Wearables

Price Watch

Apple reveals the release date, pricing and more for its smart timepiece.

Spending $10,000 on a gold watch is routine for many high-rollers. But who will spend $10,000 on a gold Apple Watch? We’ll find out the answer soon, as Apple has revealed pricing, release dates and much more for its highly anticipated wearable.

The company’s new timepiece will be released on Friday, April 24. Two weeks earlier, on April 10, the company will start accepting pre-orders for the device, and will also allow consumers to demo the Apple Watch in-person at Apple stores.

CEO Tim Cook insinuated at the company’s March 9th presentation that of the watch’s three different tiers, the device itself will be the same, and the only difference will be the band and case. The Apple Watch Sport, which has an aluminum case and a sport band, will retail at $349 for the 38mm model and $399 for the 42mm model. The mid-level Apple Watch, which has a stainless steel case and various bands (rubber, leather, steel links, Milanese loop and more) will retail from $549-$1,049 and $599-$1,099 for the respective sizes. The varying costs are due to the choice in bands.

At the high-end is the Apple Watch Edition, which comes in rose and yellow 18-karat gold cases and will start at $10,000. This version will only be available in limited quantities and at select Apple stores.

Other details that were revealed prior to the watch’s release:

  • The watch will have 18 hours of battery life – what the company says is an “all-day battery” for its ability to last throughout your waking hours. The watch is charged with a magnetic charger that attaches to the back of the device.
  • It was already known that users need an iPhone for the Apple Watch to work. Apple revealed that the watch will work with iPhone 5 and later models. Also, it will communicate with the phone via Wifi and Bluetooth, which means the two devices don’t have to be in the immediate vicinity of each other.
  • Significant third-party apps will be available right from the start, including social media sites Facebook, Instagram and more. Other functionality: the ability to hail a cab with Uber, check into airline flights, open your hotel room and even monitor your house.
  • Apple Watch will have the ability to send and receive phone calls in addition to emails and messages. There are a number of built-in apps: map navigation, photos, Siri, Apple Pay and more.

The revealed pricing and features are unlikely to sway sales projections for the device, which have generally been pegged at 20 million worldwide in 2015. A recent survey by Adobe of 1,000 U.S. consumers (before the Apple Watch’s pricing was revealed) found that out of consumers who didn’t own a smartwatch, more than a quarter were likely to buy one in the next six months, and off that group two-thirds would buy an Apple Watch. – C.J. Mittica

Mobile Innovations

Mobile World Congress has quickly cut out a reputation as the pre-eminent mobile tradeshow, home to the latest innovations in smartphones, tablets and, of course, wearables. Here were three major developments from the show, which took place March 2-5 in Barcelona:

  1.  LG and HTC revealed new smartwatches, but the surprising top entry was from Huawei, a Chinese phone maker. The device, which runs on an Android OS, is sturdy and visually appealing, and looks like a classic timepiece. It should be released by mid-year.
  2.  Virtual reality headsets are gaining steam, and HTC scored a major surprise by delivering the previously unannounced Re Vive. The headset floored showgoers with its technical capabilities; a partnership with noted videogame company Valve will certainly help as well.
  3.  Unexpected new products keep emerging in the smart device category. Unusual-but-intriguing new products at MWC included a fuel-cell charger that creates its own electricity and smart luggage that self weighs and can be tracked with a smartphone.