While the Internet strains under the pressure of all the stories about Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new smartwatch and its revamped, even skinnier MacBook, the company's "Spring Forward" media event was as notable for the things it did not announce as the ones it did.
The company delivered details on Apple Watch, introduced a new medical research tool called ResearchKit, and showed off a new, sleeker MacBook with only a single port. It even lowered the price of Apple TV and announced a short-term exclusive deal to carry Time Warner HBO's new stand-alone service, HBO Now.
What Apple did not do was say anything about its plans for the recently acquired Beats Music. The company also failed to address whether it would ever consider adding touchscreen technology to its laptops, or whether it planned to update its Apple TV streaming device at some point going forward.
The Beats goes on
Since Apple bought Beats Music and Beats Electronics in May 2014, the company has been quiet as to its plans for the brand. In advance of the Spring Forward event, a number of websites that cover Apple news, including Re/code, were reporting that the company was seeking to relaunch Beats' subscription service, but at a lower price than the $9.99 per month industry leader Spotify charges.
A number of news outlets speculated that Apple would announce the relaunch at the March event, but that did not happen, likely because Apple has hit a snag in its negotiations with record labels over the monthly price, according to Billboard.
Negotiations for Apple's upcoming subscription service are evidence labels are standing firm on pricing. Industry sources say Apple has backed down from its effort to lower monthly pricing for its subscription service to $7.99 from $9.99. Apple would have to absorb the loss if it sets a price lower than the standard $9.99.
Now, speculation about the Beats announcement moves to Apple's June developer's conference.
Do not touch the laptop screen
While Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has pushed its OEM partners to offer touchscreen laptops since the launch of WIndows 8 in 2012, Apple has yet to integrate touch into any of its MacBooks.
While fans expect this to happen, and it's rumored every time Apple holds one of these new product introduction events, it may never actually happen.
Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering, told CNET in October 2014 that introducing Macs with touchscreens is something Apple has no plans to do.
"We don't think it's the right interface, honestly," he said. "Mac is sort of a sit-down experience."
The way Federighi explained it, it's not about whether touch is useful or not, but how people interact with devices. He told the tech news site that using touch on a Mac or laptop was "awkward" and uncomfortable, explaining that sitting at a desk and reaching forward was not as natural as holding an iPad or iPhone in your hand.
"We've really focused on building the best track pads we can, something where it feels [like] your posture's relaxed, it's a comfortable machine to use," he said. "And, of course, over the years we've experimented with all the technology, but we found it just wasn't good. [...] We're not all that interested in building one."
Never say never with Apple -- the iPad Mini was once once on the "never" list -- but it doesn't seem like touchscreen MacBooks, or Mac desktops for that matter, are coming anytime soon.
New Apple TV hardware
While Apple is one of the leading companies when it comes to streaming set-top boxes, its Apple TV hardware is downright old by technology standards, most recently updated in 2013. The technology still works just fine -- I've had the opportunity to test one that was provided by The Motley Fool -- but it's lacking features that its rivals Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Roku have.
My Foolish colleague Sam Mattera wrote an in-depth piece on the 5 Features the Next Apple TV Needs to Have. In it, he pointed out some of the deficiencies I noted when I spent a few days playing with the device earlier this month.
The most obvious of those is that Apple TV does not support any sort of gameplay, which is something Amazon's Fire TV does exceptionally well. Apple's device is also missing a voice search app -- Siri would be a logical addition -- which is another feature Fire TV offers.
Though no new hardware was announced, Apple did cut the price of Apple TV to $69 from $99. It's possible that move will serve as a precursor to the company launching new hardware back at the $99 price point. Apple has done this with its iPhone line, using older models sold at a lower price to counteract cheap competition.