More than anything, it felt like each announcement could have warranted its own media event. Also, CEO Tim Cook – in a break from tradition – wore a dark sweater over a light dress shirt instead of his signature dark dress shirt.
In case you missed yesterday’s Apple event, here’s a recap:
We learned a lot about the Apple Watch yesterday. The jury is still out on how useful it will be, but it certainly gets points for being “cool.”
In one demo, Apple’s Kevin Lynch demonstrated how the Apple Watch can be used as a hotel room key to bypass the hotel check-in counter. The built-in speaker and microphone make the Apple Watch a dream come true for Dick Tracy fans that remember his wristwatch radio.
I remain convinced that the true power of the Apple Watch will be realized in later versions, when the health tracking capabilities are improved. For example, blood glucose sensors would enhance the quality of life for millions of diabetics around the world.
With the Apple Watch Sport starting at $350, the Apple Watch starting at $549 and the Apple Watch Edition starting at $10,000, there seems to be something for everyone. This was a promising launch for the latest addition to Apple’s lineup of hardware.
Apple announced a big partnership with Time Warner’s (NYSE: TWX) HBO to bring HBO content to the Apple TV through a new streaming service called HBO Now. At $14.99 per month, the streaming service is a direct attack against Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), and I believe this move to be one of the most under-appreciated announcements of the day.
HBO Now will debut in April ahead of the new season of “Game of Thrones” and will, for now, only be available through Apple TV and iOS devices. Meanwhile, Apple TV will now be sold for $69 – down from $99.
ResearchKit is a new way for medical researchers to tap into the user base and capabilities of the iPhone. The concept is simple: Apple will allow medical researchers to develop apps that use the iPhone’s various sensors to aid in medical research. A video featuring medical researchers included quotes such as:
- “Methods for conducting medical research haven’t really changed in decades.”
- “We can now engage unprecedented numbers of people.”
- “It is going to change research for every condition that’s out there.”
Considering the rumors that Apple has been hiring medical device and other medical experts, ResearchKit doesn’t surprise me. Health is clearly an area of focus for the future of Apple, and this platform seems to be a very worthy application of Apple’s carefully polished technology.
According to Apple, Mac has outgrown the rest of the laptop industry in each of the last 10 years. Last year alone, MacBook sales grew by 20% while the industry shrank.
So obviously Apple would avoid trying to fix something that wasn’t broken, right?
Sure, Apple’s old MacBook is an award-winning laptop that is adored by consumers. But the new MacBooks announced today are incredible – and an incredible upgrade from the previous generation.
The new MacBook features what Apple calls the most advanced keyboard ever, plus a pressure-sensitive TrackPad for additional navigation features. What’s more, the new MacBook weighs just 2 pounds and is just 13.2 millimeters thick. It looks like a smaller, sleeker version of the popular MacBook Air.
Meanwhile, the new MacBook requires no fan because of its efficiency upgrades, making it completely silent.
At a reasonable and familiar starting price of $1,299, I expect this new MacBook to be wildly popular.
Apple Watch Event: The Bottom Line
I plan to dive further into the war that is brewing between Netflix and the new tag team of Apple and HBO. In the meantime, the dramatically new MacBook probably stole the show today. An opinion on Apple Watch will have to wait for its official launch, as it is unclear how it will be used and how well consumers will take to it.
In any case, the important takeaway from the Apple event is that Apple’s creative engine is alive and well.
DISCLOSURE: I personally own shares of Apple.