others reportedly faced a different problem, perhaps putting Apple in legal trouble due to unwanted regulatory oversight.

There was no mention of that at today's event, and Cook touted the device's health features, such as reminders to exercise, notifications if a user has been sitting long, and an update every Monday on how the previous week's exercises went and what the user should do differently in the coming week.

It also comes with a new workout app that allow users to get detailed metrics on how their workout is going, how many calories they are burning, the distance they traveled and more.

There are three versions of Apple Watch; the first is simply called "Watch Sport," and is considered to be on the low end. Apple Watch Sport will start at $349 for the 38mm version and cost $399 for the 42mm.

The next is called "Watch" and is the mid-tier version. It comes with a larger selection of bands, including leather and a link bracelet. It costs between $539 and $1049, depending on the selection of band on the smaller version; or between $599 and $1099 for the larger one.

The third is called "Apple Watch Edition" and it covers the high end of the spectrum. The Watch Edition comes with a case, clasp and bracelet that are all crafted from 18-karat gold, so this is not a product for your average wearable user. Apple Watch Edition costs $10,000. 

All editions of the Apple Watch will be available for pre-order on April 10th, and users will be able to play with them in Apple Stores. The first editions of the product will ship out on April 24th.


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