Apple on Monday unveiled the Apple Watch, again, after announcing it initially during the September iPhone 6 event. This represents a brand new product category for Apple, one that’s expected to add even more cash to its gold coffers. After revealing some of the main features of the Watch during the iPhone 6 event, the company returned to further expand on the device’s specs, features, and availability details.
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“Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever created,” the company said, repeating an idea it presented to the press since September.
Tim Cook on stage went through various Apple Watch features, including precise timekeeping, watch personalization (whether it’s watchface or device customization), support for new gestures, including Glances, Digital Touches (drawing on the screen and sharing the drawings with contacts) and Force Touches, and support for phone calls.
“You can also, with the built-in speaker and microphone, you can receive calls on your watch! I have been wanting to do this since I was five years old,” Cook said.
The Watch is also supposed to help out with health-monitoring and fitness-tracking, offering interesting features such as delivering reminders that you’ve been sitting for too long during your day. The device even sends you a little health report at the end of the week. “It’s like having a couch on your wrist,” Cook said.
Other software features include support for a variety of apps that are already available on the iPhone and/or iPad, including Apple Pay and Siri, as well as support for a variety of notifications from app created by developers using the WatchKit tool.
The device is also a fashion object, or at least that seems to be Apple’s message. Buyers will be able to choose from a variety of models, and customize their appearance as they see fit.
One of the main features of the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown button, which can be used both to initiate certain activities, such as activating Siri, and to scroll through lists, photos and apps. The side button underneath the crown can be used for Apple Pay payments, which are activated with a simple double tap on the button (the credit cards will be stored on the Apple Watch).
Interestingly, the device will be able to even open doors, at least in hotels that support the technology, as Apple demoed on stage – with just a press of a button, a user could simply open the door of his or her hotel room using the appropriate app on the device.
Apple also demoed more complex applications on stage, including accessing a live video feed of someone’s home garage, albeit these features might be consuming too much energy on such a small gadget.
In order to make the Apple Watch actually work as expected, users will need to install iOS 8.2 on their devices, and then install the official Apple Watch application on their iPhones.
Apple further revealed that the Apple Watch will be able to offer up to 18 hours of battery life in a typical day, reminding potential buyers the device also comes with a special MagSafe charger.
The three Apple Watch versions, including Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition will be available in stores soon, with prices starting at $349/399$, $549 to $1,049 / $599 to $1,099 and $10,000. (depending on screen size and band choices), respectively.
Online pre-orders will be available starting April 10th, with Apple stores also displaying the device on that date so that buyers can try them out before they buy. The device should then launch on April 24th.