What to expect at Apple's 'Spring Forward' event on Monday

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited March 2015
Apple's executive team is set to take the stage next week for the first time this year, with the spotlight shining squarely on the hotly-anticipated Apple Watch. AppleInsider takes a look at what we're likely to hear from Tim Cook & Co. on Monday.




Guaranteed: Apple Watch pricing, battery life, and availability

Naming the event "Spring Forward" and scheduling it just after the start of Daylight Saving Time were fairly good indicators that Apple planned to talk about the Watch, and CEO Tim Cook later removed any doubt that the bash would focus on the Apple's new wearable. The company left a number of questions unanswered following the Watch's unveiling, and Apple will want to put them to rest with the April launch fast approaching.

Pricing is by far the biggest remaining concern. We know the Watch will start at $349, and we believe that number applies to the aluminum Sport model, but there's still no indication of how Apple will price the secondary color options, extra bands, or the more premium stainless steel and luxe 18-karat gold versions.

If pricing is the most talked-about issue, the Watch's battery life is next. Apple has said that it will last "all day" and charge faster than an iPhone, but that still leaves wide latitude for interpretation that the company needs to address.

Apple has said that it plans to start shipping next month, but there's no word yet on where the Apple Watch will be available at launch. The U.S. is a sure bet, and following the parade of fashion magazine advertisements -- the U.K., France, China, and Hong Kong -- likely gives us most of the picture, but Apple will fill in the rest during the presentation.

Probably: Apple Retail revamp

Part of the Watch's rollout will include some kind of redesigned Apple Store experience, as the current setup isn't conducive to more fashion-focused sales processes, like personal fittings. Cook has confirmed that a revamp -- thought to be co-led by design czar Jony Ive and retail chief Angela Ahrendts -- is in the offing.

Rumors of what that might entail have pointed to boutique-style accoutrements like carpet-padded glass-walled private showrooms for the Edition edition, though the lower-end versions are likely to be sold in a more rustic manner. We do know that Jony Ive's design team has been working on special display tables, and we may see the final versions of those in the hands-on area following the event.

Apple Watch Sport


Possibly: Updated MacBooks with Broadwell chips

Intel has finally begun shipping processors built on the long-delayed Broadwell architecture, which bring enhanced performance -- especially in the graphics arena -- alongside notable reductions in power requirements. Apple could be ready to give its portable Macs a speed bump, seven months after their last refresh.

A set of questionable screenshots posted to a Chinese web forum earlier this week suggest that Apple may be prepping just such a bump for the MacBook Air. The updated base model would bring a Broadwell Core i5, 4 gigabytes of RAM, and Intel's HD Graphics 6000.

Outside Chance: New Apple TV

The third-generation Apple TV is getting long in the tooth, with a refresh constantly "just around the corner." Apple doesn't seem content to launch new hardware without a compelling software upgrade to go along with it, however, and appears to be waiting for a suitable arrangement with content owners that would see it bring out a new on-demand streaming video service.

Apple has reportedly resurrected such talks yet again, though discussions are still thought to be in their nascent stages. The company is also believed to be in negotiations with HBO to launch its new cable-free streaming channel on the Apple TV, with a rollout expected before the new season of Game of Thrones bows in April.

Even if Apple wanted to announce a new Apple TV next week, it's highly unlikely that they would, for the same reason that the next two products almost certainly won't see the light of day: this event is about the Apple Watch, a watershed product, and Apple wants it to have the spotlight to itself. Launching another high-profile project at the same time would just be bad business.

Doubtful: Retina MacBook Air

Users have been begging for a Retina display-equipped ultraportable essentially since the first Retina MacBook Pro was released, and Apple has yet to deliver. That seems unlikely to change next week.

In addition to being reticent to overshadow the Watch, we simply haven't seen any leaks to suggest that the new device is imminent; even the top-secret Watch fell victim to the realities of the global supply chain in the days before its unveiling. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal -- traditionally Apple's outlet of choice for leaking stories to manipulate expectations -- chimed in with a report suggesting that the new laptop won't launch until the second quarter.

iPad Air
The iPad Air is currently Apple's largest tablet, with a 9.7-inch display.


