Apple Watch: Wait a minute! This puny wrist-puter costs 17 GRAND?!

Plus: New skinny MacBook and exclusive HBO TV streaming


Apple boss Tim Cook appeared at an art center in San Francisco on Monday to confirm when the much-hyped and super-expensive Apple Watch will go on sale.

In short, you can order one from April 10, and it'll hit store shelves on April 24. Cook also revealed other bits and pieces, such as a new slim MacBook going on sale soon.

As expected, the price tags on the watch will range from expensive ($349 for an aluminum Sport watch with rubber band) to eye-watering expensive (a Watch running from $549 to $1100 depending on the band and screen size) to flat-out obscene (a solid gold Watch Edition will start at $10,000 and go up to $17,000).

Apple Watch lineup

The three price tiers: 'reasonable' 'outrageous' and 'that's more than my car cost'

Cook and Co. said the arm-slab will support pay-by-bonk Apple Pay, and can answer calls from your wrist (like Dick Tracy). It charges wirelessly when snapped into a cradle; one charge lasts up to 18 hours. The gadget is rated IPX7: it can be splashed with water, and submerged to one metre, but swimming with the bling-pod on your wrist will likely ruin it.

We're told the travel biz and home appliance makers are making apps so wearers can check into flights, unlock hotel rooms, and switch on toasters by waving the gizmo over a terminal or sensor.

It can also measure your heart rate and distance walked – going as far as nagging you if you're being too lazy – and run other apps to show things like the weather and stock prices, just like rival smartwatches. You need an iPhone with the Watch so it can connect to the internet and be useful beyond telling the time.

Apple thinks the Watch could save your life. What it needs is a killer feature.

Though most of these features were announced during previous publicity events, today's presentation finally confirmed an official release date and price points for the smartwatch line. It'll go on sale in nine countries initially: US, UK, China, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, France, Germany and Canada.

Apple is also working with hospitals and universities to publish an open-source software development kit dubbed ResearchKit to (in theory) contribute data to medical research projects. Users can download and install apps built using the toolkit, and opt into the medical studies. Their basic health information, collected from their iThings, will be given directly to researchers through a secure channel. Early partners for the program include UCLA, Mt Sinai hospital and Stanford University. Apple says it cannot access this information.

For example, picture academics studying the onset of Parkinson's disease, and using gait measurements (taken from movement sensors on iPhones) to compare how people walk and identify sufferers. Something like that.

Research Kit

Research Kit will enlist iOS apps to study disease

While the Watch update was the headliner at Monday's event, another product unveiling threatened to steal the show: a new MacBook that marks a slimmer and lighter mid-point in Apple's notebook lineup.

The revamped MacBook will be Apple's slimmest, with its thick section just 13.1mm wide. It weighs 2lb (0.9kg), and has a 2304 x 1440 12in Retina display. The notebook sports a single reversible USB-C port that can be used to transfer data and charge the machine. Via adaptors, sold separately of course, the port can carry video – a multi-port convertor that will split USB-C into HDMI and USB-A will cost you $79, for example. Get ready to buy lots of new cables, in other words.

The computer's design is fanless, so there's extra space in the case for bigger batteries. Battery life is listed at 10 hours of web browsing or 9 hours watching iTunes. 10 hours is what Apple calls all-day, proving it really is on another planet.

MacBook Gold

MacBook Gold ... also in 'not hideous' colors

The new MacBook also comes with a keyboard that feels a bit better to use, apparently, and a new trackpad that offers haptic feedback and can sense how hard you're pressing down on it. A forceful push can trigger things like "open new email to Sir.Jony@apple.com, Subject: Isn't a gold laptop a little ridiculous?"

The new MacBook, in its $1299 base configuration, will be powered by an Intel Core M processor running at 1.1GHz (going up to 2.4GHz with a Turbo Boost), and 8GB of memory with Intel HD 5300 Graphics and 256GB of SSD storage. Fans can ramp up the notebook to a 1.2GHz (2.6GHz boosted) Core M chip and 512GB storage for $1,599.

The new model will ship on April 10, but can't be ordered right now. Color options for the case include, silver, space gray, and gold finishes.

Apple's other two notebook lines, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, will also receive minor hardware updates, which are available immediately.

Starting today, the MacBook Pro Retina model will sport the MacBook's Force Touch trackpad, Intel Iris 6100 graphics hardware and Core i5 and i7 processor options up to 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost). Promised improvements include improved battery life (up to 10 hours) and faster flash storage performance.

For the MacBook Air 11in and 13in models, the update will bring support for Thunderbolt 2 connections along with new Intel HD Graphics 6000 hardware and Intel Core i5 processors at 1.6GHz (2.7GHz Turbo Boost) as well as the promise of faster flash storage performance.

