Apple Watch debuts for US $10,000 alongside a lighter-than-air MacBook

Apple hosted its Spring Forward event last night and it caused quite a hubbub, though maybe not for all the right reasons. Meant particularly to launch the company’s latest smart wearable, the Apple Watch, Tim Cook and crew hit most of the right notes, until later in the event. Here’s a brief review of what happened.

HBO NOW and the Apple TV
Apple launched a standalone video streaming streaming service in partnership with HBO, called HBO NOW. Don’t get your hopes up, the service is still unavailable in this neck of the world, but maybe time will overcome that problem (a LOT of time). The price for the Apple TV has also been slashed from US $99 to US $69, in an attempt to make the gadget more entry level, and get them into more homes.

Open source ResearchKit for app developers

Apple has announced what is a rarity for their company; something open source. Titled ResearchKit, it’s a set of tools that allows developers to turn iPhones into diagnostic tools for various health tests like diabetes, asthma, parkinson’s etc and compare results with others who have opted into the service. While this announcement wasn’t the highlight of the show, it could really help jumpstart an area where consumer technology has been lagging behind; home fitness tests that aren’t meant for only daily runners or weight trainers. Say, for instance, your dad is old and seems to be a little twitchier than usual. Download an app on your iPhone, do a tap test and BAM, you’ve just done a test for Parkinson’s. For some medical conditions, it’s this kind of convenient testing that can help early detection and save lives. The ResearchKit will be rolled out next month.

The new MacBook……MacBook
There’s a new Macbook in town, and that’s exactly what it’s being called. Apple has taken the Macbook Air, somehow slimmed it down even further and dropped the second half of its name. Weighing in at a positively ethereal 2 pounds, the device is 13.1mm thin and is built to show that off in every possible way. The 12” 2304x1400p screen uses Retina display, for energy saving, and the device also has extra batteries piled on, giving you longer usage than the MacBook Air. The innards are encased in all-metal casing, in space gray, silver or a subtle gold, and even the keyboard has been redefined.

The keys are backlit and use a new “butterfly” mechanism to keep presses responsive and accurate while still keeping the entire form skinny. The keyboard stretches from side edge to side edge, with a huge, button-less trackpad below. It’s powered by an Intel Core M, 5th Gen, 14nm processor, with 8GB RAM. The 1.1GHz core with 256 SSD will retail at US $1,299, while the 1.2GHz dual core version with 512 SSD will sell for US $1,599. Shipping will begin April 10

Apple Watch; guaranteed to make you file for bankruptcy

So we’re finally getting our hands on the Apple Watch! Actually, only Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, UK, and the US are getting the watch soon. The rest of us will have to wait. But in the meantime, while the watch does seem to be pretty handy, it’s got nothing to hold over other smartwatches in the market. Available in three styles and various colours, think of the Apple Watch as the Moto360’s rich, arrogant cousin. It’s high maintenance, flashy, but doesn’t do a whole lot more. You can use it to receive incoming calls via speakerphone, check notifications, talk to Siri, dictate actions, and use Apple Pay. The one unique feature it does have is direct communication with other Apple watches. That includes something called Digital Touch. You tap your watch face, and it buzzes your friend and oh my lord, if that isn’t the most annoying feature to put into the hands of someone so deeply invested in their smartphone then I don’t know what is. I mean, I thought we were done trying to make the Facebook Poke a thing.

The Anodised Aluminium Apple Watch Sport comes in Silver or Space Gray with high performance plastic straps. The 32mm version will sell at US $349 and US $399 for the 42mm version. The stainless steel Apple Watch series will vary in price from US $549 to US $1049 for the 32mm, and US $599 to US $1099 for the 42mm, depending on the type of band you choose. And the big whopper. The ultra deluxe solid gold Apple Edition version will retail at US $10,000! Coincidentally, it was precisely at this point in the event that Apple’s stock, which had been pretty well for the last one hour, dropped like a stone. I wonder why. Preorders for the Apple Watch start April 10, and will be available in Apple stores April 24.