On Monday, March 9, at 1 pm eastern, the world will get a long-awaited introduction to the Apple Watch. Well, call it a re-introduction; we got the first look at it in September, when the company also revealed Apple Pay and its new iPhone 6 models. But Apple's announced "Spring Forward" event is expected to be all about the Apple Watch, giving us the specifics on when we can get it, how much it will cost, and what, exactly, it will do. Here's what we know right now.
When is the Apple Watch being released?
Sometime in April, as Tim Cook announced in January. On Monday, everyone should know for sure when to start lining up (or avoiding) their nearest Apple Store.
What will it cost?
The starting price is $349, Apple announced in September, but some versions of the watch could be far more expensive. There are three versions: the regular watch, the Watch Sport, and the Watch Edition. The Edition is the highest-end model, available in yellow gold or rose gold, and guesses of its price are all over the place — back in September, one estimate was $1,200, but now some are saying it could be several thousand dollars.
Can I get it in any color I want?
No. But there are so many colors of cases and bands that you can probably find something you like. On the website MixYourWatch, you can see what different combinations look like.
Will this be a replacement for my iPhone?
No — it's more of an add-on. The watch will communicate with your iPhone via Bluetooth, showing you when calls and messages are coming in, for example. But you'll still need an iPhone nearby in order to make phone calls.
What other nifty features does it have?
All sorts of things. Thus far, we know the Apple Watch will:
- Tell time
- Activate the display when it feels you raising your wrist
- Track your steps and other fitness data
- Allow you to draw and send small pictures to your friends (or enemies, if you like)
- Allow you to transmit your heartbeat to another user
- Support Apple's Apple Pay payment system
- Let you take phone calls through your wrist (instead of pulling out your phone)
- Let you access Siri
- Recognize the difference between a touch and a press
What have we learned about it since September?
We've learned a bit more about the technical side of the watch. For example, Apple is trying to ensure battery life of around 2.5 hours with "heavy" application use, according to 9to5Mac, and 4 hours of "exercise tracking." But then, with normal wear, the screen won't always be on, which should make for a much longer life — the site also reported that Apple was, as of last year, shooting for 19 hours of battery life, including those periods when it's asleep. Altogether, the battery life is looking to be a lot like that of other smartwatches, according to The Verge.
We're also learning about how apps will look on the watch. AppAdvice has created an Apple Watch apps site, WatchAware, that shows how a wide variety of apps will look and work on the Apple Watch.
On a more conceptual level, we've learned that Apple is really making a push for selling the watch as an accessory, not just a gadget. We already knew Apple hired watch designers from luxury brands like Tag Heuer to design the watch, as Vox's Kelsey McKinney reported last year. But in the past few weeks, it has also appeared on the cover of Self magazine and in a 12-page advertising spread in Vogue, signaling that Apple really wants to emphasize the watch's look, not just its functionality.