Apple had few surprises to deliver about its newest product, saying Monday that the Apple Watch goes on sale April 24 with a claimed 18-hour battery and base prices for its three models coming in at $349, $549 and $10,000.
The details came at a media event in San Francisco, where Apple also unveiled an update to the MacBook laptop. Apple will begin taking pre-orders for the smartwatch and showing them off in company stores by appointment on April 10.
Apple executives showed how the Watch could be used to hail an Uber car, swipe over a lock to get into a hotel room, send messages to or call friends and of course chat with digital personal assistant Siri. The Watch comes with a touch-screen and two side buttons. It must be paired with an iPhone, from where it draws apps and alerts.
“We think it’s quickly going to become integral to your day,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in announcing what he described as an 18-hour battery life.
The Watch Sport, with what Apple’s top design executive Jonathan Ive called a “strong and light” aluminum alloy body, will be the most affordable. It starts at $349 for the 38-millimeter size. Like for all other versions, the 42mm option costs $50 more. Buyers can choose from five colored synthetic rubber bands.
The next version up, simply dubbed the Watch, costs $549 to $1,099 depending on the size and the type of band selected. Apple said this version would have the most band options, including leather, stainless steel or synthetic rubber. The Watch itself comes in a “strong and beautiful” stainless-steel housing, Ive said in a video aired during the event about how the device is crafted.
The limited-in-quantity Watch Edition starts at $10,000 and will only be available in certain stores. These are with a gold alloy that Apple claims is twice as strong as normal gold. The straps and bands are similarly elegant.
Altogether, the Watch comes in 38 different looks — 19 of each size.
At an event in September, Apple had teased many of the Watch’s features, including the ability to share one’s heartbeat with friends. On Monday, fitness and workout tracking features were extensively detailed. Cook called the Watch, a “coach on your wrist” that would, among other things, notify you if you’ve been sitting too long.
The Watch face can be customized in millions of different ways with different calendar, background image or clock types. One of the most popular faces could end up being Mickey Mouse, whose white-gloved hands point to the time on a clock while his feet taps away seconds. Cook promised a smile every time you look at it.
Earlier Monday, Apple unveiled its thinnest and lightest MacBook, which goes on sale April 10 at a starting price of $1,299 and is available in gold. The new laptop features major upgrades to even the smallest of parts. The trackpad and keys on the keyboard depress more comfortably. For the first time, the MacBook won’t have a cooling fan inside it, which gives more room for a work day’s worth of battery. The retina display is the thinnest Apple’s ever done on a Mac.
HBO used the event to launch HBO Now, a $14.99-a-month streaming service that will have the network’s full inventory of shows and movies. For now, HBO Now is available exclusively in the U.S. on Apple TV, Apple’s App Store and PCs.
Apple also announced a price reduction for the Apple TV to $69 from $99.
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