What to expect from Apple's March 9 event (Hint: It's more than just the Watch)
On March 9, Apple is widely expected to let us know exactly when its much-anticipated Watch line will ship and how much all the new models will cost. But what other new products might Apple unveil?
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
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With Apple's 'Spring Forward' event on March 9 in San Francisco just days away, it's time to look at -- and recalibrate -- our expectations for the occasion.
We know that the event will focus on the Apple Watch, which was revealed at the same September 2014 event where the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus debuted. Right now, we know precious few details about the Watch -- it will start shipping in April with a $349 price in the US for the entry-level aluminum-and-glass Apple Watch Sport version (that translates to about £220 or AU$452).
By the end of Monday's event, we presume a host of other key questions will be answered, including real international pricing and availability, as well as pricing for the higher-end tiers of the watch and its accessories. The midlevel stainless-steel Apple Watch -- with its sapphire crystal-covered display -- is bound to cost significantly more, while the 18-karat-gold Apple Watch Edition could climb to price levels associated with fine jewelry. Brace yourself.
We should also get a sneak peek at new Watch apps that will be available at launch -- or close to launch -- and perhaps get a firmer commitment from Apple on the Watch's battery life.
Watch this: What to expect at Apple's 'Spring Forward' event
But the big question is whether Apple will reveal anything else new besides the Watch, which in some ways is old news. At most of its events, it usually launches more than one new product and sometimes several, and we expect it will do the same this time. Here's a look at some of the possibilities (including some ones that have recently moved from the "likely" to "unlikely" column).
Editors' note: This story was originally published on February 26, and has been updated with the latest news and rumors.
The design of the MacBook Air line hasn't really changed in years and is due for an update. The most prevalent rumor is that of a 12-inch (or so) screen squeezed into the body closer in size to that of the current 11-inch MacBook Air . Think something along the lines of the recently announced Samsung Ativ Book 9 or the swanky new Dell XPS 13 -- a bezelless screen with an updated Intel Broadwell CPU.
A 12.9-inch 'iPad Plus'
Rumor had it that Apple had a larger iPad in the works, but with demand so high for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple's suppliers just didn't have the bandwidth to produce that product. The jumbo iPad rumor persists, but Bloomberg, quoting anonymous sources, reported recently that, "Production of the 12.9-inch-screen iPad is now scheduled to start around September because of delays involving the supply of display panels." That means it likely won't make an appearance on March 11.
New Apple TV box
Even if the world has given up on a full-blown Apple television, we've been waiting for a new Apple TV box for a while (it's been almost exactly three years since the hardware was updated ). It seems logical that Apple would add a gaming element to its list of features, if not a revised interface and even more apps, but so far neither a new box or a new controller has materialized. (The photo above is a "what if" mockup of the existing Apple TV box and an unrelated controller.)
9to5 Mac recently reported that its sources told them that Apple was "finishing up work on a slimmer Apple TV set-top-box with a more capable and tactile remote control and a redesigned operating system bundled with an App Store." However, content roadblocks [deals with content provider] could push the new Apple TV's ship date till later this year.
On the other hand, the International Business Times is reporting that HBO could soon be launching its standalone version of HBO Go -- supposedly called HBO Now -- as soon as next month, with Apple as one of the initial hardware partners. So it's possible we could see some Apple TV content or app news on Monday, even if there's no new hardware.
When Apple acquired Beats last year, it was expected that Beats streaming music service , which costs $9.99 a month, would be revamped and rolled out as an Apple-branded streaming service sooner rather than later. But that revamping is apparently still in the works. 9to5 Mac, citing the usual anonymous sources, reports that Apple, "plans to introduce the service, at least in beta form, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June."
New networking devices
It's been well over a year since Apple's Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme updated (June 2013), and AirPort Express was last updated in June 2012. So, yes, it's time for some new hardware updates. It's just a question whether the that time is March 9 or not.
One more thing...
As always, there's always room for surprises. This is, after all, the world's most valuable company -- and one rumored to be working on an electric car.
If there are other products or features you're waiting for Apple to introduce or upgrade, you can mention them in the comments section below.