Apple's "Spring Forward" event is over. We got some of what we expected — details on the Apple Watch and a new MacBook — plus a whole lot more. Catch up with all of the news here, and stay tuned for reports, hands-on testing, and everything else from the event.
Mar 10, 2015
The research apps are easy to download, and the Apple audience is very large; both are advantages for recruitment. But those things can also be ethical liabilities: both Apple and ResearchKit researchers will have to make extra efforts to ensure that participants are eligible for studies, that they are knowledgeable about the risks, and that their data is secure.Read Article >
When you open up "Asthma" — one of the five ResearchKit apps released yesterday — you're asked a number of questions, including about your age. If you say you're not over 18, you're ineligible. But answering "yes" to the age question, and going through a few other questions (Are you pregnant? No. Do you live in the US? Yes.) lets you know that you're eligible for the study.
Mar 10, 2015
At its "Spring Forward" event, Apple showed off how some of the most popular apps will look on its upcoming smartwatch. But there was one category that was conspicuously absent: games. Despite being the most popular (and top-grossing) category in the App Store, not a single game was shown during the event. We already know that there are games in the works for the Apple Watch, but when the device launches next month, don't expect it to be packed full of your favorite iPhone time-wasters.Read Article >
The culprit is the Apple Watch's dependency on your smartphone. On its own, it can't do much: instead, it sends information back to your iPhone, which does most of the heavy lifting. That makes it great for requesting an Uber ride or sending a sticker in WeChat, but not so much for running the next Infinity Blade. "The actual device doesn't do much calculation at all," one developer told The Verge. WatchKit lets you build a simple interface and some limited interactions, but not much else — you can’t have fancy graphics or many complicated controls.
Much can be said about the things Apple's left out of its latest 12-inch MacBook with Retina Display. You don't get a MagSafe power plug, or any of the old ports from previous models (except for a place to plug in your headphones). And the front-facing camera is a step down in quality from what you get on the MacBook Air. On the flipside, the entire computer is two pounds, has a Retina Display, and promises a very reasonable 9 hours of battery life.Read Article >
All in all, it's come a long way from the big generational change with Apple's previous thinnest and lightest computer, the MacBook Air. Its 2010 redesign brought over a bunch of miniaturization tricks from iPhones and iPads to make it even thinner than the first-generation model it replaced from 2008. Stacking the two side by side, you can see just how much better Apple's gotten not just at shrinking components, but also squeezing batteries into tight confines.
While unveiling its new 12-inch MacBook with Retina Display today, Apple noted that you see its notebooks just about everywhere. And one of the things that makes it unmistakable is that glowing logo, something that's been a staple since the PowerBook days. Your screen's backlight shoots through the back, illuminating the logo, and killing two birds with one stone: you're already using that power, and Apple gets to advertise to anyone who spots your machine.Read Article >
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Apple's Spring Forward event was quite eventful (repetition intended). Apple TV got a big price drop and an even bigger exclusive partnership with HBO for its standalone streaming service. The Apple Watch was priced for every single tier, somewhere in the range of $349 to $17,000. And then there's that ultra-thin, minimal-ported MacBook that'll be available in gold. Catch up on all the highlights in this supercut.
Mar 9, 2015Read Article >
To help place the Apple Watch within the context of other luxury watches, we invited Benjamin Clymer, founder and executive editor of luxury watch site HODINKEE, to paint a picture of the market for us. Sure, you could spend $10,000 for an Apple Watch Edition, but you could also buy a classic Omega Speedmaster for roughly the same price — and the Speedmaster won't ever need a software update.
Apple's just reinvented the MacBook with a new design that's remarkably light, thin, and short on ports. It's shipping next month for a starting price of $1,299. The MacBook Air isn't going anywhere; it's just been refreshed with updated internals. And consumers who need maximum speed and graphics performance will want to step up to the MacBook Pro with Retina display. (The old non-Retina MacBook Pro is also still hanging around, so Apple's laptop line is growing pretty long with today's announcement.) But right now, all eyes are on the new MacBook, the new keyboard, the new "Force Touch" trackpad, the new USB-C port, and that Retina display.Read Article >
Does new equal better? Apple would obviously have you believe so, and the MacBook offers the same storage (up to 512GB) and memory configurations as the Air; it ships standard with 8GB of RAM. And the screen — which has become the MacBook Air's main weakness against PC makers — is finally making the jump to a sharp, pixel-dense panel. By integrating Intel's very latest Core M processors, Apple has managed to construct its first laptop without a fan humming inside. But the company's continued obsession with thinness and portability have led to major cuts this time. The SD slot is gone, so a simple thing like syncing photos from your digital camera will always require a USB cable. (Apple would rather you keep that stuff in the cloud anyway.) And you've now got one USB-C port for everything; that's an adjustment that'll take some getting used to for many people. It's also worth nothing that by the numbers, the 12-inch MacBook's battery life falls slightly short of the larger Air and its bigger battery.
