SAN FRANCISCO – 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 five things you need to know.
— Apple calls it “the most personal Apple device ever.” And potentially the most expensive.
— Starts at $449 with Apple Watch Sport, aimed at fitness enthusiasts, in anodized aluminum in silver or space grey, with colorful band choices. Apple Watch stainless steel starts at $699, 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 $13,000.
— 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.
— Advance 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 colours: silver, “space grey” 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. Adapters will be available until more accessories have USB-C built-in.
— 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 $1,549 with 256 gigabytes of storage. A faster processor and double the storage can be had for $1,899.
— 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 long Apple hinted that the Apple Watch and iPhone could become vital research tools that help turn 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 for iPhones. Apple says it won’t see any personal health information.
— For now, participants must have an Apple device, but outside developers will be able to adapt ResearchKit to work with Android and Windows.
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.
— Available in early April — just in time for the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.” No minimum period required.
— Apple’s exclusivity period will be three months, after which HBO Now will start appearing on other devices. Even during that time, you can watch on non-Apple devices over a Web browser — but you need an Apple TV, iPhone or iOS to sign up.
— And speaking of Apple TV, the price dropped to $89.
— 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.
— You’ll be able to make payments from the Apple Watch — even if you leave your phone home.