SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) "Spring Forward" media event featured further details and pricing on the forthcoming Apple Watch, but also produced additional products and announcements, including a brand-new MacBook, a software kit for researchers, and a standalone HBO subscription service called HBO Now.
For the most part, the event went as expected with few surprises. Apple CEO Tim Cook said everything announced Monday was part of the company's broader focus of "pushing forward and creating the future," but investors weren't immediately overly enthusiastic about the vision. The company's stock was around even immediately following the Monday afternoon affair and finished at $127.14, up just 0.4%, on Monday.
One analyst, however, said he expects Apple Watch to be the best-selling new product in its first 12 months in Apple's history. "We view today's event as the most important product event for Apple since the company unveiled the iPad to the world in January 2010," Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White wrote in a research report. White projects that Apple will sell 20.6 million Apple Watches in its first year, supporting his price target of $160 for the stock.
Cook saved the Apple Watch for last, shedding light on pricing and launch information at the end of the event. The watch, which he calls "the most personal Apple device ever," will be available for pre-order in 9 countries including the U.S., UK, and China beginning April 10, and for sale in stores on April 24. It features 18-hour battery life for a "typical day," Cook said.
The Apple Watch Sport, cased in aluminum, will start at $349, as we previously knew, but the larger, 42 mm model will cost $50 more. The mid-tier line, Apple Watch collection, is to retail for between $549 and $1,049, depending on customers' choice of watch band. Meanwhile, the high-end Apple Watch Edition, which is cased in 18-karat gold, will start at $10,000, and will only be available at select retail stores in limited quantities.
At $10,000, Apple Watch Edition not most expensive product in Apple history. That was Apple Lisa, — ~$23,500 in today’s dollars.— Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky) March 9, 2015
Apple also said that it was releasing an Apple Watch iPhone app -- for finding watch apps and setting up notifications -- as a part of its newest software release, iOS 8.2, which was made available for download Monday. Company executives also showed off a variety of watch apps, including those for communication, travel, news and entertainment. During the demonstration, the company highlighted apps from Uber, WeChat, Instagram, American Airlines, Starwood, and CNN.
WeChat instead of iMessage for a messaging demo is a huge nod to China.— John Gruber (@gruber) March 9, 2015
Though the watch was expected to take top billing, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company also dedicated a significant portion of its 95-minute event to the new MacBook, which Cook said was inspired by the iPhone and iPad. The MacBook, which will start at $1,299 and be available on April 10, will be the company's thinnest notebook yet, with a 12-inch Retina display and an all-new, more responsive keyboard and trackpad. The laptop, which will get nine hours of battery life, will also include a five-in-one post called USB-C, which is a new standard that supports higher wattage charging, USB data transfer, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA capabilities.
The event also featured the debut of HBO Now, HBO's new over-the-top streaming service, which will be exclusive to Apple and will work on Apple TV and iOS devices. HBO Now will give customers access to HBO's entire content catalog for $14.99 a month. The service will be the first to offer television viewers the ability to subscribe to HBO without cable service. HBO Now will be available at the beginning of April, ahead of the season premiere of HBO's hit show Game of Thrones.
In addition, Apple announced ResearchKit, an open-source software framework for medical researchers. Apple worked with research institutions to launch five new apps designed to help with data collection and diagnostics. For instance, the University of Rochester and Sage Bionetworks created mPower, an app for Parkinson's disease research. Parkinson's patients can take tests and perform tasks from researchers. Apple, said Cook, would not collect users' health data.
All together, though Apple's "Spring Forward" product reveals were designed to show how Apple is pushing technology forward, as Cook said, they were ultimately themed around the iPhone. The iPhone served as the connective tissue between ResearchKit, the MacBook, and Apple Watch, which is essentially powered by the iPhone, showing that the company's best-selling product -- more than 700 million have been sold to date, Cook said -- is more important than ever.