There are prophets in this world. Some know it and profit from it. Some simply pretend to be one and profit from the gullibility of others. Others just haven't realized their potential (yet).Read Article >
Take Trinidad James, for instance, and his song "Gold on my MacBook," from the late 2012 mixtape Don't Be S.A.F.E. To be fair, gold and MacBooks are two signs of success, so the concatenation of them in a song meant to promote financial well-being isn't all that surprising. Also, it's worth noting that at no point in the song does he ever say "Gold" or "MacBook." But if there was ever a perfect song title to celebrate today's gold MacBook announcement...
Mar 9, 2015
The MacBook Air is, in my judgment, the best personal computer ever made. The first time I saw its current design, introduced in 2010, it felt like someone had taken a thin slab of aluminum and magically made it do computer things. Everything about the Air defies expectations: from its unmatched keyboard and touchpad to its excellent battery life and performance. Today, Apple set itself the task of outshining its greatest Mac creation with an all-new MacBook that takes the Air philosophy to its logical extreme.Read Article >
Read next: 12-inch MacBook review.
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The Apple Watch Edition is certainly a fine-looking smartwatch, but with a starting price of $10,000, it's worth looking at what else that amount of money can buy to put in perspective how much it costs. Let's remember: this is a watch that will likely be out of date within a matter of years, quickly depreciate in value, and is available in equally capable and similarly stylish models for just $1,000 — even less if you're willing to deal with those plebeian sport bands! If you're considering the purchase, let us help you put the $10,000 (or more) watch in context by looking at other things that cost around $10,000.
Mar 9, 2015
Tim Cook and other members of the Apple team used the word privilege a handful of times during today's Apple Event. The word usually signified graciousness, like "It's a privilege to be here" or "It's a privilege to present this new product." Privilege describes what Apple showed on the stage in Cupertino. In the MacBook and Apple Watch, we see items designed for those who don't desire functionality so much as fashion. It would be a privilege to own them.Read Article >
In a single press conference, we saw an exclusive launch partnership with HBO that temporarily limits potential customers for a service that, briefly, looked like it would make the popular cable service easier to access for anyone without a cable subscription or looking to cut the cord. We saw a MacBook with fewer ports and less battery life than its closest predecessor, but it's a bit thinner and comes in gold. And we saw a smartwatch that does some of things smartphones already do, but it does them on your wrist and costs between $350 and $17,000.
Mar 9, 2015
With the release of the Apple Watch this April, consumers will have the chance to purchase one of 36 new Apple Watch models. Between the Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition collections, Apple is offering a variety of choices for watch size, material, and style that, it hopes, will speak to the individual taste of the buyers. (And how deep their pockets go, with the Watch Edition collection starting at $10,000).Read Article >
But in case owners want to further customize their watches depending on the moment, Apple also offers a whole line of separate bands they can mix and match. Below is the complete list of bands for your next watch. Take a look:
After months of fanfare, Apple finally announced a date for its smartwatch: April 24th. The timepieces are one of the riskiest ventures Apple has made in years, and they’re going to play a big role in either making smartwatches the new smartphones or sending them back to the panels of Dick Tracy. They’re a push towards blending fashion and tech, with customizable bands; multiple models made of steel, aluminum, and gold; and price tags that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. And they take Apple's personal computing to new, sometimes slightly creepy levels. Or, as Tim Cook put it, “Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever created. It’s not just with you, it’s on you."Read Article >
Update: Read our Apple Watch review.
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Apple is ditching all of its traditional MacBook ports for a single USB Type-C connector in its new 12-inch MacBook. It's a smaller reversible connector, and it's not compatible with existing full-size USB accessories. If you want to charge, use a monitor, and use a USB device all at the same time, then you'll need a $79 accessory. There are two options: VGA or HDMI; they're both $79 and sold separately from the base $1,299 price of the new MacBook.
Today, Apple finally revealed more details about the Apple Watch, which hits stores on April 24th. One of the biggest questions since September's announcement of the device is just how long you'll be able to use the Apple Watch before it needs to be recharged. As it turns out, about 18 hours, according to Apple. That might sound like a lot for a smartphone, but it means Apple Watch owners will be charging their devices every single night if they want them to last through the next day.Read Article >
This also means that road warriors will need to pack the Apple Watch's MagSafe charging cable with them whenever they'll be away from home for more than a day. The charging cable is unique among Apple's products: it's a round disc that snaps into place on the back of the watch and then plugs into a standard USB port or wall wart. Apple will likely pack a 1-meter version of the cable with each Watch sold, but those that want more than one to keep at the office or pack in their go bags will be able to buy them for $29 a pop (or $39 if you want a 2-meter cable).
