Apple ‘Spring Forward’ event recap

Apple took to the stage at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Monday to announce a boatload of updates to its lineup. Most was as expected, but there were a few surprises along the way. Let’s recap after the break:



Richard Plepler, HBO’s chairman and CEO kicked off by unveiling HBO Now.

Its launch will be next month (just in time for Game of Thrones’ new season), making a HBO subscription available exclusively to Apple customers (for now, anyway). iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV users can buy the service directly to watch every episode of every season of the premium network’s original programming, as well as its lineup of movies, documentaries, sports and comedy specials for $14.99 a month.


“HBO Now is the next phase of innovation of HBO. With this new partnership, a natural evolution for the network, we have access to millions of Apple customers who are used to getting their favorite apps immediately. Now, they can do the same with an Apple subscription.”

Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of internet software and services:

“HBO Now offers a new generation of HBO fans many of the best TV programs in the world without a cable or satellite subscription. Now, with the same simplicity as buying an app, customers can subscribe to HBO Now and instantly start viewing their favorite HBO programs as they air — this is huge.”

At launch, HBO will offer a 30-day introductory free trial period to new HBO Now customers who sign up through Apple.


Retina MacBook Pro, MacBook Air updates


The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display received updates with the new Force Touch trackpad (more on that later), fifth generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris 6100 graphics, “two times” faster flash storage and longer battery life.

The MacBook Air line was also updated with fifth generation Intel Core processors, Intel HD 6000 graphics, Thunderbolt 2, and up to “two times” Faster flash to the 13-incher.

Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing:

“Today the popular 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, 11-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Air received significant upgrades. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest processors, more powerful graphics, faster flash, longer battery life and the all-new Force Touch trackpad. We’re also bringing the latest processors and graphics, and faster Thunderbolt 2 to the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air, as well as two times faster flash to the 13-inch MacBook Air.”

The Force Touch trackpad features built-in force sensors that allow you to click anywhere and haptic feedback will give a “responsive and uniform feel.” You can customize the feel of the trackpad by changing the amount of pressure needed to register each click. The Force Touch trackpad also enables a new gesture called Force Click, a click followed by a deeper press, for tasks like pulling up a word’s definition, seeing a map or glancing at a file preview.

The updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display also features fifth generation Intel processors clocked at up to 3.1Ghz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.4GHz, and Thunderbolt 2 delivering up to 20Gbps, twice the bandwidth of the previous generation.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is available now through Apple’s Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized resellers in the following configurations:


  • $1,299: 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1GHz, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage
  • $1,499: 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3GHz, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of flash storage
  • $1,799: 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3GHz, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of flash storage



These are configurable with a faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processor clocked at up to 3.1GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.4GHz, up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of flash storage.

The new MacBook Airs are also available now through the same channels as the Retina MacBook Pro in the following configurations:


  • $899: 11-inch display with 1.6GHz processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage
  • $1,199: Same specs with 256GB of flash memory; 13-inch display with 1.6GHz processor and Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.7GHz, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage



Configure-to-order options include a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.2GHz, up to 8GB of memory and up to 512GB flash storage.


The Retina MacBook Air turned out to want its own identity: MacBook (clearly meant to burn a certain Google-owned line of laptops).

Every part received a redesign to create a laptop that weighs a mere two pounds (don’t quit on me, now) and is 13.1mm thin. The new MacBook features a 12-inch Retina display, an Apple-designed full-size keyboard, the Force Touch trackpad, an USB-C port for data transfer, video out and charging, and a new battery design to maximize every millimeter of space and deliver “all-day battery life.”

Also, for the first time in a Mac, MacBook is available in gold, silver and space gray.


“Apple has reinvented the notebook with the new MacBook, and at just two pounds and 13.1 mm, it’s the thinnest and lightest Mac ever. Every component of the MacBook reveals a new innovation. From its fanless design, ultra-thin Retina display and full-size keyboard that’s 34 percent thinner, to its all-new Force Touch trackpad, versatile USB-C port and breakthrough terraced battery design, the new MacBook is the future of the notebook.”

Measuring just 13.1mm at its thickest point, the new MacBook design is 24 percent thinner than the 11-inch MacBook Air. With a precision-milled unibody enclosure featuring integrated WiFi antennas and a top case with a stainless steel Apple logo (RIP glowing Apple logo), this is the first MacBook with an all-metal enclosure.

