In case you missed my post last week, Apple had an event last Monday. We saw a lot of cool things last week, not the least of which was the Apple Watch. Here’s a rundown of exactly what happened Monday.
I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Apple lowered the price of the Apple TV (from $99 to $69) and announced an exclusive deal with HBO. HBO’s new stand-alone streaming service, HBO NOW, will be available only on Apple devices (including the Apple TV) for the first three months. This is huge. HBO NOW has enormous potential to disrupt the TV industry, and this deal could really sell some Apple TVs. Unfortunately, there was no much-need Apple TV update, but the lower price indicates that we might see one next fall. (Also, the HBO presentation resulted in the most hilarious tweet I saw during the event.)
As I predicted, Apple unveiled the newest version of their MacBook laptop line on Monday. However, this isn’t technically a new MacBook Air. Dubbed simply the “MacBook,” this new laptop is super thin and light, and yes, it does have a retina display. The craziest thing about this laptop, however, is the fact that, aside from the headphone jack, it only has one port. One. Basically, in order to get the computer that thin and light, Apple had to remove all connectors except for a single USB-C. This can be used to power the laptop or attach peripherals. You can only do both if you buy an adapter (conveniently, Apple sells one for $79). Apple’s argument here is that most things we connect to a computer can now be wireless, whether its a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard or AirPlay video out. I’m not sure whether Apple will stick to this story or whether, in a year or two, they’ll figure out how to fit a USB 3.0 port in this thing.
Obviously, the most important thing discussed at the event was the Apple Watch. We saw some cool app demos (including Shazam and some connected home stuff), and we also got our answers regarding battery, pricing, and bands. Before I talk about pricing, let’s cover battery really quickly. Apple says that, during normal usage, you can expect 18 hours of battery from the Apple Watch. This fits what they said in September, which was that the Watch would last all day and then you’d charge it every night. As long as it really lasts all day (and not just barely all day), this should be OK for most people. Now let’s talk pricing. First is the Apple Watch Sport. This model is $349 for the 38mm, and $399 for the 42mm. It only comes with the rubber sport band, but you can buy the other bands and put them on the Sport. Thing is, though, the other bands are $149 – $449, depending on which one you get. The flagship Apple Watch model starts at $549 ($599 for the 42mm), and goes up to $1099, depending on which band you get with the watch. Again, you can buy additional bands (including the sport one) and switch them out. Finally, there’s the Apple Watch Edition. This model starts at $10,000, will have limited quantities, and can only be purchased in certain Apple Stores (which will, I’m sure, provide a high-end jewelry experience). Also, the Edition’s bands are not interchangeable; you have to pick one and stick with it (hilariously, the rubber sport band is still an option). If you’re curious as to exactly what each model costs, you can see the full lineup of watches here and the additional bands here. There’s also this really cool spreadsheet that a guy named Rob Griffiths put together with a bunch of stats (including the price) for each model.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, there were no mention of any iPads at this event. Even still, this was a huge day for Apple. I personally can’t afford an Apple Watch, but most everyone on my tech podcasts seem really excited about getting their hands on one. Maybe in a few years the prices will come down a little and I’ll get one. Only one other problem remains: I beat the heck out of my watch. I know these watches are supposed to be sturdy, but I really don’t want to pay upwards of $400 for a watch and then just break it the first time I get a little clumsy. ••