Maybe Next Time: iPad Pro

The same arguments made against the Retina MacBook Air apply to the mythical jumbo iPad: it would detract from the Watch, and the supply chain has barely coughed up an iPad Pro-related hairball. Even relatively well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes the Retina Air will ship before April, doesn't see the iPad Pro hitting shelves until at least mid-2015.

Echoing the Journal's debunking of the laptop launch, Bloomberg chimed in with a similar note about the iPad Pro. Production of the new device, the publication believes, will not begin until September thanks to poor display yields.

How to Watch

Apple will provide a live stream of the event, which kicks off Monday at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern, suitable for viewing on a recent Mac, iOS device, or Apple TV. AppleInsider will be on hand at the Yerba Buena Center and will bring live coverage from the venue.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 97
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,257member
    I consider Jim Dalrymple and even that kid, Mark Gurman better connected than Ming Chi Kuo.
  • Reply 2 of 97
    I would love to see Apple release the etch on 4/10 to kill any possible press that Samsung hopes to get for the Galaxy 6 plus, I mean Galaxy s6.

    I think the rumors that Apple is working hard to get a deal with HBO done could be a hint that a new Apple TV is ready
  • Reply 3 of 97

    Uh, there wasn't any Watch parts leaked before the reveal...

  • Reply 4 of 97
    oberpongooberpongo Posts: 134member
    Maybe the event will follow the 2007 iPhone unveiling: that started off with giving more details on the already announced Apple TV in the fall of 2006 and then following up with the big iPhone announcement nobody expected!!!
  • Reply 5 of 97
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    Is there a remote possibility of Apple doing a "One more thing...", and that one more thing being >1 day of battery life?
  • Reply 6 of 97
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by oberpongo View Post



    Maybe the event will follow the 2007 iPhone unveiling: that started off with giving more details on the already announced Apple TV in the fall of 2006 and then following up with the big iPhone announcement nobody expected!!!



    Almost everyone expected an iPhone reveal in 2007. ;)

  • Reply 7 of 97
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post



    Is there a remote possibility of Apple doing a "One more thing...", and that one more thing being >1 day of battery life?



    Only iPods offer more than one day of continuous use, out of all of Apple's devices. So why is it such a big deal that Watch will require nightly charging? If it's not too long to charge, top it off before you go to bed, then top it off while you get ready in the morning.

  • Reply 8 of 97
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 737editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    Uh, there wasn't any Watch parts leaked before the reveal...




    Schematics leaked before the announcement.

     

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/09/08/vague-schematics-details-hint-at-mic-speaker-rectangular-design-for-apples-iwatch

  • Reply 9 of 97
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    Uh, there wasn't any Watch parts leaked before the reveal...


     

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/09/08/vague-schematics-details-hint-at-mic-speaker-rectangular-design-for-apples-iwatch

  • Reply 10 of 97
    Is there a remote possibility of Apple doing a "One more thing...", and that one more thing being >1 day of battery life?
    Most likely not, battery life is most likely something in first 1/3rd of keynote, they may mention a toggle for battery save mode later, most likely won't still.
  • Reply 11 of 97
    Quote:




    Schematics aren't parts, though. That may seem like semantics, but I consider a fuzzy screenshot of a computer image different than say, a display panel or casing.

  • Reply 12 of 97
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,546member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Only iPods offer more than one day of continuous use, out of all of Apple's devices. So why is it such a big deal that Watch will require nightly charging? If it's not too long to charge, top it off before you go to bed, then top it off while you get ready in the morning.




    Unless the thing is measuring your sleep... errr... patterns? Not sure how sleep is measured but I am sure it requires wearing the thing. Charge time is more important than battery life imo. If 30 mins will see you through the night its not too problematic. 30 secs or less for 24 hrs is the ultimate target.

  • Reply 13 of 97
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     



    Unless the thing is measuring your sleep... errr... patterns? Not sure how sleep is measured but I am sure it requires wearing the thing. Charge time is more important than battery life imo. If 30 mins will see you through the night its not too problematic. 30 secs or less for 24 hrs is the ultimate target.