To fit a full-size keyboard into the 13.1mm machine meant that Cupertino has to “completely” reengineer how a notebook keyboard works. The new keyboard is 34 percent thinner and uses an Apple-designed butterfly mechanism that’s 40 percent thinner than a traditional scissor keyboard mechanism and four times more stable for greater precision. New stainless steel dome switches located beneath each key deliver a “crisp and responsive” feel while typing, and every key on the new keyboard is individually backlit with its own single LED to deliver “precisely calibrated, uniform brightness” behind each keycap.

That 12-inch Retina display features a 16:10 aspect ratio, 2304×1440 resolution and measures 0.88mm thin, the thinnest display on any Mac ever. With a larger aperture for each pixel, the new Retina display also uses 30 percent less energy than the existing Retina MacBook Pro lineup, while delivering the same level of brightness.

MacBook also features the Force Touch trackpad and compact logic board in any Mac, measuring 67 percent smaller than that its counterpart on the 11-inch MacBook Air. With no moving parts or vents, the new MacBook is the first fanless Mac notebook. The laptop features the fifth-generation Intel Core M processor that runs at five watts and Intel HD 5300 Graphics.

The new MacBook feature a terraced battery design that’s layered in individual sheets that contour to fit the MacBook’s curved enclosure. As a result, the new MacBook has 35 percent more battery capacity than what could be accomplished with traditional battery cells and delivers up to nine hours of wireless web browsing and up to 10 hours of iTunes movie playback.

Designed for the wireless world, MacBook comes with a built-in 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity.

The new MacBook features a next-generation USB-C port that supports higher wattage charging, USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) data transfer and DisplayPort 1.2 all in a single connector that’s one-third the size of a traditional USB port.

The all-new MacBook will begin shipping on Friday, April 10th through Apple’s Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers in the following configurations:


  • $1,299: 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.4GHz, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of flash storage, Intel HD 5300 Graphics
  • $1,599: 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.6GHz, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of flash storage and Intel HD 5300 graphics




ResearchKit is an open-source software framework for medical and health research, helping doctors and scientists gather data “more frequently and more accurately” from participants using iPhone apps.

World-class research institutions have already developed apps with the framework for studies on asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Users decide if they want to take part in a study and how data is shared.

Jeff Williams, Apple senior vice president of operations:

“iOS apps already help millions of customers track and improve their health. With hundreds of millions of iPhones in use around the world, we saw an opportunity for Apple to have an even greater impact by empowering people to participate in and contribute to medical research. ResearchKit gives the scientific community access to a diverse, global population and more ways to collect data than ever before.”

ResearchKit turns iPhone into a tool for medical research. When granted permission by the user, apps can get access to data from the Health app such as weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and asthma inhaler use, which third-party apps and devices measure. ResearchKit can also request access to the accelerometer, microphone, gyroscope and GPS sensors from a user to gain insight into a patient’s gait, motor impairment, fitness, speech and memory.

ResearchKit also makes it easier to recruit participants for large-scale studies, accessing a broad cross-section of the population — not just those within driving distance of an institution. Study participants can complete tasks or send surveys right from the app, so researchers spend less time on paperwork and more time analyzing data. ResearchKit also enables researchers to present an “interactive, informed” consent process. Users choose which studies to take part in and the data they want to offer in each study.

Patricia Ganz, MD; UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center director of cancer prevention & control research:

“We’re excited to use these new ResearchKit tools from Apple to expand participant recruitment and quickly gather even more data through the simple use of an iPhone app. The data it will provide takes us one step closer to developing more personalized care. Access to more diverse patient-reported health data will help us learn more about long-term aftereffects of cancer treatments and provide us with a better understanding of the breast cancer patient experience.”

Eric Schadt, PHD; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Jean C. and James W. Crystal professor of genomics, Icahn Insittute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology founding director:

“When it comes to researching how we can better diagnose and prevent disease, numbers are everything. By using Apple’s new ResearchKit framework, we’re able to extend participation beyond our local community and capture significantly more data to help us understand how asthma works. Using iPhone’s advanced sensors, we’re able to better model an asthma patient’s condition to enable us to deliver a more personalized, more precise treatment.”

