The Apple Watch, set to go on sale in April, will be Apple Inc.’s first foray into smartwatches and also its first new product category since the iPad made its debut in 2010. Introduced in September, the gadget is expected to come with a number of new features and a wide selection of styles.
Apple has left many questions unanswered regarding features, price, battery and more. Full details may be revealed Monday during the company’s Spring Forward press event. Here’s a closer look at what we know now and what we expect to learn about the Apple Watch.
Several big companies are reportedly planning to release apps for the Apple Watch on launch. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are among them. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s app will be able to unlock hotel-room doors, and United Airlines plans to release an app to provide flight notifications. Even more are expected to hit the App Store when the Apple Watch launches, some of which can be previewed at WatchAware, a site dedicated to showcasing apps for the device.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Telegraph in London he expects the Apple Watch battery life to last all day. Beyond that, the company has remained mostly quiet. On the low end, the Apple Watch may last only 2.5 hours under constant active use. Combined passive and active use would bring the Watch closer to 19 hours. To stretch that, it may also ship with a feature called Power Reserve, which would reduce its power consumption and disable all features outside of timekeeping, according to the New York Times.
Ways To Communicate
The Apple Watch will display notifications from apps and a paired iPhone. It will enable users to communicate in new ways, through heartbeats, Siri, sketches and Yo-style taps. Users will also be able to transfer messages, emails and calls from the Apple Watch to an iPhone for longer conversations.
Health And Fitness
The Apple Watch will come with a myriad health features at launch, including a built-in heart-rate sensor. It will be able to track various types of activity throughout the day, such as moving and exercising. And if a user is not standing up or walking around much, it can be set to provide a gentle nudge with a couple of vibrations.
Size And Wrist Placement
The Apple Watch will come in two case sizes to fit most wrists: 38 millimeters and 42 mm. Both can be set up to be worn on either wrist.
The Apple Watch will start at $349 for the sport model, which features an aluminum case and Ion-X Glass for the touch screen, according to the company. But the firm hasn’t said where it plans to price the stainless steel-version and the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, which both feature a sapphire screen. The steel model could come in at between $499 and $549, according to a research note by Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster. Estimates place the gold model anywhere between from $5,000 to $10,000.
Research analysts are expecting total unit sales for all versions of the Apple Watch in a range between 8 million and 30 million in 2015.
Watch Band Options
The Apple Watch will have a number of interchangeable bands available for purchase. Among the options are five colors of the fluoroelastomer band, eight leather bands and three steel bands. Prices for the bands are expected to fall between $49 and $99 for the fluoroelastomer and steel bands. If Apple introduces gold options, their prices could go into the thousands of dollars.
Retail Store Changes
Apple is expected to make some changes to its retail stores when the Apple Watch launches, such as the introduction of glass display cases to create a more upscale buying experience. The Watch could also get its own retail space: Apple has been spotted setting up displays in high-end department stores in Paris and London.
Apple plans to launch the Apple Watch in April, Cook said during the company’s quarterly earnings call in January. A more precise date is expected to be announced Monday during the Spring Forward press event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, which will be live-streamed.