Finally, Apple is throwing a bone to those who already own Apple gear. Cable network HBO said Apple will be the exclusive provider of the standalone HBO Now streaming player.

Starting from April 12, iOS and Apple TV owners will be able to pay a $14.99 monthly fee to have access to all of HBO's movie content and television series without the need for a HBO cable package subscription. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Apple's latest security feature could literally save lives
    Cupertino is so sure of Lockdown Mode it's offering $2m to bug hunters to break it

    Apple's latest security feature won't be used by most of its customers, but those who need Lockdown Mode could find it to be a literal life saver.

    The functionality, coming with iOS/iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura, dramatically shrinks an iDevice's attack surface by disabling many of its features. It's designed to protect the small number of Apple users who, "because of who they are or what they do, may be personally targeted by some of the most sophisticated digital threats, such as those from NSO Group and other private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware," Apple said in a statement. 

    Lockdown, thus, effectively reduces the number of potential vulnerabilities spyware could exploit to compromise a device, cutting the possible routes into surveillance targets' kit.

    Continue reading
  • Has Intel gone too far with its Ohio fab 'delay' stunt?
    With construction unceremoniously underway, x86 giant may have overplayed its hand

    COMMENT The way Intel has been talking about the status of its $20 billion Ohio fab project, you would be forgiven if you assumed that construction on the Midwest mega-site has been delayed in light of Congress struggling to pass a large subsidies package that would support new American chip factories.

    When Intel delayed a groundbreaking ceremony for the Ohio manufacturing site two weeks ago out of frustration over the subsidies inaction, some headlines may have given you the impression the semiconductor giant was putting off construction entirely.

    However, an Intel spokesperson made it clear to The Register and others at the time that the start date for construction had not changed.

    Continue reading
  • Hive ransomware gang rapidly evolves with complex encryption, Rust code
    RaaS malware devs have been busy bees

    The Hive group, which has become one of the most prolific ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operators, has significantly overhauled its malware, including migrating the code to the Rust programming language and using a more complex file encryption process.

    Researchers at the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) uncovered the Hive variant while analyzing a change in the group's methods.

    "With its latest variant carrying several major upgrades, Hive also proves it's one of the fastest evolving ransomware families, exemplifying the continuously changing ransomware ecosystem," the researchers said in a write-up this week.

    Continue reading
  • What do you mean your exaflop is better than mine?
    Gaming the system was fine for a while, now it's time to get precise about precision

    Comment A multi-exaflop supercomputer the size of your mini-fridge? Sure, but read the fine print and you may discover those performance figures have been a bit … stretched.

    As more chipmakers bake support for 8-bit floating point (FP8) math into next-gen silicon, we can expect an era of increasingly wild AI performance claims that differ dramatically from the standard way of measuring large system performance, using double-precision 64-bit floating point or FP64.

    When vendors shout about exascale performance, be aware that some will use FP8 and some FP64, and it's important to know which is being used as a metric. A computer system that can achieve (say) 200 peta-FLOPS of FP64 is a much more powerful beast than a system capable of 200 peta-FLOPS at just FP8.

    Continue reading
  • Meta's AI translation breaks 200 language barrier
    Open source model improves translation of rarer spoken languages by 70%

    Meta's quest to translate underserved languages is marking its first victory with the open source release of a language model able to decipher 202 languages.

    Named after Meta's No Language Left Behind initiative and dubbed NLLB-200, the model is the first able to translate so many languages, according to its makers, all with the goal to improve translation for languages overlooked by similar projects. 

    "The vast majority of improvements made in machine translation in the last decades have been for high-resource languages," Meta researchers wrote in a paper [PDF]. "While machine translation continues to grow, the fruits it bears are unevenly distributed," they said. 

    Continue reading
  • Tracking cookies found in more than half of G20 government websites
    Sorry, conspiracy theorists, it's more likely sloppy webdev work rather than spying

    We expect a certain amount of cookie-based tracking on retail websites and social networks, but in some countries up to 90 percent of government sites have implemented trackers – and serve them seemingly without user consent. 

    A study evaluated more than 118,000 URLs of 5,500 government websites – think .gov, .gov.uk. .gov.au, .gc.ca, etc – hosted in the twenty largest global economies – the G20 – and discovered a surprising tracking cookie problem, even among countries party to Europe's GDPR and those who have their own data privacy regulations.

    On average, the study found, more than half of cookies created on G20 government websites were third-party cookies, meaning they were created by outside entities typically to collect information on the user. At least 10 percent, going up to 90 percent, come from known third party cookies or trackers, we're told.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022