Developed by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and LifeMap Solutions, the Asthma Health app helps to improve asthma patient education and self-monitoring, promote positive behavioral changes and reinforce adherence to treatment plans according to current asthma guidelines. The study tracks symptom patterns in an individual and potential triggers for these exacerbations so that researchers can learn new ways to personalize asthma treatment.

The Share the Journey app, developed by the Dana-Farber Cancer institute, Penn Medicine, Sage Bionetworks and UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a research study that aims to understand why some breast cancer survivors recover faster than others, why their symptoms vary over time and what might improve symptoms. Share the Journey will use surveys and sensor data on iPhone to collect and track fatigue, mood and cognitive changes, sleep disturbances and reduction in exercise.

Developed by Stanford Medicine, the MyHeart Counts app measures activity and uses risk factor and survey information to help researchers more accurately evacuate how a participant’s activity and lifestyle relate to cardiovascular health. By studying these relationships on a broad scale, researchers will be able to understand better how to keep hearts healthier.

Massachusetts General Hospital developed the GlucoSuccess app to understand how various aspects of a person’s life like diet, physical activity and medications affect blood glucose levels. The app can also help participants find how their food choices and activity relate to their best glucose levels, enabling them to clearly them to clearly see correlations and take more active roles in their own well-being.

Developed by Sage Bionetworks and the University of Rochester, the Parkinson mPower app helps people living with Parkinson’s disease track their symptoms by recording activities using sensors in iPhone. These activities include a memory game, finger tapping, speaking and walking. Activity and survey data from your phone combine with data from many other participants to fuel Parkinson’s research at a scale never possible.

ResearchKit will launch as an open source framework next month, providing researchers with the ability to give to specific activity modules in the framework, like memory or gait testing, and share them with the global research community to further advance what we know about diseases.

These apps are available in the US App Store and will be rolling up internationally in the future on the following devices:

  • iPhone 5 and newer
  • iPod touch (latest generation)

Apple Watch

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. The Apple Watch will be available on Friday, April 24th to customers in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Tim Cook, Apple CEO:

“Apple Watch begins a new chapter in the way we relate to technology and we think our customers are going to love it. We can’t wait for people to start wearing Apple Watch to easily access information that matters, to interact with the world, and to live a better day by being more aware of their daily activity than ever before.”

Jony Ive, Apple senior vice president of design:

“Conceived, designed and developed as a singular product, Apple Watch merges hardware and software like never before. In Apple Watch, we’ve created three beautifully curated collections with a software architecture that together enable unparalleled personalization in a wearable device.”

Apple Watch keeps time to within 50 milliseconds of UTC (the universal time standard).

From requesting a Uber, checking in to your American Airlines flight, booking a bike for your Equinox class to remotely controlling your Honeywell Lyric thermostat while away, the Apple Watch can take care of it. These experiences “extend the functionality” of iPhone apps and places them on your wrist. Apps like Instagram, At Bat, Nike+ Running, OpenTable, Shazam, Twitter, and WeChat will also be available on Apple Watch. The new Apple Watch app that comes pre-installed with iOS 8.2 on iPhone lets you browse, buy and download apps from the Apple Watch App Store.

Apple Watch delivers up to 18 hours of battery life.

When the Apple Watch becomes available for pre-order on April 10, Apple retail stores and department store-within-a-stores will being offering customers the chance to preview their desired Apple Watch and try it on in store.

Beginning April 10th in the countries mentioned before, Apple Watch will be available to preview, try-on by appointment at Apple’s retail stores and pre-order through the Apple Online Store. On April 24, Apple Watch will be available online or by reservation in Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers in China and Japan. Customers who buy through Apple can receive Personal Setup to customize and pair the Apple Watch with their iPhone.

Pricing goes as follows:


  • $349-$399: Apple Watch Sport
  • $549-$1,099: Apple Watch
  • At least $10,000: Apple Watch Edition, crafted from custom rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys



Apple Watch will also be available to preview or try on at the following locations:


  • Paris: Galeries Lafayette
  • Tokyo: Isefan
  • London: Selfridges



Apple Watch will go on sale April 24 at select department store shop-in-shops, and at boutiques like the following:


  • Paris: colette
  • London, Tokyo: Dover Street Market
  • Los Angeles: Maxfield
  • Berlin: The Corner



Source: Apple






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