Earlier today, Apple held their first special media event of the year titled “Spring Forward” at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Fransisco. They announced updates with Apple TV, iPhone and Apple Pay. In a previous post, we went into the specifics about these and in this post, we look at the all-new MacBook. Although we typically don’t focus on the Mac on the blog, this new laptop was too cool to pass up.
The Mac lineup has been hugely successful and has outgrown the industry for the last decade. While the computer industry has been on a decline, the Mac has been rising at a steady pace. Today Apple announced an all-new MacBook and updates to their MacBook Air and 13″ MacBook Pro.
The new MacBook is the first generation its kind and is completely different than the previous plastic MacBooks. This all metal laptop is like a thinner and better version of the MacBook Air with a slightly higher price point. It has a 12″ Retina display, weighs 2 pounds, is 13.1mm at its thickest point (24% thinner than the 11″ MacBook Air) and comes with a completely reinvented keyboard and Force Touch trackpad. The logic board is 67% smaller, fanless and there is 35% more battery capacity for all-day battery life. The MacBook comes in space gray, gold and silver, starts at $1299 and begins shipping on Friday, April 10th.
The MacBook Air was updated with faster processors and flash, Thunderbolt 2 support and it starts shipping today. The 13″ MacBook Pro was also updated with faster processors and flash, an hour extra of battery life, the new Force Touch trackpad and it begins shipping today.
The first special media event of the year, which starts at 10am Pacific time on March 9th, will most certainly be focused on the Apple Watch. Rumors have also suggested we may see a 12-inch MacBook Air, 4th generation Apple TV, iPad Pro, iOS 8.2 and more. Here we go through all the rumored products and tell you how likely/not likely they will be at the event.
The Apple Watch, without a doubt, will be the focus of the event. The event occurs after Daylight Savings Time in the United States where our clocks “spring forward”, Tim Cook said the Apple Watch would be shipping in April and tons of reports have come out this past week about the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch has three main collections: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. The Sport model will start at $349, the mid-level watch should be about $499 and the Edition should start at $4,999. Apple will also have various bands and other accessories for sale too. We predict the official launch of the Apple Watch should be within the first full week of April (perhaps on Friday, April 10).
A report on 9to5Mac recently detailed a few more unannounced features for the Apple Watch: Power Save mode, full Notification Center, Voice Control (not Siri) and a battery that lasts all day with up to five hours of heavy usage.
We expect Apple to spend the first first minutes of the event talking about updates, showing off a few new products and definitely mentioning the huge success that Apple Pay has been. They will then spend a good amount of time answering many of our questions about the Apple Watch including battery life, features, how it will work with the iPhone, etc. and then spend the second half of the event with developers demoing their apps. After the event, Apple will likely invite media into the special white building to test everything out.
The next major update to iOS 8 is expected to be shown off at Monday’s event and released immediately following it. We talked about Apple’s release notes recently for the final beta sent to carriers and employees, but we believe that there are a few features that have been left out. The update also will allow the iPhone to connect to Apple Watch, the iPhone 5/5s/5c to use Apple Pay (with Apple Watch) and it will come with two new apps. One app, called Companion, will manage settings on the Apple Watch, while the other one, called Fitness, will provide an overview of fitness activities with the watch.
We primarily focus on iOS devices on this blog, but several other blogs have been persistent with rumors about an updated MacBook Air lineup. Whether Apple will reveal the 12-inch MacBook Air or just refreshed MacBook Airs, we are not sure, but we expect that the MacBook Air will make some sort of presence at the event.
iPad mini 4
The 4th generation iPad mini was predicted back in late November to have an early 2015 release. It was believed that Apple purposefully made the iPad mini 3 underwhelming in order to differentiate it from the iPad Air 2. The larger tablet saw many external and internal updates, while the mini only saw new colors, higher storage capacities and Touch ID. SVP Phil Schiller literally spent thirty seconds about the iPad at the event and then moved on to the next topic. The iPad mini 4 will get the A8 processor, faster Wi-Fi and all the updates it should have received in October 2014.
The 4th generation Apple TV is rumored to have a complete redesign in terms of hardware and software. The unit will become slimmer and the remote will be more tactile and capable. Recent reports have suggested a fall release for this new device so we do not expect it at Monday’s event.
According to Bloomberg and Digitimes, production for the iPad Pro has been pushed back to September due to supply issues with the display panel. This means that the iPad Pro will definitely not be at Monday’s event and more likely come out in the Fall.
The fifth generation iPod touch was rumored to come out early this year. There has been little to no evidence suggesting that Apple will launch this device at the event on Monday. Sometime this year we will probably see an update in the iPod lineup, but we don’t expect to see it this month.
Come back here Monday night to see an in-depth report of what Apple announced.
Please note that, with the exception of the Apple Watch picture (credit: Apple.com) and the iOS 8.2 picture (credit: iPhonehack.com), all pictures are concepts provided by Martin Hajek.