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The Dose: Highlights from today’s Apple Watch event

The Dose: Highlights from today’s Apple Watch event

The Dose: Highlights from today’s Apple Watch event
March 09
18:58 2015

Matthew Payne / Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, press nationwide received invitation straight from Apple to attend a presentation in San Francisco, with promise the company out of Cupertino would feature brand new technology and services and presumably more info regarding release and price points on the Apple Watch.

Today, Apple delivered on that promise, and speculation proved itself true with a host of other surprises.

Apple TV gets low with HBO

Apple first announced the staggering numbers of adoption on Apple TV, with more than 25 million units sold. Tim Cook called the streaming device an “industry leader” and in order to make it even more accessible, the company lowered the standard retail price from $99 to $69.

HBO CEO Richard Pleber then took the stage to announce a new streaming service called HBO NOW, which will be exclusive for Apple TV owners at it’s launch in April, allowing them access to the provider’s popular programs like Game of Thrones and Veep. An all-new Game of Thrones trailer for season five was then shown.

ResearchKit crowdsources medical information

To be released next month, ResearchKit is a program that will allow iPhone users to voluntarily submit their medical information and diagnostics from health-oriented tests from apps made with ResearchKit to Apple’s partners like Oxford University and Stanford.

“We want anyone anywhere to be able to contribute so we are actually going to make this open source,” Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams said. “There’s a brilliant and motivated research community out there and we can’t wait to see what they do with it.”

These tests include using two fingers to alternatively tap on the screen of an iPhone to indicate signs of Parkinson’s disease, and surveys and various tasks users can utilize to understand their personal risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Breast Cancer or causes of Asthma.

The new MacBook gets gold (and gray)

Coming in as somewhat of a surprise is the new MacBook. Weighing in at merely 2 pounds, the new MacBook features three colors: space gray, silver and a striking gold. Unlike the current Macbook Air, the new Macbook will feature a 12-inch, 2304 x 1440 pixel resolution, and is only 13.1 millimeters thick, roughly 25% less than the 11-inch MacBook Air. There are several new features in its engineering, most notably the USB-C port on the left side of the device. Of course, with this new, faster, and more efficient format, standard USB drives won’t be compatible, but Apple will sell a USB-C adapter that will allow users to connect HDMI, VGA, and standard USB devices for an additional $79. Also featured in the new MacBook is a “terraced” battery infrastructure, which uses the excess space inside of the MacBook that is not taken up by the processor and trackpad, to store several battery cells. The new MacBook is stated to have 10-hour battery life.

Emphasis was also placed on the engineering of the new trackpad, with a new feature called “force click”. By a more forceful, deliberate click on the trackpad with one finger, you’ll be able to double-click with only one finger as opposed to two-fingers, and force clicking will also trigger speed manipulation of video in QuickTime, initiate Wikipedia articles during web searches and map location when an address is sent to you. The MacBooks Air and Pro will also be upgraded to this new trackpad, as well as gaining faster processors and better battery life.

The new MacBook will release April 10th and the 256GB base model will be $1,299, and a 512GB model with a faster processor will be available for $1,599.

Apple Watch brings the class

Apple detailed the three models of its first smart watch: Apple Watch Sport, the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. The watches will feature call reception and answering with built-in mic and speaker; Siri integration for functionality access like iMessage and internet search; and even what Apple calls “digital touch,” allowing users with Apple Watches to doodle on their respective screens and send drawings to one another – you can even share your heartbeat as a gesture of affection.

As far as differences between the three watches go, the functionality and specs are exactly the same, with variance only occurring in their build materials.

The Apple Watch Sport is made from anodized aluminum and is available in space gray and silver, featuring colorful silicone bands for personalization. It is available at a retail price of $349 for the 38-millimeter size and $399 for the 42-millimeter size.

The mid-range Apple Watch is made from stainless steel and will feature a silver finish or a space black, with a wide variety of bands to choose from like leather or metal. It will be available from $549 to $1100, depending on the type of band.

The limited-quantity Apple Watch Edition is made from 18-karat gold, will be available in yellow or rose finish and will start at $10,000 at select retailers (better start submitting those loan applications).

The Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition will all be released on April 24, with pre-orders opening April 10.

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