On Monday of this week, Apple held a highly anticipated press event in San Francisco during which they introduced a stunning new laptop, lowered the price of the AppleTV, and revealed their final plans for the launch of the Apple Watch. During the event, we not only received demonstrations of just what the Watch is capable of, we also had many of the burning questions about the device answered at long last. Here are five things we now know about Apple’s latest gadget.
When the Watch was first announced back in September we were told that it was coming in “early 2015.” Now we know exactly when it will be available for purchase, and even when we can begin preordering. Apple says that it will start taking preorders for the device on April 10 and that the Watch will be available to purchase in stores on April 24. On that date the Watch will actually go on sale in nine countries across the globe including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.
If you want to check out the Apple Watch before buying, demo units will be available in Apple stores starting on April 10 as well.
One of the other major mysteries that had been surrounding the release of the Apple Watch was price. We knew that it would “start at $349,” but what the various editions of the device would actually cost remained a mystery. Now it has been revealed that the Watch will run $349 for the 38mm Sport version, and $399 for the larger 42mm Sport model, both of which are made of lightweight, but very strong, aluminum. The standard Apple Watch, which is made out of steel, will cost $549-$1049 for the 38mm edition, and $599-$1099 for the 42mm version. Those prices vary greatly depending on the band that is selected to go along with the Watch itself. Finally, the special gold version of the Apple Watch will start at $10,000 and go up from there. Apple says that that version of the Watch will only be available in select stores.
There has been a great deal of speculation over the battery life of the Apple Watch for weeks now, and on Monday Apple revealed exactly what kind of performance we can expect out of their new wearable device. Tim Cook says we should expect “all day” battery life from the Watch with an estimated run time of about 18 hours of total use. According to Apple, that breaks down to 6.5 hours of audio playback, a 7 hour workout with the heart rate sensor active, or 3 hours of talk time when used as a speakerphone for your iPhone. Either way, as suspected, you’ll need to recharge your Watch every night.
Internal Storage Capacity
We always knew that the Apple Watch would have its own onboard memory for storing data, music, and apps, but it wasn’t clear exactly how much storage capacity it would have available when it shipped to consumers. Turns out Apple has given the device 8 GB of flash memory, with 2 GB being allocated for storing music directly on the Watch itself, and another 75 MB designated strictly for photo storage. The rest of that memory will be reserved for the Watch’s operating system as well as future expansion for native apps, which are expected to arrive later in the year. This onboard storage gives the Watch a bit of autonomy from an iPhone, allowing the user to listen to music without carrying their smartphone with them for example.
We never doubted that Apple would find a way to lure developers into making apps for the Watch, but it wasn’t always obvious how those apps would appear on the device’s tiny screen. After the press conference on Monday however it is becoming abundantly clear how we’ll use those apps and interact with them in new ways. Amongst the software that was shown off by Apple was a specially designed Uber app for hailing a ride, a cool implementation of Shazam for identifying music, and a slick-looking Instagram app for checking out your favorite feeds. We also saw apps for Twitter, eBay, American Airlines, WeChat, Target, EverNote and more. If you were worried about having a choice of apps to use with the device, those fears should be put to rest by now.
There are probably all kinds of things that we’ll continue to learn about the Apple Watch between now and its launch date, but these were the big questions that Apple answered. The only remaining question is whether or not you’re going to buy one?