Mar 9, 2015
After months of anticipation, we've finally gotten to play with a working Apple Watch. The hardware is virtually the same as we saw back in September: a rounded rectangle that looks like nothing so much as a tiny first-gen iPhone, wrapped up in three different cases and held on to your wrist with a huge number of bands. But that's the physical stuff — we'll get to that. What matters today is the software, what it can do, and how it works. And it turns out it's actually pretty complicated.Read Article >
If you want to buy an extra band for the Apple Watch, you may have to pay handsomely for it. Pricing for Apple's watch bands starts at $49 for its synthetic rubber bands and runs up to $449 for the link bracelet. All bands cost the same regardless of which model — 38mm or 42mm — watch they're made for or what size they're available in. All pricing options are below:Read Article >
Apple didn't discuss the possibility of using a watch band made by another manufacturer at all, but it's easy to imagine that a lot of custom bands will pop up quickly. That should give buyers plenty of options, should they not be interested in what Apple is offering — or the prices that it's offering them at.
Mar 9, 2015
The Apple Watch news keeps coming: Fandango has announced that it will be bringing its ticket-buying service to the device. The Fandango app will provide several features designed to make getting to the movies as easy as possible. If customers have bought tickets through the service, they'll be able to pull up a scannable mobile ticket on their watch to get into theaters without fishing for their phone or a paper ticket. It will also provide reminders for upcoming movies, directions, a countdown until the movie actually starts, and general theater information. It will be available when the new device launches next month.Read Article >
"We're excited to be one of the first apps available for Apple Watch, which takes moviegoing to a whole new level by providing quick access, once you've purchased tickets, to movie times, theater location, and more movie info conveniently on your wrist," Fandango president Paul Yanover said in a statement. "We think the Apple Watch will ignite consumer excitement and help build momentum for the category."
Mar 9, 2015
After Christmas last year, I was on a train from Pittsburgh to New York and sat next to a man who had just gotten out of prison. He got on the train at Lewisburg, where he had spent the last four and a half years. Now he was headed to Philadelphia to meet his family. He was excited to eat real food again, try yoga, do all the things you can't do inside.Read Article >
As we pulled in to Philadelphia, he asked me what time it was; I checked my phone and told him the train was a few minutes early. He asked if maybe my phone was early, and I had to tell him that it didn't work that way. It's a phone; it's never early or late. It always knows exactly what time it is. Of course, he'd had a cell phone before he went to Lewisburg — he knew exactly how they worked — but after four years inside, he'd gotten used to a less centralized version of time, abiding by a dozen different analog clocks that never quite synced up. For centuries, that's how time worked, and in some corners of the world, it still works that way.
Mar 9, 2015
The Mac has bucked the trend of declining PC sales for quite awhile now, and Apple is showing no signs of slowing down in the category. While questions swirl about the future of the iPad, Apple's oldest business is going strong and showing clear signs of innovation. There's no better example than the latest Macbook, just announced today at Apple's "Spring Forward" event. It's a MacBook (just "MacBook") with a Retina Display, a laptop many have been clamoring for, but more importantly it's a vision into the future of what laptops can and should be: untethered from power cables, devices whose battery life just lasts and lasts.Read Article >
After offering a brief glimpse of Apple Watch's software back in September, Apple today gave a much more thorough preview of what wrist-worn apps look like on the company's first smartwatch.Read Article >
Today's keynote once again saw demonstrations of Apple's own apps, but Apple Watch software chief Kevin Lynch also showcased the work of some big name developers ahead of the device's release next month. The demos provided a fascinating look at how developers are rethinking popular iOS apps so they work best on a much smaller screen and integrate Apple's new input methods like force touch and the digital crown.
Apple has wrapped up its Spring Forward event — Apple Watch! A new MacBook! HBO Now on Apple TV!. Join Chris Ziegler (with new glasses), Casey Newton (via San Francisco), and Ross Miller (hi!) as we break down all the news of the day, and later on, discussing the finer points of arm hair grooming.Read Article >
Today, Apple finally announced the pricing for its gold-encased Apple Watch Edition. It's a staggering $10,000 to start, and Apple says it will be available in "limited select retail stores." How will Apple sell a five-figure piece of jewelry in a store that thousands of people use to check their email while killing time? With a special table, apparently.Read Article >
The Apple Watch in-store case will also house the lesser Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch versions of the device, which range in prices from $349 to $1,099, depending on configuration. Apple says it will offer pre-orders and previews of the Apple Watch in stores starting on April 10th, with retail availability on April 24th.
Mar 9, 2015
Apple just gave us a brief look at what Instagram will look like on the Apple Watch. It's reminiscent of the experience you find on Google+, with dynamically resized images instead of the feed we're used to seeing in the phone app. Tapping on a photo brings up additional information, such as the description, location, and likes. It was just one of a number of apps on display, but we'll be sure to bring you a deeper look when we get our hands on the device. There's a lot we don't know, like whether browsing the popular photo sharing app will be a drain on the Watch's purported 18-hour battery life.Read Article >
The Apple Watch will be available on April 24th, and the lowest-end model starts at $349.