Apple’s eagerly awaited 'Spring Forward' event is done and dusted - and as promised, the company has at long last revealed pricing and launch details for its upcoming Apple Watch wearable.
Although the event also saw the launch of a new super-slim MacBook, the day was all about the Apple Watch. Apple announced that its first-ever wearable device will be available for pre-order from April 10, with the watch hitting the Apple Store on April 24.
Pricing and availability
Pricing for the Watch will vary depending on which model, size and band a customer chooses. The entry-level Apple Watch Sport starts at $349 USD for the 38mm size, and $399 USD for the slightly larger 42mm version, both of which feature an aluminium body.
If you’re interested in the mid-range, stainless steel Apple Watch with a sapphire display cover, expect to pay between $549 and $1048 USD for the 38mm option and $599 to $1099 USD for the 42mm model.
Finally, for the one percenters, the luxury gold-plated Apple Watch Edition will be priced from $10,000, up to a staggering $17,000 USD. In case you were wondering, the Edition model functions exactly the same as the cheaper versions of the Watch; it just happens to come with 18-karat gold plating (and the knowledge that you are somehow better than other people because you own a limited-edition piece of overpriced opulence).
The Watch will launch in nine countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, China and Hong Kong. Unlike the iPhone and iPad, at this stage it appears there won’t be any wireless carrier involvement in the initial launch.
In addition to being available from Apple retail stores, customers will also be able to try on the Watch at selected high-end department stores, such as Selfridges in London and Galeries Lafayette in France, from April 10.
Battery life and apps
Aside from pricing, the biggest question about the Apple Watch concerned the device’s battery life; something that the company had worryingly neglected to mention during the smartwatch’s unveiling last September. Apple claims most wearers will enjoy a full day’s worth of use (approximately eighteen hours) before needing to recharge, which can be done via a magnetic charger.
Apple also used the event to showcase some of the specially designed apps that will be available for the Watch, including offerings from Uber, Twitter, American Airlines and SPG. Users can download apps through the accompanying Apple Watch app for smartphones, which will be available for iPhones running the brand-new iOS 8.2 software update.
But will it sell?
Adding today’s new info to what we already know about the Watch, it’s clear Apple hasn’t cut corners in its quest to market a wearable that does it all. CEO Tim Cook called the Watch ‘the most personal device we’ve ever created’ and ‘a beautiful object’, perhaps emphasising the aesthetic qualities of the device over what it can actually offer consumers.
Smartwatches have remained more of a novelty product than an essential piece of tech, and the Apple Watch still doesn’t do anything that couldn’t be achieved by pulling your iPhone out of your pocket. But judging by the hype that Apple has generated so far, we won’t be surprised when the Watch becomes the must-have accessory for those who can afford it.