As a long-term Mac user & Apple fan I watched Apple's March 2015, "Spring Forward", Event this evening (18pm, GMT+1). Today's announcement included a price drop for the Apple TV, a new hyper-minimalist MacBook, ResearchKit & after months of speculation Apple has now also finally announced a launch date for it's newest toy, the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch
Some say the Apple Watch is one of Apple riskiest experiments of the last few years. And I think I might agree on that. It's something new, it's a new field for Apple, and I'm pretty sure we will see some interesting things happening in the world of wearables now that Apple has joined the game. Buckle up, Pebble, Fitbit, Samsung & co.
Apple has really tried blending fashion & tech together in this small piece of electronics. They have customizable bands, a small version, a big version, a sports edition, multiple different customizable bands and 3 different materials. Aluminum, steel or gold. Yes, gold! At a pricing range from $350 up to +$17.000. I don't think I have to tell you that the gold one is a bit pricey. The cheapest gold one however, already starts at $10.000!
However, the watch does not impress me, personally. Especially for the price it's selling at. Obviously I haven't used it or seen it live in action, here in Belgium, but it's just not convincing me like for example the launch of the iPhone 4 or iPad was back in the time. It looks a bit clumsy and heavy. The digital crown is ridiculous and the drawing flowers, sending it to eachother or showing your heartbeat on a friend's device just seems childish to me, a gimmick. A nice feature for 17 year old white girls (no offense to anyone reading).
That said, I still expect it to sell extremely well —or, at least, significantly better than the Pebble and Android smartwatches have so far.
The new MacBook. It doesn't look dramatically different, but, it's thinner! Surprise surprise. That's something Apple seems to be focussing on a lot on these days, making its devices thinner. It's nice and it looks great, but I think I'm not the only one when I say: put some more batteries in it and let it be 3mm bigger!
Aside from the fact that it's thinner, it also comes in 3 colors now and the Apple logo at the back of the lid is not light up anymore. It features a new well thought of keyboard, trackpad with force detection, new screen & all sorts of upgrades under the hood. The battery reportedly lasts up to 10h, which is very nice. It has only two physical ports: a new usb-c port on the left and a 3.5mm audio jack on the right. It's completely made out of metal and it has no longer any moving parts in it, which makes it the first laptop that's completely silent.
In my opinion, it's a very impressive laptop and it might be a good fit for a lot of people, but it's not made for power users, like me, that are used to a MacBook Pro. What if I need to plug in an external keyboard, charge it, external display, usb stick, ethernet cable,.. Buy one big adaptor? I don't think so. It's just not made for power users. Another sad thing is that the MagSafe charging port was ditched in this model. A feature millions of people still love about the MacBook.
Sure thing is that Apple is now challeging other manufacturers to get started with the new usb-c port as well. But ultimately I think it's a perfect laptop for students, writers & travellers. And with its super slick & thin design and a weight of only 2 pounds, I'm wondering if the MacBook Air isn't becoming obsolete.
The MacBook was the most interesting announcement today for me. I expected more when they started about Apple TV and ResearchKit was pleasant surprise. As for the watch, not much new since the announcement last year. Prices are high, the battery doesn't last a whole day and we will have to wait another month to get our hands on the damn thing.
In the end, Apple just reminded us what it is all about at the very beginning: the iPhone. It announced with a lot of pride that it has sold more than 700 million iPhones since the first one in 2007. That's where the majority of the company's revenues and profits come from. The MacBook isn't that interesting financially, and the watch will have to work very hard to generate a notable amount of revenue, even with prices up to 10K and higher.
Doesn't need telling that my initial thoughts can change over time or I can change my mind after testing the products out of course!
Will the Apple Watch surprise critics or be the company's biggest flop to date?
Time will tell.