Apple’s Spring Forward Event Big Topic Recap

In case you missed it, Apple held an event on Monday to make some announcements about the new products it will be soon releasing. So naturally, we fired up our Apple TV and connected it to the big screen in the library to broadcast to anyone interested. We had a bit of fun live-tweeting portions of the event on Twitter.

This one happened a little later, too:

Image courtesy of Tech Radar

Image courtesy of Tech Radar

Seriously though, the Apple representatives had a few interesting things to talk about and unveil during this event, including the long-awaited Apple Watch, which we previewed back in September.  Apple’s first smartwatch will come in three different models, the Watch, the Sport, and the Edition. These styles also dictate the price of the watch; the Sport starts at $349, the Watch at $549, and the Edition at $10,000. The watch will connect with your iPhone (specifically iPhone 5 and above), and you can download apps for it via the Apple Watch Store; a new iOS, 8.2 has just been released in preparation. It boasts an 18-hour battery life time and will connect via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It can play music, act as a fitness tracker with heart-rate measurements, receive messages and communications, and make payments via Apple Pay, amongst other features that make use of its connection to your phone. And, of course, being a watch, it can tell time for you. The watch releases on April 24; pre-orders begin on April 10. CNET.com has an excellent and in-depth review of the device and all it has to offer on it’s website, so be sure to read all about it.

Image courtesy of Engadget

Image courtesy of Engadget

One of our fun tweets referenced the fact that Apple is also releasing a new MacBook, and it’s even thinner than the MacBook Air. Weighing in at just 2 pounds, it features a 12-inch screen with Retina display and a ultra thin keyboard which runs the width of the entire machine. New “Force Touch” (cue the Star Wars jokes) technology allows the trackpad of the device to be pressure sensitive instead of clickable. Apple has also removed the fan which is typical in laptops to keep them cool, and done away with all ports except the headphone jack and a dual charging/USB connectivity port. New colors are available as well that you’ll recognize if you have an iPhone 5 or above – silver, space gray and gold. The laptop will start at $1,299. Here’s what Engadget has to say about the device.

We were also really interested in the possibilities of using Apple’s new open-source software platform, called ResearchKit. In essence, it’s meant to allow medical researchers to create diagnostic iPhone apps. People downloading the apps for use can essentially become a part of studies and tests without ever having to set foot into a laboratory. This of course means that a lot of potentially highly sensitive information will be transmitted through these apps, which could get complicated in terms of ethics and privacy, but Apple has insisted that only the researchers will have access to the information, not Apple. 5 apps are already available in the App Store that have been developed using the ResearchKit, and you can read all about their features here.

Oh yes, and if you’re an HBO fan and happen to have or want an Apple TV (the price has been lowered to $69 from $99), you can watch all your favorite HBO shows using HBO Now, a cable subscription-free version of HBO that will stream videos to your device for $14.99 a month. Just in time for Game of Thrones season 5.

Wouldn’t it be great to get some of these things in our Library Technology Lab to try out? We’ll be sure to keep you posted if any of that is on the horizon.

 

 

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