The Big News From Apple’s Event Today: TV, MacBook And Watches Aplenty
Apple Watch surprises with 18 hour battery life, pre-orders start April 10.
All over Techmeme are dozens of articles detailing Apple’s product announcements today. While there were many little announcements, the big news falls into three buckets: Apple TV, new MacBook and Apple Watch.
Numbers and Momentum
First the “momentum” numbers shared by Apple CEO Tim Cook:
- Apple has sold 700 million iPhones
- The company said it had sold more than 25 million Apple TVs
- 99 percent customer satisfaction scores for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
- Apple Pay is supported by 2,500 banks and 700,000 retail locations
- All major car makers are supporting CarPlay (40 models). It’s not clear that Toyota is however
- 900 apps are integrated with Apple’s HealthKit
Apple TV Gets Some Love
The company dropped Apple TV’s price from $99 to $69 and announced that HBO’s new stand-alone streaming service HBO Now ($14.99 per month) would launch initially exclusively on Apple TV. These two “incentives” should generate some quick Apple TV sales.
Apple then spent a fair amount of time announcing and discussing ResearchKit, an opt-in app platform whereby medical researchers can create apps and iPhone users can send their data to researchers and doctors for study and feedback. Privacy is strictly protected.
New Thin, Retina MacBook
As expected Apple introduced a 12-inch retina display MacBook, which is actually thinner and lighter than a MacBook Air. However it’s not called a MacBook Air. The new laptop will sell between $1,299 and $1,599 and has a range of new features, including newly designed keyboards and trackpad with “force click,” which is a substitute for a right click.
Existing MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models were updated with faster processors and other upgrades.
Apple’s Watch Flavors
The finale was an extended discussion and demonstration of the Apple Watch in all its various forms and flavors. There are three lines: Watch Sport ($349 and up), Watch ($549) and Watch Edition ($10K and up). Perhaps the biggest surprise was the claimed 18 hours of battery life. Many observers had expected less.
Most of what was shown today had been demonstrated or discussed previously. But the company showed a device that had a wide range of use cases (phone calls, health tracking, payments) and customization options. The different personalization options and varying price points will help differentiate Apple’s watch from the growing horde of Android Wear devices.
At every step of the way Apple took pains to underscore the quality and precision of the device. Pre-orders will begin on April 10. It launches with a wide range of built-in and third party apps. Google’s search app appears to be absent at launch.
Apple Watch Will Sell — Only Question Is: How Many?
Regardless of consumer surveys showing lackluster interest or prior ambivalence about wearables, it’s fairly clear the Apple Watch will sell well. It will appeal to early adopters and fashionistas equally.
The question is how many it will sell on its “opening” weekend. Financial analysts will likely seek to out-do one another with their bullish predictions, which will create extremely high expectations for Apple.
Regardless of how how many devices Apple actually sells at launch it’s clear that we now have a real wearables market. That holds significant implications for brands and marketers accordingly. We’ll be exploring those implications more fully in later posts.