Apple Watch to debut in April, priced $349-17,000
Apple CEO Tim Cook finally announced the availability and pricing for much-discussed Apple Watch at an event in San Francisco.
Make calls, read email, control music, manage Instagram photos, keep up with your workout, pay for groceries, open your hotel room door. CEO Tim Cook says you can do it all from your wrist with Apple Watch - for 18 hours a day. That's how long the battery will last on an average day.
Pre-orders start April 10. The device costs $349 for a base model, while a luxury gold version will go for $10,000. Industry watchers are eager to see if Apple's version will be the tipping point for the sluggish smartwatch market. There was similar skepticism when Apple released the iPad in 2010, yet the company has successfully sold millions and its popularity has shaken up the PC market.
The watch will notify a wearer with a 'tap' when a new email arrives, for instance. You can also use the watch for phone calls - the watch is connected to your iPhone using Bluetooth. "I have been wanting to this this since I was five years old. The day is finally here," Cook declares.
Fitness features in the Watch include reminders to start moving when you've been sitting too long. A new Workout app will offer weekly summaries and goal suggestions for the upcoming week. Cook describes it as "having a coach on your wrist."
Apple says developers have been working on thousands of apps since the company released tools in November.
Users can get reservation information for their Starwood hotel room, and unlock the room door right from the notification on the watch - bypassing the front desk.
Using a service from Alarm.com, you can also open your garage door remotely.
Apple says the watch will have 18 hours of battery life across a range of activity - which Cook describes as "all day."
The watch is charged with a magnetic charger that clicks into place when it's near the back of the watch. That's so if you factor in charging it while you sleep, but you wouldn't be able to use sleep-tracking apps overnight.
Apple is also releasing an update to its iOS software for iPhones that includes an Apple Watch app. You won't be able to use it yet, but you can see some of the customization options and other features to come.
The entry-level aluminum model, called Sport, will be aimed at fitness enthusiasts. It will cost $349 for the smaller, 38-millimeter model and $399 for the larger, 42-millimetre model. There will be choices of colours and bands.
The stainless steel edition will start at $549 and go up to $1,049 for the smaller model, depending on the selection of watch band. The larger model will range from $599 to $1,099.
The Apple Watch Edition - the luxury model with 18-karat gold - will be available in limited quantities at select retail stores, for a price of $10,000.
Pre-orders will begin April 10. That's also when people will be to check them out in retail stores.
The watch will start selling on April 24 in 9 countries - the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom
The stakes are high for a company that just dislodged AT&T as one of the 30 stocks comprising the venerable Dow Jones industrial average. The watch is the first brand-new device Apple has launched without Steve Jobs.
Cook directed Apple's big event Monday in San Francisco, unveiling a shiny, skinny and silent MacBook weighing in at just two pounds that the company says is the world's most energy-efficient laptop. Apple also has unveiled a new deal between Apple TV and HBO, touted growth in iPhone sales and Apple Pay adoption, and announced a set of tools called ResearchKit to help hospitals and research centers develop apps for patients.
It cut the price of Apple TV by $30 to $69 and is partnering with HBO to offer its stand-alone streaming service, HBO Go, on Apple devices in time for the "Game of Thrones" premiere April 12. It will cost $14.99 monthly. Cook said 2,500 banks are now signed up with Apple Pay, which is available in 700,000 retail locations across US.