Apple Watch: Everything We Learned

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple held its “Spring Forward” media event in San Francisco on Monday, March 9, and as expected, the company revealed many new details about its upcoming Watch product. Here’s a quick rundown of everything that Apple announced about the Watch.

Apple Watch prices

Apple Watch Sport: As expected, the aluminum version of the wrist-worn wearable will be the entry-level model with a starting price of $349 for the 38-millimeter size, and $399 for the 42-millimeter size.

Apple Watch: The stainless steel version will be the mid-tier model with prices ranging from $549 to $1,099 depending on the size and band options selected.

Apple Watch Edition: Not surprisingly, the 18-karat gold Watch Edition versions are the most expensive with a starting price of $10,000. There will be a limited quantity of these models available in select stores.

Apple Watch availability

The Apple Watch will be available for preorder through Apple’s online and physical retail stores starting on April 10 in nine different countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. In the retail stores, Apple will display the Watch in a glass covered table similar to what was seen when it showcased the device at the Colette boutique in Paris last year. Customers will be able to schedule an appointment to try on the device in the Apple Store.

On April 24, the Watch will become available online and by reservation in Apple’s retail stores and through select authorized resellers in China and Japan. A full list of third-party retailers that will carry the Apple Watch can be found here.

Source: Apple.com (screenshot of live media event)

Source: Apple.com (screenshot of live media event)

Apple Watch battery life

Apple revealed that the device will have an “all-day battery life” of 18 hours on a single charge. According to Apple, all-day battery life consists of the following tasks: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours. Other usages may reduce or extend the battery life significantly.

Testing conducted by Apple found that a single charge could handle up to three hours of talk time, up to 6.5 hours of audio playback, up to seven hours of workout usage (with the heart rate sensor on), up to 48 hours of watch usage (five time checks per hour), and up to 72 hours in “Power Reserve” mode (four time checks per hour). Per Apple, it will only take 2.5 hours to charge the Watch to 100% capacity with the MagSafe charger. An 80% charge will take 1.5 hours.

Apple Watch features

Apple CEO Tim Cook emphasized the notification features of the Watch by noting that “every notification you can receive on iPhone can be received on the Watch.” Apple demonstrated how the Taptic Engine sends notification alerts via discreet taps. The company also highlighted how users can receive phone calls on the device, a feature that Cook said he has been wanting since he was five years old. Glances – the feature that gives users small digestible bits of information – are scrolled through by swiping up on the Watch face.

The ability to use Apple Pay on the Watch was also highlighted at the event. As demonstrated during the presentation, tapping the side button brings up a user’s cards. After the user hold the device near an NFC reader, the Taptic Engine vibrates in order to confirm the transaction was completed.

Cook also emphasized the health- and fitness-related features of the device, noting that “it’s like having a coach on your wrist.” Besides tracking a user’s daily activity via the Activity app, the Apple Watch also provides a detailed weekly activity report with suggestions on how to improve.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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