During a special showcase months in the making Apple today finally unveiled what promises to be best smartwatch introduced to the market. Besides the wearable, CEO Tim Cook also lifted the cloth off a stunning new MacBook, and ResearchKit – a way for everyone to contribute to treating common diseases.
Today’s event was as polished as the aluminum used in most Apple products. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook delivered a spotless keynote address assisted by his marketing chief and other recognizable figures, while the stream itself went without a hiccup (unlike previous times).
A potential game changer
Although Cook saved the best for last, it’s only appropriate to mention the event’s centerpiece first. The Apple Watch – a chic wearable computer that promises to connect lives while keeping an eye on our physiology through sensors and specialized software – finally got its official launch date.
Its bold appearance and all-day battery life will send geeks and regular folk alike flocking to the Apple Store to experience the device first hand. The first version sounds a bit over-hyped but it’s got tremendous potential down the road if Apple’s iterating habits are any indication. The makers call it “the most personal device yet,” and for good reason too. It’s a phone extension and a training coach, a messaging tool, as well as an organizer, a silent friend that looks after your health with faint beeps and vibrations, and altogether a true design masterpiece available in a multitude of materials, colors and sizes.
Thanks to third party apps and a devoted developer community, the success of this silicon-based timepiece is ensured out of the box. Personally, I see the iPhone revolution taking place all over again, this time not in our pockets, but on the wrist.
It’s being offered up for sale on April 24th with prices ranging from an affordable $349 for the Sport version to a whopping $17,000 for the higher-end (gold) Edition model. Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US will be the first to receive shipments.
A Mac to die for (with a price tag to match)
It may not be the fastest Mac in Apple’s lineup, but the all-new MacBook clearly deserves its own category. Separated at birth from the Pro and the Air, this new notebook is the brainchild of chief industrial designer Jony Ive and Apple’s unmatched engineering teams. It’s the thinnest and lightest yet, with every component meticulously crafted to maximize space and performance. The demo video says it all.
Weighing just two pounds, the new Mac rocks a 12-inch Retina display, a full-size keyboard custom-tailored for precision typing, a Force Touch trackpad that senses hard presses/taps for easier contextual commands, and a single USB-C port for data transfer, charging, and video out. It’s 13.1 mm thin at its thickest point. Battery life is advertised as “all-day,” which is another way of saying 9 to 10 hours of normal usage. MacBooks have officially caught up to the iPad in terms of autonomy.
Don’t fret just yet. It’s expensive for most pockets. Available in Silver and Space Gray, as well as a golden finish, “the new MacBook” starts at $1,299 with 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.4 GHz), 8GB of RAM, 256GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300. As you’d expect, a faster model with more storage means a few extra bills.
Help cure cancer with your iPhone
In a move similar to the Folding@home initiative, Apple also announced an open source framework called ResearchKit designed for medical and health research.
Using regular apps on your iDevice you’ll be able to help doctors and scientists gather data more frequently helping advance research on treating asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. You and you alone decide if you participate in a study and how your data is shared. Apple promises never to peek at it.
All this and other cool stuff unveiled in San Fran today is over at Apple’s events page.