This is Apple’s first major product announcement since the 2010 introduction of the iPad tablet. Like the tablet that has exploded into everyone’s consciousness, Apple is hoping that lightning will strike again with the Apple Watch.
Apple is offering 3 product categories with its new watch line:
- Apple Watch (20 models) – This category features a stainless steel case with a sport band in white, black, Milanese Steel (Apple’s word for mesh), black or blue or pink with Modern Buckle, black, blue or brown Leather Loop, stainless steel case and band in silver or black. These come in 38mm and 42mm case sizes and also feature the deluxe sapphire crystal. Prices range from $599 to $1099.
- Apple Watch Sport (10 models) – This category is for the basic watch with an aluminum case and a sport band that comes in two face sizes: 38mm and 42mm. Prices range from $349 to $399. Apple offers colors in: white, blue, green, red and black.
- Apple Watch Edition (8 models) This is the category only specialty sites will sell from $10,000 to $17,000. The lower price entry is for an 18-Karat Rose Gold Case with white or black sport band or yellow gold case with Modern buckle in black, red, midnight blue that sells for the top price. This category also offers a 38mm case size.
These watches offer much in the way of features. Here are just a few of them:
Emails and Notification on the watch face can be read directly without having to drag the iPhone out of your pocket or purse. The Apple Watch features a built-in mic so you can make verbal commands through Siri functionality.
Knurled Crown so that you can change pages. This button doubles as a scroll wheel and home button.
Multiple Apps as the App store features many built-in apps to make this watch your own. You can use this watch as a fitness tracker to monitor your heart every 10 minutes., change the heating level in your home, control your TV remotes, etc.
GPS built-in can provide barometer-based elevation readings as well as location information.
Apple Pay can be used without going directly to your iPhone.
Changeable Watch Faces so you can select any kind of watch face such as a standard analog face, one with Mickey Mouse, or various digital displays.
Be advised the features noted here are just the tip of the iceberg. Many developers are producing a myriad of apps for this watch.
Apple has reported that the built-in battery only lasts 18 hours before charging is necessary. A charging cable magnetically attaches to the rear of the watch for this purpose. Most other smartwatches need to be charged every 1-2 days except the just- announced Pebble Time Steel that offers a 10-day charge cycle.
The Apple Watch only works with iPhone 5 models or later with iOS version 8.2. Most other smartwatches work only with Android phones. The only exception is the Pebble watch line that can support both iOS and Android phones.
If you are in the market for a smartphone watch that is truly versatile, there are many watches available to you at substantially lower cost than the Apple Watch. Most watches in this category sell for $200 – $350. The Apple Watch goes on sale April 24, with displays in Apple stores beginning on April 10.
It should be interesting to see if Apple can maintain its announced price point considering the competition.