Last week Apple announced two new products - the Apple Watch and the new 12" MacBook.
Let's start with the new MacBook. It sounds good enough in the general sense - a super thin, lightweight Mac with a brilliant Retina display and long battery life.
What's to not like? - the details are what are to not like. Here are a few troubling ones - reduced graphics processor (driving a very high resolution display), a very slow processor and very few ports. In fact, there are exactly two ports: a headphone jack and a new USB-C port that does everything. It does everything from charging (there is no MagSafe charger), USB 3 and monitor output. So if you want to simultaneously charge and use a device like a printer, monitor or hard drive you have to buy a “dongle” like this: http://store.apple.com/us/product/MJ1K2AM/A/usb-c-digital-av-multiport-adapter
Apple’s argument is that interfaces with most devices are wireless (printers, headphones, etc) so why have the burden of so many ports. This is indeed true, but there are just a few things that work much better with a wire (hard drives and monitors come to mind).
Regardless of your computing needs I cannot recommend this Mac to you. A MacBook Air or Pro will better fit your needs for around the same price. I have never not recommended an Apple product, but I guess there is a first for everything.
Apple Watch - I also don't get this product. Perhaps I am not the target customer. The watch is an iPhone accessory (you must have an iPhone 5 or newer). It is not a stand alone product. It has a tiny screen than can alert you to incoming texts, emails or phone calls. You can respond with your voice. It is somewhat a health accessory measuring heart rate and your activity. It certainly does other things and there will be apps for it, but in the end it is a device that allows you to keep your expensive iPhone in your pocket or purse.
The Watch is expensive - starting at $349 for an aluminum model (not a rugged material). A more rugged stainless steel model starts at $549 and go to over $1000 depending on the band. Solid gold models start at $10,000 and go up to $17,000.
The battery life is about a day - less if you use it a lot, a little more if you don't. Either you will be charging it daily (which requires that you remove it from your wrist).
I can see that it may be convenient to use, but it would be for short intervals of time, any long responses you would just take out your iPhone (which must be close by, anyway).
Cool and stylish, yes. Practical and a good value, not as much. If you have the means, get one and let me know how you like it.
Apple did announce a few other things last week:
- HBO subscription for Apple TV - for $15/month you can get HBO with no other service like cable or satellite TV required. I am sue other networks will follow suit. We are getting closer to true aka carte TV, folks! Yeah! I am getting close to cutting the cable, myself.
- Updates to the MacBook Airs. A slight bump in performance for two excellent laptops: the 11" & 13" MacBook Airs. I have an 11" Air that I just love. It is about the same size and weight as a full size iPad with a keyboard, yet it is a fully capable Mac (with MagSafe charging, 2 USB ports and a Thunderbolt port). All for about the same price as that iPad with a keyboard.
- Apple TV, a fantastic product that I have used daily for years, had a significant price drop - from $99 to $69!
It was a strange announcement for me last week. For the first time I was just not impressed with the two major announcements, even to the point of recommending that others not spend their money on this new Apple stuff. Strange, indeed.