After so many weeks of anticipation, Apple’s Spring Forward event has come and gone. We had a great time following the announcement live yesterday and wanted to share our top three takeaways from the event on the new MacBook, Apple Watch and ResearchKit.
1) The New MacBook: Simple, Beautiful, Innovative
Apple’s announcement of its new 12-inch MacBook (no ‘Air’ or ‘Pro’ attached) is the embodiment of the company’s “simple but elegant” mantra. At an incredible weight of 2 lbs. and just 13.1mm thick, the MacBook is the “thinnest and lightest” of the MacBook line. Its gold, silver and space gray metallic tones now match with those of the iPhone and iPad, bringing the Apple family full circle. The new MacBook is brimming with innovation, from the keyboard’s new “butterfly mechanism” and Force Click trackpad to the completely redesigned logic board and promise of “all day battery life” with the redesigned terraced contoured batteries.
Apple also drastically simplified its new MacBook by including just one port – the USB-C – which our Director of Product Marketing Spencer Pangborn called “the future of connectivity.” The new USB-C port is really five ports in one, combining power, data, DisplayPort, VGA and HDMI. This, in addition to the Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac capabilities, will make the new MacBook one of the most portable and cable-free laptops on the market.
2) Apple Watch: Must-Have Accessory or “Just a Gadget”?
As anticipated, the Apple Watch was the focal point of Apple’s “Spring Forward” announcement, with emphasis on design, customization and quality.
We discussed how the Apple Watch was framed as more of a fashion accessory than just another tech device in a previous post. Judging from the media, it seems that people are torn as to whether the Apple Watch is a “must-have” or just another tech gadget. The Los Angeles Times stated that “the Watch might wind up being the breakthrough fashion-tech accessory that the nascent wearables industry has been waiting for.” However, Reuters reports that “members of the style establishment, in Paris for shows from the glittering likes of Chanel, Givenchy and Hermes mostly said they saw the watch as a gadget, not this season’s must-have accessory.”
So which will it be? Will you be investing in an Apple Watch when it launches in late April?
3) ResearchKit: Open-Sourced Innovation for the Greater Good
If there’s one thing large technology companies have in spades, it’s data – endless amounts of data. Apple’s ResearchKit takes the data we are delivering to our mobile devices on a daily basis and and applies it to support some of the biggest medical research needs in our world.
Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, noted in his speech that the medical research community faces some fundamental problems: small sample sizes, infrequent data collection and subjective reporting. By tapping into the immense iPhone user database, most of whom will have their phones by their side constantly, Apple seeks to destroy the most common barriers to developing solutions to diseases such as Parkinson’s, breast cancer and diabetes.
There were two big highlights that stuck out to us: ResearchKit will be open source, allowing anyone to contribute to a solution; and Apple has declared that any information you provide ResearchKit will stay private – they will not have access to your data. Given the sensitivities around personal medical data, this will be an important element to stress as ResearchKit takes off.
What did you think of the Spring Forward announcement? What are you most excited about? Let us know!
Catch the highlights of the announcement by reading through our live tweets, captured below courtesy of Storify.