In less than 72 hours from now, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook along with other high-profile executives will be taking the stage at the company’s ‘Spring Forward’ event in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California to unveil the Apple Watch and possibly a few other new devices as well.
Rumors and reports over the last few months have given us a good indicator of what to expect at Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event, and below, we round up them up so see what Apple has in store for us this Monday.
Definitely: Apple Watch
There is absolutely no doubt that the Apple Watch is going to be the highlight of the company’s Spring Forward event. Apple had originally unveiled the Watch back in September last year, and has since worked on improving every aspect of it to make it ready for its public debut.
Apple considers the Watch more than just a smartwatch: it considers it to be a fashion statement. This can be seen from the numerous appearances of the watch in various fashion magazines over the last few months. The abundance of customization options offered by Apple also make the smartwatch a perfect fashion accessory for many as users can customize it to suit their style.
Despite being a fashion accessory, Apple has laid great emphasis on the build quality of the Apple Watch as well. As Jony Ive recently revealed in an interview with the Financial Times, the Apple Watch Edition is made from gold that is up to twice as strong as standard gold, while the cold-forged steel being 40% more durable than normal steel.
While reports have already given us a good idea of all the health-related features that the Apple Watch will pack, we still don’t know how they work, and other features that it will pack. A report from yesterday did reveal some details about how several features of the Watch will work and also confirmed the presence of the handy Power Reserve mode.
Apple executives have repeatedly said that the Apple Watch will only offer one-day of battery life, but a report from yesterday claims that the Watch’s battery life has improved, and that it takes only two hours to charge.
Besides the various features and apps of the Watch, the final retail price of its different variants and bands are also unknown. Plus, no one really knows when the Apple Watch will really ship, and the countries that it will go up on sale after its launch.
Along with the Apple Watch, the Cupertino company is also expected to announce a refresh of its retail stores to offer a better buying experience for the Apple Watch. Even if it does not though, the Apple Store revamp will go live once the Apple Watch goes on sale. The new redesign is being worked on by Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales, Angela Ahrendts and Jony Ive.
Expect Apple to solve these mysteries and throw some surprises our way about the Apple Watch during their event on Monday.
Definitely: iOS 8.2
Apple is also expected to unveil iOS 8.2 at the event, which will be adding Bluetooth support for the Apple Watch to the iPhone and iPad. It also comes with WatchKit support, the developer SDK of the Apple Watch.
The upcoming release of iOS is also aimed at fixing quite a few bugs and further improve the Health app by adding new data types like Glucose tracking to it as revealed by its leaked release notes from earlier this week. Apple had seeded the final beta of the upcoming version of iOS to developers earlier this week.
I’d expect Apple to release iOS 8.2 for the iPhone and iPad soon after the event ends, or on the day the Apple Watch is scheduled to hit the retail stores.
Likely: Updated MacBook Air with Broadwell processors
Late last year, Intel finally started shipping its much-delayed Broadwell processors, which offer significant power savings, a faster GPU and more. These new CPUs are based on the 14nm fabrication process and consume less power than their predecessor. They also offer a significantly faster GPU and have been optimized for use in ultrabooks, which makes them perfect for Apple’s MacBook Air lineup of laptops.
Apple had last refreshed its Air lineup with updated processors more than 8 months ago, and with Intel’s latest generation processors now available in the market, now is as good as any for Apple to refresh the MacBook Airs’ with the latest CPUs from Intel.
Various leaks have also confirmed that updated variants of the 13-inch MacBook Air with Broadwell processors are indeed real, and it is more than likely that Apple will announce them at its ‘Spring Forward’ event on Monday, though without throwing much spotlight on them. Even if it does not, the company may just silently release the updated models after its Spring Forward event.
Not Happening: iPad Pro & Apple TV
While there have been plenty of rumors about Apple planning to unveil the 12.9-inch iPad Pro during the first quarter of this year, recent reports suggest that the company has had to postpone the launch to later this year due to due to poor display yield issues.
As things stand now, the iPad Pro has only existed in rumors, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. If Apple does intend to launch an iPad Pro, it is possible that the company will launch it alongside the iPad Air 3 and the iPad mini 4 in Q4 later this year.
The same thing stands true for Apple’s “hobby project” — the Apple TV. The device is soon going to be three years old, and is in dire need of an update. Knowing Apple though, there is a possibility that the company is holding back on a possible hardware refresh for the Apple TV because it wants to release it alongside a major software update.
And then there is the 12-inch MacBook Air
There is no denying the fact that the MacBook Air, which was once the epitome of ultra-portable laptops, seems outdated when pitted against recent offerings from Dell, Lenovo and HP. While the Air still comes with a sub-standard 1440*900 resolution screen, Dell and Lenovo offer ultra-portables that feature Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) resolution. They also offer better performance and battery life in a body that is thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air.
Apple’s answer to them seems to be the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air that has made quite a few appearances in blurrycam photos. From the leaked images, the 12-inch MacBook Air seems to be an impressive laptop. Just like the recently unveiled Dell XPS 13, the 12-inch MacBook Air could come with an edge-to-edge display that allow it to sport a 12-inch screen inside a body that is smaller than even the existing 11-inch MacBook Air. It is also thinner than the current gen Air and comes with the next-gen USB Type-C connector.
My bet is that Apple will not be unveiling the 12-inch MacBook Air, as doing so will steal the spotlight from the Apple Watch. I’d guess Apple is prepping to unveil the 12-inch MacBook Air at WWDC later this year, though it is possible that the Cupertino company does a ‘one more thing’ at its Spring Forward event on March 9th and surprises everyone with the new Air. After all, even the Wall Street Journal seems to think so.
Do you expect Apple to unveil anything else beside the Apple Watch at its Spring Forward event on Monday?