After months of speculation, the Apple Watch is finally here. The device was first featured during Apple’s launch event for the iPhone 6, and was subsequently the star of Apple’s March 9 live stream event. Since then, Apple fans have been speculating about just how feature-rich Apple’s first smartwatch would be when it finally hit stores. If you want to know everything there is to know about the Apple Watch, read on. We’ve got all the info you need on pricing, features, specs, and release date.
1. Apple Watch: Price
There are three main “collections” of Apple Watch. The base level is the Apple Watch Sport, made from aluminum. It comes in silver or space gray, in your choice of 38mm or 42mm sizes. The smaller version costs $349, while the larger one will cost $399.
The regular Apple Watch is made from stainless steel, and comes in a steel finish or a black-toned finish. There are variety of loops, bands, and bracelets to choose from with this model. The price you pay for this variant will depend on the band you choose to go with your face. The 42mm watches start at $599, but run all the way up to $1,099. The 38mm watches run from $549-$1,049.
If you want a solid gold face, the Apple Watch “Edition” starts at $10,000. It will be available in extremely limited quantities. It will also only be available through select retail stores.
An entry level price tag of $349 is much higher than many other smartwatches on the market, but perhaps that’s not so surprising. Apple is using some pretty premium materials to build their watches, and Apple does have a reputation for making expensive products. The Pebble smartwatch retails for a mere $99, with the more premium Pebble Steel on sale for around $199. An LG G Watch will set you back about $229, while a Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch will cost you around $299.
2. Apple Watch: Key Specs
All Apple Watches come in your choice of 38mm or 42mm sizes. This makes it easy to find a size that fits both your budget and the shape of your wrist. Through iOS 8.2, which will be released on March 9, iPhone users can browse and download apps for their Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch is water-resistant, but not totally waterproof. The Apple Watch connects with your iPhone over both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. When you are at home and connected to your home Wi-Fi network, that means you don’t have to keep your Apple Watch within Bluetooth distance of your iPhone to keep your Apple Watch up-to-date with all the notifications on your phone.
The battery of the Apple Watch is designed to last 18 hours, so you should anticipate having to charge it daily.
3. Apple Watch: Coolest Features
The Apple Watch has a lot of cool features. As discussed by Tim Cook at last year’s iPhone keynote, the Apple Watch will act as a notification accessory for all relatively new iPhones. That means the Apple Watch will work with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 5S.
The coolest feature is arguably Apple Pay, which lets you pay for purchases using only your watch. As of this writing, Apple Pay is accepted at 700,000 places in the US. You can see a list of some of Apple Pay’s retail partners on the Apple website. Apple Pay can even be used with select Coke vending machines, with Coke planning to have about 100,000 Apple Pay-compatible machines in service by the end of this year.
Beyond Apple Pay, the Apple Watch will be able to be used as your room key at select hotel chains. The Apple Watch can also take text message dictation for replying to messages quickly while you are on the go. Finally, the Apple Watch is a fitness device. It can read your heartbeat, and also helps you to track your activity throughout the day.
The “Glances” feature of the watch lets you quickly swipe the display to check your heart rate, the weather, or other key items that you want to check on during the day. You can also receive calls on your watch, or read full email texts on that tiny screen.
The new “Digital Touch” technology lets you send doodles or even your own heartbeat to a friend who also has an Apple Watch. Digital Touch also lets you tap on your own watch to signal to a friend that you need their attention. According to Tim Cook, “Any notification you can receive on your iPhone, you can receive on Apple Watch.” And yes, Siri has been integrated into the Apple Watch.
4. Apple Watch: Release Date
The Apple Watch will be released in April 2015. Preorders open April 10, with watches being released on April 24. During the live stream event, Tim Cook assured reporters and viewers at home that the Apple Stores would have plenty of staff on hand to educate and train new Apple Watch owners on how to get the most out of their device.
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