Apple hosted a media event in California this week where CEO Tim Cook and a whole host of others took to the stage to announce, among other things, a reduced Apple TV, an exclusive HBO Now partnership, a brand new line of MacBooks, a medical research framework called ResearchKit, and, of course: the Apple Watch.
Following the previous announcement Tim Cook took to the stage to talk about “the new edition to the Apple family”. He explained how the new device is not just with you, “but on you”.
The early section of the presentation ran down the already known features, highlighting its materials: anodized aluminum, stainless steel, and the 18-karat gold Watch Edition, which Cook described as “jaw-dropping.”
He goes onto describe the Watch as the “most advanced timepiece ever created,” with “revolutionary new ways to connect with others,” as well as being a comprehensive health and fitness companion.
Beyond that, Cook steadily revealed a few more interesting details of the Watch – such as its accuracy. The Watch can tell the time accurately within 50 milliseconds on the UTC scale.
He also touched on glances, a feature of the Watch that allows the wearer to check things quickly – things that they check most frequently. This was demonstrated by swiping up to reveal weather information, calendar details, music controls, and heart rate.
Speakers and Mic
Cook then moved into some more exciting features. He revealed that the Watch would include a built in speaker and microphone, meaning users could receive calls on the watch. “The day is finally here!” said Cook. “I’ve wanted to do this since I was 5 years old.”
Other day to day activities were also demonstrated, showing the ability to read full emails, mark them or delete them.
New ways to communicate
The big note that Cook appeared to want people to come away with was that the Watch offers new ways to communicate – things that had never been done before. This was demonstrated by pressing the side buttons to bring up friends. Digital Touch was also demonstrated, though previously noted in last year’s initial announcement. This allows users to connect to others’ Apple Watch, and sketch images, which would appear in animated form on the other persons Watch.
You can also tap the Watch to get their attention, or send a hearbeat. “It’s an incredibly intimate way of telling someone you’re thinking of them,” said Cook using almost exactly the same words as at the Watch’s launch.
And there’s more…
The Apple Watch can also tell its users to get up if they’ve not moved in awhile, send reminders like a friend would, send weekly fitness summaries on a Monday, as well as setting new targets. “It’s like having a coach on your wrist,” says Cook.
He also discussed the workout apps and showed how it would track activity like a gym-based machine with detailed metrics showing calories, distance, and time.
The Watch can also communicate with Siri – even by saying ‘hey Siri’ – previously only available when an iPhone or iPad was plugged in and on charge.
It was also revealed that any notification that can be displayed on the iPhone can be displayed on the Watch.
Further details include connectivity – the Watch can connect to wifi as well as to Bluetooth and can take phone calls at home even out of range of an iPhone’s Bluetooth signal.
As part of the announcement it was also revealed that iOS 8.2 would be released today, and would feature a new Watch App Store. This will display the various apps that can be downloaded, alongside how-to videos.
Though there was no ‘Power Reserve’ mode as previously rumored, which would allow the battery to operate as a timepiece if it didn’t have enough battery for full use, Cook described “all-day battery life across activities,” which equates to 18 hours across a typical day – “works for most people, I think,” said Cook.
The pace quickened, and new details came faster – including its charger system, a kind of disk like pad that connected to the back of timepiece magnetically, clicking into place.
Pricing, models, and release date
It was announced that the Apple Sport would come in anodised aluminum, in either silver or space grey coloring, with numerous colorful bands. It starts at the previously reported $349 for the 32mm edition and $399 for 42mm.
The Apple Collection would come in stainless steal, either in traditional finish, or space black. This would be priced between $549-1049 depending on what kind of watch band was selected. This also came in 32mm, while the 42mm would cost $50 more.
Finally, the Watch Edition, also in 32mm and 42mm, with 18-karat solid gold casing and ustom design bands, including Clasps and buckles also made of solid gold would be made available in limited quantities. This would be priced at a gargantuan $10,000 from select retail stores, really targeting the high-end of the Watch market.
The devices will be available for pre-order from stores from April 10, and will initially only be available in Australia, Canada, China, France , Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States.
“The Apple Watch is coming,” concluded Cook.