Apple's 'Spring Forward' Apple Watch launch event today, as it happened. Apple Watch live blog. Apple Watch release date, price, pictures, new features. PLUS: new features of the Apple Watch. (See all Smartwatch reviews.)
Apple Watch launch event live blog: as it happened
Apple Watch UK release date, price, details
Today Apple confirmed that you'll be able to pre-order or try the Apple Watch in an Apple Store from 10 April, and it will go on sale on 24 April. At first it will be available in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan, with more countries to follow.
The Apple Watch starts at $349 (Sport edition, 38mm; $399 for 42mm) in the US. The Apple Watch Collection starts from $549 and goes up to $1049 in 38mm, while 42mm once again adds $50 to the price. The Apple Watch Edition, crafted from 18k gold, will be available in limited supply, and will cost from $10,000!
UK prices are Sport £299/£339, Watch from £479 to £949, and Watch Edition from £8,000.
Don't forget, though, that you'll also need to own an iPhone in order to use the Apple Watch, so you're looking at an additional £319 (for the iPhone 5C) or more unless you already own an iPhone. The Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
For more on the Apple Watch, see: Apple Watch UK release date, UK price and specs: Pre-order 10 April.
New MacBook release date price and specs
Apple also announced a new MacBook, which will go on sale in April. It has just two connectors, but they do multiple duty. Based on the new USB C standard, each port can be used to connect power supply, HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA and USB devices.
Apple is emphasizing wireless connectivity enabled by 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4 rather than wired connections.
The MacBook is 13.1 millimeters at its thickest point, 24 percent thinner than the MacBook Air. There's a new keyboard that's a third thinner, a new touchpad and at the heart of the machine, the main circuit board has been cut in size by two thirds. A large part of that reduction came when Apple removed the fan that's used in other laptops to keep the processor cool.
The new MacBook doesn't have a fan, which means the computer runs silently. Apple has crammed in several batteries. It's using an innovative layering technology to squeeze cells into areas that were too thin in the past, giving the machine enough life for 9 hours of web browsing or 10 hours of iTunes movie playback, according to the company.
It weighs 900 grams and is available in gold, silver and grey.
The new MacBook has a 12-inch screen with 2,304 by 1,440 pixel resolution, that's a 16:10 aspect ratio. The base model comes with a 1.1GHz Intel Core M processor, 8GB of memory, 256GB of storage space and will cost $1,299. A model with a faster 1.2GHz processor and double the storage space will cost $1,599. Both will go on sale on April 10.
For more on the new MacBook, see: New 12-inch MacBook release date, price and specs.
What we expected from the Apple Watch launch
Here's what we thought would happen. Look at how wrong we were!
Apple's March 9 Apple Watch event has the tagline 'Spring Forward'. It is a marketing event for analysts and media, and will take place in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
We already know a lot about the Apple Watch, of course. It's been one of the most trailed products in Apple's history. Catch yourself up here: Apple Watch release date, price and specs.
We expect to find out the exact release dates for the Apple Watch, initially in the US and then to be rolled out to the UK. We should also find out the final pricing structure for the various different models on offer: because watches are such personal tech, and are as much about fashion as they are technology, Apple is striving to make the devices as customisable as possible. This means that the Apple Watch is a surprisingly complex product line for Apple over the past decade or so. Apple will untangle this and give us more clarity on the various products you can buy that make up your Apple Watch. For more detail, you can see: How to choose your Apple Watch: The complete buying guide.
Tim Cook has also suggested that we will find out about many apps that have been created for the Apple Watch. Cook recently boasted to employees in Germany that "a whole ton of announcements are coming shortly about all of the apps." Apple has a tradition of inviting third-party app makers on stage to demonstrate, so we can't wait to see what they've been cooking up with the WatchKit SDK. Read the full story, here: Tim Cook trails Apple Watch launch.
What to expect from Apple Watch launch: Apple Pay in the UK
Fingers crossed that we find out about a worldwide rollout of Apple Pay. For the uninitiated, Apple Pay is a mobile payment service designed to let you pay for things with your iPhone (or Apple Watch or iPad, in slightly different and more limited ways). Apple says it will "change the way you pay for things forever". But not yet in the UK, it won't.
Like Google Wallet and Samsung Pay, Apple Pay is available only in the US. But Apple Pay could be launching in the UK very soon indeed: it's been revealed that Apple is setting up a dedicated Apple Pay team in the UK, and we're hopeful that Apple will offer more details about the Apple Pay UK launch at its Apple Watch event on 9 March.
Apple Watch predicted sales
CCSInsight is touting 2015 as the make or break year for the smartwatch and it's no surprise mainly down to the fact the Apple Watch will go on sale this year.
For starters, the bean counting firm predicts that shipments will jump to 75 million which is a 158 percent increase on 2014. It says that the Apple will sell a total of 20 million Apple Watch units by the end of the year, meaning it will account for more than a quarter of the market this year.
That figure is 7 percent of consumers who own a compatible iPhone at the time of the product's launch. It also matches closely with how many original iPads Apple sold when it first came out.
The hype surrounding the Apple's first wearable will catapult it almost instantly to be the most successful smartwatch ever, according to CCS. The firm expects Apple to "employ its full marketing arsenal and the power of its brand to create another must-have status symbol."
What to expect from Apple Watch launch: iPad Pro / iPad Plus release
This is much less likely than an Apple Pay update, but we can hope. The iPad Pro or iPad Plus is Apple's rumoured big-screen iPad for business. A kind of hybrid Macbook Air/iPad. It's one of the most speculated-about and hyped-up fantasy Apple products of the past few years - right up there with the Apple Watch - but unlike Apple's new wearable we don't know for sure if it even exists. Still, as we shall see, the evidence is growing to suggest that an iPad Pro (or an iPad Plus, or something similar) will launch, and launch soon. And what better way for Apple to capture the imagination of the world than to announce a new iPad at the Apple Watch event. It could happen.
What to expect from Apple Watch launch: Beats Music as iTunes Music subscription service
This is the sort of small-seeming but actually critically important update that Apple likes to squeeze in to its announcements. When Apple purchased Beats it bought not only a headphone maker, but the Beats Music subscription service - a Spotify rival that is reasonably popular in the US. A global, iTunes-infused Beats Music subscription service could be huge. And Apple just might announce it at the Apple Watch event.
What to expect from Apple Watch launch: MacBook Air Retina upgrade
Sources at Apple - backed up by leaked photos of the new laptop - reveal the radical new design of 2015's 12in MacBook Air, which has just two ports and a massively slimmed-down chassis. And, a Retina display - catching it up with all other Apple laptops.
Reports are suggesting the new MacBook Air will feature integrated Touch ID for making payments online. And as Apple is expected to refresh its Macbook Air line before April to fit in with its normal schedule, it could do so at the Spring Forward event. (Although it might just sneak them out by shutting down the Apple Store as it does. Who knows?)
What to expect from Apple Watch launch: Office 2015 for Mac
Microsoft has released a new version of Outlook (its email program) to Office 365 subscribers. It has also yesterday released previews of the version of Office for Mac, and in the second half of 2015 it will make the final release available.
It seems unlikely that Microsoft would be invited to share the stage at Apple's event, but you never know. For one thing, Apple loves to get third-party app makers to showcase its products, and if the iPad Pro is in the works Microsoft is the best possible partner with which to launch a 'professional' iPad. And the all-new Microsoft has reciprocated, marketing the Surface Pro 3 as a MacBook Air alternative, and holding its own public event to promote Office for iPad.
Still. This is a long shot.