What happened at the Apple “Spring Forward” Event 2015?
Of all the companies with new releases this year one company that always has us on the edge of our seats is Apple. Yesterday the live media event, hosted by Tim Cook, provided details about some of the releases to look forward to from the tech giant in 2015.
The event started off in style with a video showing the new West Lake Apple Store in China. The 50ft high glass storefront makes it the largest store in Asia and the first of many stores that are due to open soon across the continent.
Tim Cook rarely uses his social media accounts to promote Apple Stores but he marked this new store with a tweet showing some of the fans that had queued for hours to see the new store. The opening of the West Lake store was also celebrated by draping the storefront with a mural created by the artist Wang Dongling. Apple is continuing its expansion into Asia by opening 25 more stores over the next 2 years adding to its worldwide presence of 453 stores across 16 countries.
Apple TV and HBO
Also on the agenda are Apple TV and the new partnership with HBO. HBO Now is the new streaming service coming soon to Apple TV bringing on demand viewing of all HBO shows. HBO Now will be $14.99 per month on top of Apple TV, which is reducing in price from $99 to just $69. Good news for Game of Thrones fans as not only is HBO Now coming in time for the start of the new season but there was also a new season 5 trailer released at the event.
Apple Pay has gotten off to a running start since its launch and everyone is expecting big things after Tim Cook declared, “2015 will be the year of Apple Pay”. Nearly 700,000 locations are now accepting Apple Pay across the US and Coca-Cola plan to significantly increase the number of Apple compatible vending machines from the current 40,000 by the end of the year.
Software: CarPlay and ResearchKit
There is also some new software arriving later this year to accompany some of the big hardware launches.
CarPlay is the first Apple operating system for your car and will be available in all major car brands including 40 new models by the end of the year.
The next piece of software from Apple may be one of the most important launches from Monday’s announcement as it aims to significantly aid medical research.
ResearchKit builds on the software in the iOS 8 Health app to help doctors gather data from patients more frequently and accurately. ResearchKit has been developed with world-class research institutions to also enable large-scale recruitment of participants for studies by harnessing the potential to gather data from the 700 million iPhones worldwide. The app is currently available for users with diseases including asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
The first of the two hardware launches at the Apple Live Event is the new MacBook Air. Apple claim to have taken everything they have learned about mobile computing from the iPad and iPhone and undertaken the challenge to reinvent the notebook. Now 24% thinner and weighing just 2lb the MacBook Air is more efficient and refined than ever before. To learn more about what makes the new MacBook different see thevideo by Jony Ive, Senior Vice President, Design.
Finally Tim Cook brought out the star of the show and what most viewers tuned in to find out more about. The launch of the Apple Watch is one of the most awaited new products from Apple this year. Everyone is interested to see what the best in personal technology will bring to the ever-growing industry of wearable tech.
The newest member of the Apple family will be completely personalised with multiple faces, designs and apps available to do everything from monitoring health, using Apple Pay, checking your Twitter, boarding a flight, and calling an Uber.
Apple revealed that thousands of apps have been developed prior to the launch of the Apple Watch including plenty of familiar sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Uber and WeChat.
However, the watch is not entirely independent, to buy more apps you will need to connect to your iPhone where the iOS 8.2 app store will have an Apple Watch menu. Also if you want to use GPS or receive calls and messages you will need an iPhone 5, or a more recent model, partnered to the watch.
The price range of the watches has also sparked some discussion with 38 different models available ranging from $349 to $17,000 depending on the metal and strap choices. The Apple Watch Edition will set you back a pretty shocking $17,000 (with an 18-carat gold case, sapphire crystal display and leather strap you can almost see why). However, it may surprise you that the specs will be exactly the same as theApple Watch Sport (available from $349), which has left a lot of people struggling to justify the higher prices.
After the launch yesterday there have been varied forecasts about the success of the Apple Watch ranging from predictions of 8 million to 60 million units to be sold this year. It will be hard to pin down forecasts while the big question still stands:
How is Apple going to convince its iPhone customers that the Apple Watch is something that they need in their everyday lives?
That will be up to Apple to answer, but for now whether you are a supporter or a sceptic we have no doubt that on April 24th there will the queues of fans sleeping outside Apple Stores to get their hands on the newest tech.
Tweet me with your thoughts @GabyAtNotch or use the hashtag #NotchBlog!