Apple’s “Spring Forward” event is scheduled for Monday, March 9th and we’re already getting prepared to bring you live coverage and last minute leaks leading up to the event. What can you expect at the event? Below we’ve put together our list of likely announcements including some unannounced Apple Watch features and possible surprises…
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Watch Pricing & Availability |
Get your credit cards ready, Apple will likely give us more on pricing and availability for the Apple Watch and could even give details on preorders.
The biggest question on everyone’s mind: How much will the 18k gold Apple Watch Edition cost? We know the Apple Watch lineup will start at $349, and most expect that represents pricing for the Sport model, but otherwise we’ve yet to get anything official on pricing beyond that.
A poll of 9to5Mac readers showed nearly 80% of people think Apple’s 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will cost under $4500, while only 16% expect it to cost between $5000-$10,000, and 3.8% expect a price tag over $10,000. The jewelry experts are expecting a price tag slightly higher than the $4500 mark.
Apple might also give us some info on changes it’s making to the retail experience for Apple Watch and how customers will be able to try on the device in stores and purchase online. It’s possible some models might be harder to find than others and there have been rumors that the gold model could have its own special sales/buying experience.
New Watch features |
There are a lot of Apple Watch features, both software and hardware, that Apple hasn’t yet highlighted in detail. We just told you about a few of them: Power Reserve mode, storage capacity, Heart Rate Glance, and more.
You can expect Apple to talk about some of these features with Power Reserve features likely a given due to worries of poor battery life for the device. We’d also hope to get more on final hardware specs and a look at apps from partners. Apple just started asking developers to not share their app announcements, so it’s likely Apple has some time allotted for showing off third-party apps.
Watch Accessories |
We reported that Apple plans to sell its own straps separately alongside the Apple Watch, so it’s more than possible Apple will give some stage time for Watch accessory announcements.
We don’t know if Apple plans anything for third-party accessories or anything beyond just basic straps, but its event Monday will certainly be a good place to show off anything it might have planned for launch. There has been speculation regarding the possibility of a smart straps platform similar to what Pebble just announced with its new wearable.
iOS 8.2 |
We’ll likely hear a mention of iOS 8.2, the software update to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, as it’s on track to be released next week after several beta builds.
The Apple Watch requires an iPhone 5 or higher, and iOS 8.2 adds support to the iPhone for pairing and communicating with the Apple Watch. iOS 8.2 also introduces WatchKit, the framework used to add Apple Watch apps to existing iPhone apps.
Because the Apple Watch will require the iPhone to have this software version, Apple will likely want to distribute the update without any issues well before the Apple Watch goes on sale.
Companion + Fitness Apps |
In addition to enhancing the built-in Health app on iOS 8, we may see a couple of new apps show up next week.
As we reported earlier this year, a Companion app on the iPhone that we previously revealed is used to manage many of the settings on the Apple Watch. The Companion app features controls for accessibility options and different Watch behaviors, and an unannounced monogram feature allows you to create a customized watch face with your initials.
While Apple has not yet shown off the Companion app that we highlighted, it did reveal another iPhone app when it first demoed the Apple Watch. A new app called Fitness will interface with the Apple Watch’s own Fitness app and functionality to provide an overview of your activity and workout routines.
Apple Pay |
Apple Pay officially launched in October and has steadily expanded in the US, but with the feature a perfect way of highlighting the convenience of Apple Watch, it won’t be surprising if Apple gives us an update on the payments service. Apple just updated its Apple Pay website to further highlight Apple Watch integration.
Tim Cook said Apple Watch would be available outside of the US in April, so an expansion of Apple Pay would also make a lot of sense. We reported back in January that Canadian partners were prepping for an Apple Pay launch that could happen as early as March, and other reports said Apple was targeting a similar timeframe to launch in the UK and other countries.
At the very least Tim Cook has a lot of Apple Pay growth to mention if he runs over his usual company stats: As of this month the company is now at over 100 banks and credit unions in the US and growing.
Rumors of early 2015 updates to the MacBook Air have persisted for months, and based on a seemingly authentic spec leak for an updated 13″ model, it’s quite possible that Apple will update the Air with improved Intel Broadwell CPUs, graphics, and battery life either during or shortly after the Monday event. An as-of-yet-unconfirmed report from Japan has suggested that Apple may also update the 13″ MacBook Pro with Broadwell CPUs at the same time.
Similarly, reports have differed on whether Apple will debut the radically thinner 12″ MacBook Air exclusively profiled by 9to5Mac during this event. The Wall Street Journal suggests that it could be announced as early as Monday, but the announcement could take place closer to the middle of 2015.
A Muse performance?
Word around the Muse fan blog world is a possible performance at Apple’s event on Monday, which wouldn’t be a huge shocker given Apple often hosts big name rock bands at its events. U2 was a big hit with everyone last time around.
The rumor seems to originate with the tweet pictured above from Muse frontman Matt Bellamy. It could just be a nice send-off for BBC DJ Zane Lowe, who just accepted a new gig at Apple. But some think the hint at meeting with Apple’s Jimmy Iovine could mean Muse is on their way to the Apple event in California.