10 Mar Is the Apple Watch Just a Phone for My Wrist?
The Apple Watch was originally announced in September, but yesterday’s event gave us information, pricing, and release dates.
In the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he’s wanted to answer the phone by using his watch since he was five. The Apple Watch will allow him to do just that. But for consumers will this replace their phones, their watches, or both?
Features of the Apple Watch
The watch is tied to an iPhone 5 or later, so it is not yet ready to be used on its own. The battery lasts 18-hours so users are encouraged to charge the watch overnight. Apple Watch has a built in apps including Siri, a photo app, and maps. It also has a heart-tracker which is LED-based. With activity tracking, the watch will even notify you if you’ve been sitting too long. When Apple pushes the 8.2 update, users will be able to download other apps onto their phone, then sync them with the watch using Bluetooth.
Social media sites; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest will all be available. Uber will have an app which allows users to hail a cab through their watch. Apple Pay will also be available. American Airlines will have an app which allows users to check into their flights and display their boarding passes on the screen. The W Hotel Chain will let users unlock their rooms using their watch.
Additionally smart home functionality will be controlled through the watch using the Alarm.com app. This will give users access to their security cameras, lights, locks and doors from a remote location.
It also allows users to send messages, read email and answer calls directly from their wrist.
Apple Watch Pricing
The Apple Watch Sport is an aluminum version which ranges from $349 to $399. The Apple Watch is a steel version ranging from $549-$1,099. The Apple Watch Edition is the gold version which starts at $10,000. Prices vary based on options such as rubber or leather and links or mesh.
It’s noteworthy that while $10,000 for a wearable device seems pricey, it is within the normal price range fro an $18k gold watch. The most expensive Apple Watch costs $17,000 and has a rose gold design with a gray leather band. It is limited edition, and will only be sold at select locations.
While the Apple watch was the headliner for the event, other Apple products shined as well. Apple announced a 12-inch, two pound, completely redesigned MacBook. They’ve reworked the functionality on the keyboard to improve the accuracy.
Apple also reduced the price of Apple TV and announced their partnership with HBO to offer HBO Now, a standalone streaming service. At this time HBO Now is only available through Apple TV or an iOS app. The service costs $15 a month and is here just in time for the new season of Game of Thrones.
The ReasearchKit may be the most important announcement. It will allow users to use their iPhone as a medical diagnostic device, and to send the data to labs all over the world. This opt-in only feature will not give data to Apple, but will integrate with currents apps such as one which tracks the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
How to Get an Apple Watch
Pre-orders for the Apple watch will begin on April 10. The watches will start shipping on April 24. Interested customer can pre-order on Apple’s online store. For customer’s who want to try before they buy, try-on appointments can be made at Apple Stores. By purchasing through Apple either in-store or online, a Personal Setup will be offered.
Apple Watch can also be tried-on in Paris at Galeries Lafayette, in Tokoyo at Isetan, or in London at Selfridges. After April, 24 it will also be available at select department stores and boutiques in major cities.