Just days before the Mobile World Congress, where most phone manufacturers were expected to announce their respective flagship phones, Apple sent out an invite to a March 9 event entitled “Spring Forward.” One would expect that the event would be about the Apple Watch, rumored to be released by April. But in a typical Apple fashion, they managed to surprise us in more ways than one.

 

Here’s a quick recap of top 5 announcements during the 3/9/15 event.

 

ONE: Retail

 

Apple opened the event with a look at the Apple Store opening in West Lake. How is it significant? Apple now has over 450 stores around the world and in China alone they plan to open more than 30 in 2015. They also announced that in the last quarter over 120 million customers visited their stores worldwide.

 

 

Video by Apple, Inc.

TWO: iPhone (and Apple Pay)

 

Apple celebrated a milestone of selling their 700th million iPhone since 2006. Apple also “overtook Samsung to sell the most smartphones in Q4 [2014]”. Another Apple achievement was getting a 99% customer satisfaction rating from iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users. As for Apple Pay, the company continues to expand its list of banks and partners in the US.

 

THREE: MacBook

 

Apple was rumored to announce a new MacBook today -- they delivered. The new MacBook weighs only 2 pounds (approximately 907 grams) is only 13.1mm thin (24% thinner than the latest MacBook Air). Apple noted some innovations to achieve this level of portability: a redesigned keyboard mechanism, a new trackpad that recognizes force, a smaller and fanless logic board, a contoured battery design (think Banaue Rice Terraces), and an all aluminum hinge. Apple did away with all the ports, leaving just the headphone jack and a USB Type-C port for power, storage, display, etc. Now sit back and enjoy the beautiful film explaining the new MacBook design.

 

 

Video by Apple, Inc.

 

The new MacBook starts at $1299 and comes in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold.

 

FOUR: ResearchKit

 

When Apple Watch and iPhone 6 were announced in 2014, Apple’s renewed commitment to health didn’t exactly turn heads. The case is very different today. With ResearchKit, institutions can develop apps to aid medical research. Apple hopes that by making these apps more accessible to the general public, institutions can gather more accurate data and produce more insightful results. The story doesn’t end there, though -- ResearchKit is open source. In a way this shows that Apple’s commitment to health isn’t just about increasing sales but a genuine effort to advance the field.

 

The first five ResearchKit apps (asthma, breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease) are available on the App Store today. Watch the film to learn more about ResearchKit.

 

 

Video by Apple, Inc.

FIVE: Apple Watch

 

For an event entitled “Spring Forward,” the Apple Watch was not the most surprising part of the show. While more time was spent explaining the smartwatch, it didn’t give much new information from the September 2014 event. What was mentioned though was the price of the watch -- $349 and up for the aluminum Apple Watch Sport, $549 and up for the stainless steel Apple Watch, and $10,000 and up for the Apple Watch Edition. The price varies depending on the size (Apple watches come in 38mm and 42mm models) and the strap chosen. Apple Watch will be released on April 24, but only selected Apple Stores will carry the Apple Watch Edition.

 

 

Video by Apple, Inc.

 

Apple Watch Edition - Gold:


 

Video by Apple, Inc.

 

Apple Watch - Steel:

 

 

Video by Apple, Inc.

 

Apple Watch Sport - Aluminum:

 

 

Video by Apple, Inc.

 

What do you think of the announcements? Did Apple surprise you today? Let us know in the comments.