Welcome to the ABC News live blog of Apple's big event today! The festivities kick off at 1pm ET. We'll bring you the latest news on the Apple Watch and any other surprises as the event gets underway.
Apple stores may be a gold mine for the company -- but soon they'll hold actual gold. The luxury edition of the Apple Watch boasts a watch case crafted with 18-karat gold. I'm eager to find out how much it will cost. We know the entry level Apple Watch (sans gold) starts at $349.
Former Vice President Al Gore is at the event -- wonder which Apple watch he's interested in getting.
Here we go! Right now we're being shown a video of gorgeous city scenes and Apple's newest store in China.
Tim Cook is now on stage welcoming the crowd.
"Open, bright and of course with a great team" Cook said of Apple's newest store in China. They now have 21 stores in China. In total, Apple has 453 retail stores. "These stores are really brought to life. They are the heart and soul of our retail team."
More than 120 million people visited an Apple store last quarter.
Tim Cook is beginning with an announcement about Apple TV (ABC/Disney is on it) and has an announcement surrounding the platform and HBO.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler is now taking the stage.
Meet HBO Now -- an exclusive streaming channel. Apple is an exclusive partner at launch. Expect all programming form past, present and future. All you need is a broadband connection and an Apple device.
HBO Now will launch in April for $14.99/month. Subscribers will get the first month free if they sign up in April.
Apple has sold more than 25 million units so far. The price is being slashed from $99 to $69.
"Recently we sold our 700 millionth iPhone," Cook said to cheers. "The iPhone is growing stronger than ever."
Apple Pay Update: More than 2,500 banks now support it. There are now nearly 700,000 places you can use Apple Pay in the US. You can now even use it to by a Coke at the vending machine.
Tim Cook: Every major car brand has committed to delivering Car Play -- Apple's system that lets drivers sync up their iOS devices with infotainment systems in their cars.
Jeff Williams, Apple's senior VP of operations, is now talking about how Apple products can be used with medical research. "One of the biggest challengers researchers have is recruiting" creating issues such as small sample sizes and communication flow.
"Today we are proud to announce research kit." The software framework lets researchers easier create apps and turns the iPhone + Health Kit into "powerful diagnostic tools," Williams said.
So far there are five apps targeted at some of the world's most serious diseases. For instance, mPower is an app that lets anyone with an iPhone contribute to Parkinson's research. A quick tapping test can evaluate hand tremors. You can also say "Aaahhh" into the microphone and the processor can detect vocal variations. You can also stick your iPhone in your pocket and take a walking test. The gyroscope and accelerometer can measure your gait.
Diabetes, CardioVascular Disease, Asthma, Breast Cancer are other apps Apple has worked with medical facilities to develop
Williams: The user decides how their data is shared and Apple will not see it.
Research kit is open source and will be available next month. The first five medical research apps will be available today.
Next up - "I'd like to talk about the Mac," Cook said.
"We challenged ourselves to re-invent the notebook...and we did it!" Cook said.
Cook brought the notebook onstage. "I can't even feel it!" he said. It is that thin.
Phil Schiller is now onstage -- "It's the most extreme and efficient notebook we've ever created...It absolutely looks gorgeous from every angle." It weighs only two pounds. It's officially the lightest Mac ever.
It's 13.1 mm thin -- 24 percent thinner than its predecessor. The new Mac also has an all-metal enclosure. Inside is a full-size keyboard.
OK this keyboard is seriously cool -- each key has an individual LED that allows it to glow in the dark.
The new Macbook has a 12-inch retina display with 2304 x 1440 pixels. That's a little more than 3.3 million pixels - whoa!
Goodbye fans and vents! This MacBook operates silently. "What our engineering team did is remarkable," Schiller said.
The computer's logic board is 67 percent smaller than the previous -- leaving plenty of extra space for Apple to fill it with batteries.
The all-new MacBook has nine hours of wireless web browsing and 10-hours of movie playback.
Schiller said the new MacBook is the world's most energy efficient notebook.
We're now being treated to a video narrated by Apple's design genius Jony Ive.
“The new MacBook is the result of a collective obsession to simplify its essential components and create the most efficient design possible.”
– Jony Ive
It's now time for some Apple Watch news!