Macbook hero
11 March 2015

Opinion: Watches upstaged by MacBook

No release date yet for Kiwis wanting Apple watch.

Apple announced their new smartwatch. Technically they announced it again, but this time with important things such as release dates, functionality and pricing. But the new smartwatch has obscured everyone’s view from Apple’s real star: their new MacBook.

This new laptop is thin, 13.1mm thin to be exact, which makes it thinner than the MacBook Air, a laptop whose whole point is being thin. It’s also got a 12-inch “retina” screen (2304×1440 resolution), a full-sized keyboard and a brand new trackpad with “Force Touch”.

Force Touch sounds like something out of Star Wars. It adds to the impressive trackpads on Apple products (I have used a lot of trackpads over the years and Apple’s ones have always been the best for accuracy and reliability). Here’s the spiel from Apple:

"The Force Touch trackpad is engineered to deliver a responsive, uniform click no matter where you press the surface. And underneath, force sensors detect how much pressure you’re applying and give you new ways to interact with your Mac. You can now use a Force click to enable new capabilities, like quickly looking up the definition of a word or previewing a file just by clicking and continuing to press on the trackpad. You’ll also experience haptic feedback — a tactile vibration from the trackpad that adds the sense of touch to what you see on the screen."

I can’t wait to get my hands on it (pun very much intended). Oh and if you like, the MacBook now comes in gold to match the gold iPhones.

So what doesn’t it have? A connection to anything else. The new MacBook will use a USB-C connection for power and connectivity. USB-C is a new type of USB that allows for super-fast data transfer, but the chance that you own stuff that uses USB-C are low. So if you want to attach your old hard drive to the new MacBook then you’re going to need to buy an extra adaptor.

The straight USB-C to regular USB is $30, but the one you’ll actually need is the one that will let you charge your MacBook at the same time and has an HDMI out, which costs $130. Many people on social media were claiming that the adaptor was actually the most important announcement of the day.

Of course the other “game-changing” announcement was that HBO have launched a standalone online service called HBO Now. The service is exclusive on Apple for the time being and US-only. New Zealanders who have US Apple accounts may be salivating at this news though, with the chance to get at content that had previously been tied to cable TV services.

And then there’s the Apple Watch. There wasn’t much more information given about the watch that wasn’t revealed when it was first announced last year. But the prices are interesting:

"Apple Watch is available in three collections, Apple Watch Sport, priced at US$349 and US$399; Apple Watch, available from US$549 to US$1,099; and Apple Watch Edition, crafted from custom rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys, with prices starting at US$10,000."

That’s not a typo, Apple released a US$10,000 watch, and given that it’s the first iteration of new tech for Apple it’ll likely be redundant in two years. Unless you are Kanye West, do not buy this watch.

But what about the other, non-gold watches? Well they seem OK, I guess. The apps could be useful and the watch’s circular layout is nice (even if the square screen is a bit ugly). Air New Zealand has said they’ll have an app for the new platform, despite the Apple Watch having no release date for New Zealand at this time.

The battery lasts 18 hours. Given that’s an estimate, expect it to be less than that in practice.

The Apple Watch could be a revolution in the wearable market, but right now it feels like it’s been upstaged by a very cool laptop.

About the author:

Hadyn Green is a geek. He loves shiny new tech and the chance to try to break it. Because it's the kind of thing people ask, here is the tech Hadyn currently uses. Phone: iPhone 6. Tablet: iPad Air 2. Streaming Music: Spotify. Streaming TV: TBA. Headphones: Beats Powerbeats Wireless 2 (for the gym) and Beats Studio noise-cancelling (for sitting at my desk and tuning out the world). E-Reader: Kindle Touch. Gaming: PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. Internet Service Provider: Snap.

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