An couple of days ago, in San Fransisco, Tim Cook detailed the latest Apple product: The Apple Watch. The last time Apple unveiled a wholly new type of product was the iPad launch back in 2010 and we all know how that turned out: suddenly, tablets went from being tech’s white elephant to things that people wanted to own. Today’s announcement is, make no mistake, A BIG DEAL for wearable technology of all kinds not just the Apple Watch itself.
There was not much about the watch’s functionality; Apple rehashed the use cases and apps that it hinted at last fall. But it did give some more specifics and here’s what you need to know:
1) Apple Watch Pricing
We’ve known for months that the entry-level Apple Watch would start at $349. What we didn’t know was how high and far would Apple push the price. Pretty high, it turns out: The next tier runs from $550 to $1,100, depending on size or the band choice and the 24-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will start at $10,000. Start as apparently the most expensive Apple Watch would cost $19,999. There will be limited quantities of the gold watch available and it won’t be sold everywhere, although CEO Tim Cook didn’t say what that meant, exactly.
2) Environment Interaction
Apple showed off today some of the apps that will be available for the watch. An app from Uber can be used to summon a car. The Starwood Hotel’s app can be used to unlock hotel rooms. The Alarm.com app lets users open their garage doors with the watch. To find watch apps, users must go into the Apple Watch app available on iPhones running iOS 8.2, which is now available for download. Apple executives didn’t say how many apps would be available at launch. Oh, did I mention the BMW app?
3) Battery Life
18 hours. Or so Apple says. Tim Cook elegantly disposed of the question about battery life in a few sentences, saying that it could last up to 18 hours in a typical day. This is less than other smartwatches on the market. Also, company claims of battery life are generally optimistic and it has yet to be seen how much Apple’s “typical day” resembles that of actual Apple Watch customers.
4) On Sale Date
After the price, the big news was its availability. Pre-orders start on April 10th and the watch will be on sale April 24th. It will be available in the United States as well as Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.K.
5) Apple Watch Sizes
The resolution for Apple Watch’s two “retina displays.” The UI documentation revealed that the smaller, 38mm device will be 272 x 340 pixels and the larger, 42mm one will be 312 x 390 pixels. That comes out to the same aspect ratio (4:5).
6) Apple Watch Apps
Twitter will be one of the very first apps users can experience when Apple Watch becomes available on April 24th. Among Twitter there is Pinterest, Maps, Nike, a music player, photos (the Watch can also act as your iPhone camera’s viewfinder). You’ll also be able to use it for calls, emails or even airline notifications. Oh, and it works with Apple Pay.
7) Most Expensive Apple Watch
The most expensive Apple Watch you can buy, if you were wondering, is the 38mm yellow gold Watch Edition with bright red modern buckle. Yours for £13,500, at today’s conversion rate, slightly over 19,999 USD.
8) The Screen
The iPhone 6 may not have got the supremely tough and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass screen we’d been hoping for but the Apple Watch did. It is a touchscreen with a difference: it can detect force as well as mere touch. That means one can tap to select something or press harder for what Apple calls “Force Touch” – it’s a bit like the right button on a mouse and will be used to quickly access certain functions, depending on the context.
As of today, developers can now make apps for Apple Watch. Well, they’re not separate apps so much as they are extensions of pre-existing iPhone apps and there is not yet a lot of flexibility in the WatchKit toolset — but it looks like that’ll change starting next year.
10) An iPhone Is Required
At (almost) all times. In Apple’s own words, Watch apps extend iOS apps. “You begin your Watch app development with your existing iOS app, which must support iPhone.” That’s in part because Watch apps’ processing power is all coming from the iPhone. Apple says that “as the wearer interacts with the Watch App, Apple Watch and iPhone pass information back and forth. Key phrase from Apple’s documentation: “Apple Watch apps complement your iOS apps; it does not replace them.
Oh, by the way, did you know that just 1 gold apple watch costs as much as 50 of Pebble’s latest smartwatch, Pebble Time??