Apple Spring Forward roundup: HBO Now, MacBook and Apple Watch

Apple’s Spring event has come and gone once again, but the Apple Watch was not the only announcement making headway, with the company also announcing a brand new 12-inch MacBook with a super-thin design.

Here is a roundup of the key talking points that came out of the event.

HBO Now

The event started with the announcement HBO Now would be available exclusively on Apple devices, including the Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. It will be coming a week before the premiere of Game of Thrones: Season 5 on April 12, for $14.99 (£9.91) per month.

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CEO of HBO Richard Plepler did not disclose what countries HBO Now would be available in, meaning it might be US only for the first few months.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook followed up with a few numbers, including: 700 million iPhone sold, Apple Pay being supported by 2500 banks and 700,000 retailers, 40 new models of car supporting CarPlay and the Apple TV’s new price point of $69.99 (£46.28).

ResearchKit

After launching the Health app in October, Apple is now launching a new software framework called ResearchKit, essentially making every iPhone a bastion for medical research by taking anonymous health information from the Health app.

Five new apps are available allowing users to help even more with research, covering some of the most prevalent diseases: Parkinson’s, breast cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma. These all feature routines and tasks to give researchers a broader spectrum of information, which could advance healthcare by a huge amount in the coming years.

Significantly, all the data will be private and Apple will not be able to see any of your health data.

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New MacBook

The first product announcement came late in the event, the new 12-inch MacBook. This is a new category, cheaper than the MacBook Pro, but more expensive than the MacBook Air.

It fits a new demographic of notebook users that do not care for ports and wires, but want the thinnest and lightest experience possible. The 12-inch MacBook is 13.1mm thin - a 24 per cent decrease - and only 2 pounds light.

Internally, it features an Intel Core M processor clocked at 1.3GHz or overclocked to 2.9GHz, alongside 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and 9 hours of battery life.

Apple has cut down the logic board size by 67 per cent, removing the fan and most of the ports. There will be one solitary USB-C port, supporting charging, USB, display, VGA and most other connectors. Apple has made an “innovation” in battery technology, allowing it to create more battery space in the 12-inch MacBook by layering the batteries.

The 12-inch MacBook will feature a Taptic Engine on the trackpad, alongside a new backlit keyboard. It will feature a 2304 x 1440 retina display, with an edge-to-edge display.

Apple is starting the 12-inch MacBook at $1299 (£858.90) and will offer higher configurations for $1599 (£1057.26).

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch was the last product announcement, and Apple once again went over the features. It is definitely targeted towards the fitness community, with a virtual trainer who will set goals and tell you to get up and move around.

Apple showed off a whole host of new apps, including WeChat, Instagram, Uber, Shazam and Alarm.com. The last app allows users to open garage doors and get live feeds from cameras set up around the house, part of Apple’s SmartKit API.

The Apple Watch will feature 18-hour battery life and Apple has a new magnetic charger. Cook did not confirm if it was waterproof, we will leave that to the “torture testers” to find out.

hearbeat

iOS 8.1.2 will feature an Apple Watch app and Insights, to set-up the new smartwatch. It will be available to pre-order on 10 April and available to buy on 24 April.

The Apple Watch Sport is available from $349, the Apple Watch from $549 and the Apple Watch Edition from an eye-watering $10,000 with limited quantities. The two cheaper options will have a 42mm model for $50 extra.