A golden MacBook, HBO on your iPhone & of course, the Watch
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — All eyes were focused on the watch, but Apple CEO Tim Cook also unveiled a new MacBook and announced other deals at a company event Monday in San Francisco.
Here are 5 things you need to know.
— Apple calls it "the most personal Apple device ever." And potentially the most expensive.
— Starts at $349 with Apple Watch Sport, aimed at fitness enthusiasts, in anodized aluminum in silver or space gray, with colorful band choices. Apple Watch stainless steel starts at $549, in traditional and space black. And for those who eat cake: Apple Watch Edition, an 18-karat yellow or rose gold version with a starting price of $10,000.
— Includes: swipe-able "glances" that show you the information you use most; customizable faces for the dial of your choice, and lots of features for both fitness buffs and others who need a reminder to get out of their chairs.
— "Taptic feedback" (a subtle tap) notifies wearers of new emails and other messages. By tapping a finger on the watchface, wearers can control music, send Instagram photos, sketch and send a dynamic drawing to a friend, and see who's calling. Return calls with voice or a voice-to-text messaging functionality.
— Substitutes for: A hotel room key, boarding pass, even your wallet — Apple Pay promises to enable grocery-store checkouts with a single tap of your wrist.
— "All-day" battery promises about 18 hours of life. Charge it by snapping a magnetic charger to the back of the watch.
— Pre-orders begin April 10. In-store sales start April 24 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Britain.
SHINY HAPPY MACBOOK
— Weighing in at just 2 pounds and with no fan or other moving parts, it's the lightest, thinnest and quietest Apple laptop yet, with "all-day" battery life, which Apple defines as 9 hours of web browsing and 10 hours of iTunes movie playback.
— Comes in three colors: silver, "space gray" and — wait for it — gold.
— Control it with a new pressure-sensitive track pad. Screen has the 12-inch higher-resolution Retina display now available only in higher-end, heavier MacBook Pros.
— Charge it with a new kind of connector cable and port, "USB-C," that combines power with functions now requiring HDMI, VGA or USB connections.
— Feel good about it: Apple touts its environmental friendliness (no PVCs, mercury, or beryllium) and says it will be the most energy-efficient laptop on the market.
— Shipping April 10, it starts at $1,299 with 256 gigabytes of storage. A faster processor and double the storage can be had for $1,599.
— Apple will still make its MacBook Air and Pro models. Upgrades were released Monday.
AN APPLE A DAY
— To help sell a computer designed to be pressed to the flesh all day, Apple is pitching the watch and iPhone as medical research tools that will turn wearers/users into volunteers for medical studies.
— ResearchKit, available next month, is Apple's open source set of tools that researchers can use to build apps aimed at diseases. Users can sign up for studies, take tests, describe symptoms — and begin sending their data to researchers.
— The first five apps — for Parkinson's, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and breast cancer — are available Monday in the App Store. Apple says it won't see any personal health information.
HBO ON THE GO
— Apple will be the exclusive partner of HBO's upcoming stand-alone subscription service, HBO Now. There will be a new HBO Now channel on Apple TV. It will be possible to get it on iPhones and iPads, too. No cable or satellite subscription necessary.
— Cost: $14.99 a month. Available in early April — just in time for the season premiere of "Game of Thrones."
— And speaking of Apple TV, the price dropped by $30 to $69.
— Since its October launch, participating banks have grown from six to 2,500. You can now pay with your iPhone at nearly 700,000 locations nationwide, including more than 40,000 Coca-Cola vending machines.