Apple springs forward into the future of technology

Earlier today Apple held an event at the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts to announce several major new products and many updates to their various product lines. Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the morning with a video showing off the tech giants newest store in China. This new retail location is the latest of 21 stores open in China today, a small number compared to the 453 stores that make up Apple’s global retail presence. Apple Stores have always been known for their bright and unique architecture, a tradition that will surely continue for years to come. Despite having an online marketplace available worldwide, it is clear that consumers still value human interaction when shopping, with over 120 million people visiting Apple Stores last fiscal quarter.

Photo Credit: The Verge

After a brief update on Apple’s retail business, Cook turned his attention to a (often neglected) product that Apple has silently been revamping: the Apple TV. The minuscule box received a price drop down to $69 from $99, but also a much more exciting update. Premium TV Network HBO is partnering with Apple to bring both their expansive film collection and award winning original programming to Apple devices through the internet. The new service, dubbed HBO NOW, will cost $15/month and include the complete HBO library. HBO CEO Richard Plepler said he could not be prouder to have Apple as an exclusive partner to HBO NOW and he added, “We love Apple, and all the extraordinary products that have captured the imagination of people all over the world.” Unfortunately for people that do not own an Apple device, HBO NOW is exclusive to Apple users for 3 months starting in April, just in time for the 5th season of Game of Thrones.

Photo Credit: The Verge

Photo Credit: The Verge

Following up that surprise announcement was some news about the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which are currently halfway through their flagship year, with an iPhone 7 announcement expected in September. Just recently, the 700 millionth iPhone was sold. This came as no surprise however, with the iPhone 6 selling 2x faster than the industry average. Tim Cook stated that the iPhone is “considered the benchmark to which all other smart phones are compared”. He also excitedly reported that the iPhone currently holds a 99% customer satisfaction rate, the highest of any smartphone ever. One of the major selling points of the latest iPhones is Apple Pay, a wireless payment system integrated into the phones. 2500 banks now support Apple Pay, making it the most widely adopted mobile payment system. Retail locations accepting Apple Pay have tripled since launch, now sitting at 700,000. This includes 40,000 Coca-Cola vending machines.

Photo Credit: The Verge

Photo Credit: The Verge

It’s no secret that PC sales have declined amidst the rapid growth of the tablet market, dominated by Apple’s own iPad. Which is exactly why Apple proudly stated that Mac sale growth is up 21%, a huge increase over the market average, which sits at an alarming -2%. The largest announcement made today was by far the new MacBook. This notebook marks the return of the “MacBook” line, which is a step under the MacBook Pro in performance but is also much more affordable. The all-new laptop weighs a mere 2 pounds, two-thirds that of the MacBook Air. The newcomer clocks in at 13.1mm at it’s thickest point, which is 24% thinner than the MacBook Air, Apple’s previous “thin and light” notebook. Surprisingly, the MacBook still sports a full-size keyboard, now using a butterfly style keyswitch designed to be smaller and more accurate. What is possibly the most important part of the new machine is the Retina Display, a high resolution screen loaded with 3.3 million pixels. Apple truly did change everything we know about notebooks today, with a radical upgrade to the trackpad. The multitouch glass surface is now capable of sensing pressure changes, which are used for a myriad of actions within OS X Yosemite. The trackpad also doesn’t make a traditional *click*, it vibrates using an electromagnet under the keyboard. With all these changes to the outside, we can also see that Apple has designed an entire interior dedicated to compact components. The logic board is 1/3 the size of previous models, allowing room for 6 battery cells. Apple estimates “all-day” battery life on this new machine. The most shocking change came in the form of the ports, or rather the lack thereof. The new MacBook contains only one USB Type-C port, which is capable of charging the device, powering external displays, and also serving as a USB port. This was definitely a controversial change, with Apple fans expressing their delight/horror on Twitter.

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