At a media-packed event in San Francisco on Monday, March 9, Apple CEO Tim Cook officially rolled out the details of the highly anticipated Apple Watch.
The wearable device has fueled speculation and rumors since Cook first teased it along with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September, and finally more has been revealed. As the first entirely new product line from the company since it released the iPad in 2010, Apple's smartwatch will be a test on many fronts, not the least of which being: Will it live up to the hype?
Here's our breakdown of the top takeaways from the announcement, including the functions, the look and the price tag (which ranges from hefty on up to outrageous).
Yes, there is a $17,000 version
Apple Watches won't all cost north of 10 grand, of course, but the tip-tip-top-of-the-line ones will.
The Apple Edition is solid 18-karat gold and it comes with a starting price tag of a solid $10,000. The yellow gold face with a classic blue or black band costs $15,000. And if you're eying the rose gold design with a red or gray leather band, set aside a cool $17,000.
The Edition will be sold in a limited run at select stores.
The regular prices
If you're not going whole hog for the Edition model, the other two "collections" will run you a lot less -- though still more than a lot of other smartwatches on the market.
Apple Watch Sport, the lowest tier option, starts at $349 for the smaller, 38 mm, face size. The 44 mm version is $399.
The stainless steel version, Apple Watch (that's what the company is somewhat confusingly calling the mid-tier model), will cost between $549 and $1,099, depending on which size and watch band you choose.
The official launch date
Preorders for Apple Watch open April 10. The watches will start shipping out on April 24 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK.
Put in your order here.
It's super customizable
In addition to mixing and matching the watch faces and bands, users will be able change up how the watch face looks.
There's the familiar Mickey Mouse analog clock design we've been seeing since last fall and a host of other options, from simple faces that make the Apple Watch look like a regular watch, to color-coded, info-packed readouts that include time, weather, calendar events and other things you might want to show up by default.
And it's packed with apps
Developers got insider access to the Apple Watch long before the rest of us and have already created thousands of apps for the wearable. Be sure you'll see a flood of new apps starting immediately.
Those will add to the baked in functions such as notifications, dictation to create voice and text messages, the ability to answer calls, Siri, Apple Pay and activity tracking that, among other things, reminds you to stand up when you've been sitting on your duff for too long.
It tells time, too
Oh yeah, remember telling time? That thing all watches do?
Cook said Apple Watch keeps time to within 50 milliseconds of UTC, the universal time standard. But that level of accuracy depends on it being regularly synced with an iPhone.
Which brings us to another major point...
It requires an iPhone to function
Apple Watch is not a standalone device. It needs to be linked with an iPhone to work. And not just any iPhone. Apple Watch pairs only with the iPhone 5, 5C, 6 and 6 Plus running iOS 8.2. The new software update became available for download Monday.
The smartwatch will connect via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which means that it will sync even if you're far enough from your phone to be out of Bluetooth range. But you can't be without a phone completely -- unless you just like the idea of a fancy high-tech bracelet that doesn't actually do much.
And speaking of being tethered...
The battery life
Apple claims that the battery is going to last all day -- 18 hours at a stretch. We'll have to see about that one.
Battery life has certainly be a prominent concern leading up to the launch. Just think about the last time your iPhone actually lasted all day.
It remains to be seen whether the watch will be able to keep pace with everything it's charged with doing. But as far as actually charging it, Cook said (at the very least) it'll be really easy to do. There's a magnetic charger that snaps into place on the back of the watch.
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