Apple Springs Forward With Watch, New MacBook

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The latest Apple event, dubbed "Spring Forward," is all about the company's various offerings, from iPhone app development and a new MacBook to the Apple TV and, of course, the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Spring ForwardThe keynote was opened by CEO Tim Cook with video from the latest Chinese flagship Store in West Lake, China, no doubt highlighting how important the Chinese market is to Apple.

Taking the spotlight, of course, is the Apple Watch-- "the most personal device we have ever created," as Cook puts it. Crafted in either stainless steel, anodised aluminium (Sport) or 18k gold (Edition), the watch allows users to quickly check iPhone notifications, track health data and live the Dick Tracy dream by answering calls right from their wrists. Neat!

One can also summon Siri directly from the Watch by either tapping the crown or simply saying "Hey Siri" into their wrist. Further Watch control comes through swipes and a combination of long or short presses, and Apple Pay comes as standard. As for battery life, Apple says the Watch lasts for 18 hours on a "typical" day, meaning it requires nightly charging.

The Watch is available from 24 April 2015, and before that date customers can try the device out at Apple Stores featuring special "custom table" displays.

Macbook NewIn actual product launches, Apple introduced a new MacBook-- "The most extreme and efficient notebook we have ever created" according to Cook. It is 13.1mm thin, 0.9kg heavy, and features 12-inch Retina (2304x1440) display, all-metal construction and a redesigned keyboard. Connectivity comes through 802.11ac wifi, Bluetooth and, as rumours suggested, USB Type-C replacing all other ports. Yes, all of them.

Another novelty addition is a pressure-sensitive "Force Touch" trackpad using the same gestures as the Watch, with different controls according to light clicks and deep presses.

Being first fanless MacBook (powered by an Intel Core M CPU) the new MacBook is more akin to a low-power Chromebook, if a premium number complete with a custom-designed battery promising up to 9 hours of web browsing on a single charge. Oh, and it's recyclable.

It ships from April 2015 together with upgraded versions of the MacBok Air and MacBook Pro featuring 5th gen Intel Core processors, Thunderbolt 2 connectors and Force Touch trackpads.

That company "hobby," the Apple TV, also gets some Spring Forward attention in the shape of HBO Now, an Apple TV-exclusive streaming service providing access to all HBO programming, past, present and future. Will European Game of Thrones fans (who got a new trailer for the latest season) be able to access it though? No idea.

Moving on the Apple's various "kits," work on HomeKit and HealthKit goes on as Apple introduces a new, open source one-- ResearchKit, designed for medical researchers wanting to "easily" create iPhone-powered apps for use in clinical studies and the diagnosis of conditions such as Parkinson's, diabetes and asthma. Oh, and Apple promises it won't even "see" the data generated by such studies.

Oh, and in obligatory big numbers, iPhone sales are up to 700 million (making it top-selling smartphone in the world according to Apple), Apple Pay is accepted at nearly 700000 locations and 2500 banks and Apple TV sales total 25m to date.

"This is what everyone in Apple is focused on-- pushing our products forward and creating a better future," Cook concludes. "We continue to innovate. We continue to push forward."

Go Apple