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N3: Nightly News Narration - Apple Watch and Spring Forward Event

Apple had their “Spring it Forward” event earlier today and we were on hand to get all the details and information about the upcoming release of the Apple Watch and the other news. First up, Apple talked about the AppleTV and the release of HBO Now for the Apple platform.

HBO Now coming to Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad exclusively at launch in early April for $14.99 a month. While a specific date was not given, it will be in time for the April launch of Game of Thrones. The question that still remains is the pricing. Is $14.99 a good value for HBO content? We will soon see what the consumers say next month.

Next up, the AppleTV was $99 before today. It was getting debateable if that price point was still viable with many other streaming devices available for less.  Today, Apple announced they were knocking the price down to $69.99. While it is much less expensive, you can find better deals out there on streaming platforms like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, etc.

To date, Apple has sold over 700 Million units of the iPhone. That is quite a large number for a device that many people felt was initially expensive and didn’t offer much functionality.  

In news that probably doesn’t really matter to most, ApplePay is soon coming to Coke machines.  This means no more unwrinkling dollar bills to try and buy a drink. Coke plans to have 100,000 of these ApplePay machines available in the US by later this year.  While most won’t find this particularly useful, I am thrilled to see all the avenues where ApplePay will pop up next.

The next bit of news Apple unveiled was rumored but not expected at the event today. Apple announced the next iteration of MacBook platform. They say that they reinvented all the technology inside it to be able to make a notebook that weighs 2 pounds and 24% thinner than the MacBook Air. They created a 40% thinner keyboard mechanism called the butterfly mechanism. (This is versus the older scissor mechanism for keyboard keys.) This is also the first fanless MacBook ever made.

For $1299, users will get a 256 SSD, 8 GB of RAM, 1.1 GHz Core M Intel Processor, 10 hours of battery life, and a retina 12” Display--the thinnest display they have ever made. For $1599, you will get a faster, 1.2 GHz Core M Intel Processor and a 512 GB SSD plus all the other features above. These devices will begin shipping in Silver, Grey, and Gold on April 10.

It only took them around 50 minutes to get there but Apple finally made it to the Apple Watch portion of the keynote. Like the original iPhone was sold as a phone, a camera, and an Internet Communications Device, the Apple Watch is being sold to us as a Great Timepiece, a Revolutionary Communication Device, and a Comprehensive Fitness Device. 

Apple glossed over many details that they didn’t want to talk about like the lack of water resistance, battery life, buying extra bands to swap out, and availability in other countries not at the April 21 release. The biggest of these is the battery life. Tim Cook promises “all day battery” and his translation of that is 18 hours. There has been plenty of talk about the Apple Watch only getting 5 hours of heavy use from people familiar with the product. How then does Apple come up with 18 hours? Is that continuous use? Light use?  Unless Apple found a way to magically create a better battery technology in a small device, I find this part of their announcement to be very misleading. 

The Apple Watch will display any notification from your iPhone and apps can customize the the experience even further. Apps install and are managed by an app found in iOS 8.2 on the iPhone. This update is available for users to download on their compatible iPhones starting today. Pricing from the iPhone is all over the place. The prices start at:

Apple Watch Sport

  • $349 for the 38mm
  • $399 for the 42mm

Apple Watch Steel

  • $549 for the 38mm
  • $599 for the 42mm

Apple Watch Edition

  • $10,000

The pricing goes up from there depending on the particular bracelet you choose to purchase. For example, the Apple Watch Steel can cost over a thousand dollars and the Apple Watch Edition goes ups to $17,000.

The Apple Watch will be available on April 10 for pre-order and preview in retail Apple Stores and will launch in select markets on April 24.

Ultimately, the Apple Watch is a product that may be a bit ahead of its time. I say this for the battery concerns. Because the screen can’t always be on, like the Pebble Watch, it isn’t as functional as a regular watch. I find that this may be a product category Apple can dominate in the future but for now, I don’t see people shelling out buckets of cash to purchase the Apple Watch. 

Personally, I am going with a Pebble Time Steel watch, because the battery lasts for 10 days and it does everything I currently want or need in a smart watch.  My budget is about $400 and for that, I can get two Pebble Time Steel watches or a single Apple Watch Sport with a plastic band.  I would never be happy with a plastic band so the lack of any communication about purchasing different bands makes the Apple Watch sadly a no go.  Of course, things could change once generation two makes it to retail...

This is Kaleb Rutherford and this is my Nightly News Narration.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 03/09/15

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