$10,000 Watches, Game of Thrones & MacBooks; highlights from Spring Forward

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

We’re one month away from pre-orders for the Apple Watch and some people are going to fork out $10,000 for it. That ought to be the only story from the Apple Spring Forward event in California, but it isn’t.

What were the highlights?

Quite a bit was shared by Apple last night, and despite the hype around the Apple Watch, the big reveal actually came in the form of the new MacBook.


It’s a new laptop

The new MacBook
The new MacBook

Referred to as the “the strongest Mac lineup we’ve ever had”  by Apple CEO Tim Cook, the new MacBook comes with a 12 inch screen, is 4.4mm thinner than the MacBook Air, weighs 0.90 kg (lighter than the MacBook Air) and has a new Force Touch trackpad.

It is not an upgrade of the MacBook Air. It is its own laptop altogether, with the focus for redesign having been a lighter machine with a better screen and a discount on the MacBook price.

The new MacBook is set for release a month from now. There are two versions; one  for a variant has 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M with 256 GB Storage is set at $1,299 and $1,599 for the 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M version with 512 GB storage. It’s still pricey especially when you consider the added duty that our local market has to tape onto that asking price.

Apples and Thrones

The price for the Apple TV set-top box has been lowered to $69, but the interesting bit is how it is the exclusive platform for HBO Now which will provide all of HBO’s content, including the new season of Game Of Thrones. It’s being launched in the USA first, and it’s hardly significant for the local market that has other means of sourcing such content.

Apple goes Open Source 

A new open source software platform (yes, Apple is on the Open Source tip apparently), ResearchKit, was also introduced. It is meant to help medical researchers harness iOS as a tool for continuous collection and management of data that is gathered from test subjects.

All this is through the creation of specific applications, and last night 5 sample apps for diseases like Parkinson’s and Heart Disease were displayed.

The premise is simple; your iPhone can be used as a powerful medical research tool and depending on your investigative focus, it can be best used with apps that focus on an important area of disease research. It will be interesting to see how some forward-thinking biology or medical students make something out of this.

One more thingthe Apple Watch

$10,000 technology
$10,000 technology

What hasn’t been said already about the Apple Watch? Well, last night we heard that Apple Watch apps will have their own app section in the iTunes Store. There we demos of watch apps for Instagram, Uber, Shazam, Twitter, WeChat, Apple Pay (yep, just place your watch against the POS), SPG for hotel check in (I dare RTG or African Sun to introduce that) and Passbook.

Thanks to Alarm.com you can get the watch to open garage doors and handle one or two things around a smart home and it can tell you if you’ve been too inactive. Sounds like Michael Knight would be impressed.

The wait and see really is how fast these watch apps become mainstream, something that might have an effect on how they catch on in the world of Android where most of us reside.

In terms of price, the Apple Watch Sport is the cheapest (I use that word gingerly) at $349 and $399; the stainless steel Apple Watch is set at $549 and $1,049 for the same 2 sizes and the limited release Gold Apple Watch Edition will cost $10,000.

That’s a lot of money for a lot of watch, and I personally don’t get it. Then again, the target market is obviously the well-heeled client base (think Chinese money) that are willing to pay so much for a device that will be overtaken by a newer version in a year.

What are your thoughts on these new releases from Apple? Is $349 or $10,000 worth the spend on a watch?

Images credit: Apple.com



  1. Anonymous 2

    The Macbook looks like a lovely piece of engineering but some of the sacrifices they made to get it that ridiculously thin may be a deal breaker for some. I know for me the idea of needing an adapter to, lets say, charge the device and use a USB drive (or any other wired peripheral) at the same time doesn’t appeal to me. The vibrating feedback system on the touch pad was a clever solution to lacking physical click-ability though. I’m also glad to see they managed to squeeze out a bit more juice from the battery, but if I had the kinda money to be considering a smart watch, the new Pebble Time Steel would be my pick. Its about to support all the major platforms and who can argue with 7 DAYS of battery life!
    Apple pushing the hardware and aesthetic envelope is gonna be good for the tech landscape (at least until the lawsuits begin!)

  2. Dee

    I am just wondering who would want to part with $10k just for a wrist watch. Im fascinated with the smart watches and would like to invest one, but hey, $10k? I would put that money to ‘better’ use. With so many hungry mouths to feed around the world, lets be real guys. Well you can tell me in Shona ” vane mari dzavo”, meaning , they can afford it… I have Googled and found cheaper generic smartwatches on Alibaba, ranging from $30 and giving the same basic functions, notifications, missed calls, messages, email, heart and pulse checks etc. Oh one other thing, the new Mac Book, it looks sleek and neat, i pray it doesnt ‘bend’ on purpose.

    1. tinonetic

      Yes, imari dzavo. After all, that version is accessorised for the “wealth-conscious”.

      As for $30 watches, they’re good only if they run Android. You have to note that most wearable devices are mostly tightly coupled to the brand and its OS. Apple has Apple Watch, Samsung has its Gear, so do LG, Sony and possibly other mainstream brands.

      Gear runs Tizen, Apple has its own OS, the rest hopefully run Android Wear. Cheaper ones may run the full blown Android, as did the first Gear devices.

      So however you choose your watch, make sure it integrates with your device. You will find that the first generation Gear ran pure Android, so you could easily use beyond Samsung… The current is Tizen based and integrates with the Samsung Gear Manager software, installed on supporting devices.

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