    It does, that's why I said top it off before you go to bed.

     

    I would expect sleep tracking to be fairly low power since the biggest battery drain, the screen, will be asleep the whole time. So even if you can only get, say, 30% charge level in that quick top-off, you would be okay.

  • Reply 14 of 97
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 655member
    Apple better hurry with a Retina MBA. I sold my MBA last year and shouldn't have - that act proved to me that I need something akin to a "conventional laptop" as opposed to an iPad that I've been using in place of the MBA. I am ready to purchase RIGHT NOW, but don't want to sink $1K into a current MBA if a Retina version may appear soon.
  • Reply 15 of 97
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,000member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post



    Is there a remote possibility of Apple doing a "One more thing...", and that one more thing being >1 day of battery life?



    Battery technology and the lack thereof is the Achilles Heel of all mobile tech. With current technology you can get only so small before the battery life becomes a major issue and I believe we have reached that impasse with wearable tech. So you can demand all the battery life you want but the technology isn’t available yet to fulfill those demands. 

  • Reply 16 of 97
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I hope we get a couple surprises beyond just showing off apps. I hope Apple saved something for this event. I'd really love it if Angela Ahrendts was on stage talking about retail plans for the Watch.
  • Reply 17 of 97
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,997member

    Tim will come on stage wearing an Apple Watch. He will give an update on the retail stores, and probably right out of the box briefly explain the stores reconfiguration for Apple Watch sales. I think there is a good chance he will hand the stage over to Angie for that. It will be her first event appearance.

     

    There may be a brief update on Apple Pay because it relates to the Watch.

     

    The watch tech features will go next. What it will do, and some app demos. Jony will likely appear at least by video. They will announce the iOS8.2 release; and discuss when 8.3 will drop.

     

    Once it is fully described so its value evident, then they will show how many iPhones it will work with. (iP5+) Then there will be some discussion of the bands and styling.

     

    Then, and only then, and the end of all the info will a price list appear. Almost with one breath they'll reveal when it can be ordered and delivered. I think there will be a "pre-order" online, and a shipping start date. An in stores date will be announced.

     

    They did say "starting at $349." I would not be surprised if, having given this a full 6 months consideration, they announce a slightly lower price. Probably not, but I can see Tim wanting to have a bombshell. I can also see Tim saying the 42mm and 38mm sizes carry same pricing...but likely not for the Edition models. But for the sport version - sure.

     

    I doubt any other products will be discussed. This is likely (IMHO) an Apple Watch Only Event.

  • Reply 18 of 97
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 737editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Schematics aren't parts, though. That may seem like semantics, but I consider a fuzzy screenshot of a computer image different than say, a display panel or casing.




    The story never mentions a parts leak, it just says leaks. Leaked schematics are still a leak.

  • Reply 19 of 97
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member

    What to expect? Almost certainly a watch most of us can't afford and wouldn't buy if we could. I can only hope that Apple has enough sense to offer those who do buy the high-end models free upgrades of the working interior for the next several years. Otherwise, all that style is going to be technologically out of date in a year or two. Even for the very rich, that may be a bit much.

     

    Of more interest is the possible release of a long-delayed update to the Apple TV. That I could afford, and that I might buy.

  • Reply 20 of 97
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    According to 9to5Mac Apple has improved the battery life to get 5 hours of heavy use. Also the power reserve mode can be used at any time, not just when the battery is low. A couple other tidbits;

    [quote]A designer familiar with the quality of mobile device screens who has used the Apple Watch says that the “screen is the best [smartwatch] screen I have ever seen,” noting that “it’s like vibrant digital paper, and does not look rendered,” with especially “great” black levels.[/quote]

    [quote]Sources have praised the Watch’s next-generation force-sensing touchscreen interface, saying that “the screen feels like a giant button than you just want to press in the manner needed for Force Touch.” A source added that the feature “feels natural” on the small screen.[/quote]

    [quote]Our sources say that the process of reading the heart rate was almost instant and the readings were “seemingly accurate.”[/quote]

    http://tinyurl.com/my7jvx6
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