After months of waiting, the Cupertino-based giant unveiled its much-rumored smartwatch on Tuesday, entering the new market wearable devices.
Apple Watch is the first new product to be developed and introduced under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook’s reign, which is already called “the next chapter” in the company’s history and a “breakthrough.”
The Watch, available in two sizes and with six interchangeable bands, comes in stainless steel, aluminum or 18K gold and is priced at $349. It launch is expected early next year.
The Apple Watch, which works in tandem with an iPhone, features such applications as messaging, music, vibrating notifications only the users can feel, photographs, Twitter, emails, maps, as well as Apple’s voice activated Siri personal assistant. The watch will be compatible with iPhone 5 and 6 models.
“We’ve been working on Apple Watch for a long time,” Tim Cook told attendees at the company’s iPhone 6 launch event in Cupertino, California on Tuesday. “It’s the most personal device we’ve ever created.”
“We love to make technology more personal and allow our users to do things they never imagined,” he added. It will redefine what people expect from a watch.”
To differentiate the watch from the array of other wearable devices already on sale, Apple emphasized its work developing its interface.
The key control is the “digital crown” — the small dial on the side of the watch that used to be for winding springs and setting time. Apple uses it as a dial control for scrolling and zooming; it’s also a home button controlled by pressing, says Seattle Times.
Apple Watch will also get a collection of apps include Starwood, Twitter, BMW and American Airlines. Developers can use the WatchKit platform to create programs for the device that take advantage of the larger battery and processing power in the iPhone.
“People are kind of scratching their heads on this watch, especially the fact that to successfully use the watch and to take advantage of its capabilities, you also have to have an iPhone,” said Daniel Morgan, vice president at Synovus Trust Company in Atlanta. “I don’t know if they’re in the right direction with this iWatch.”
Apple Inc. also revealed the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, which will run on iOS 8. While leaked images and specs for the iPhone 6 have trickled out over the past several weeks, details about the Apple Watch (including the name) have largely remained a secret. Many believed the name would be iWatch.
However, the reaction to the next-gen iPhones has been lukewarm, as the company was accused of trying to take after its many rivals HTC and Samsung, instead of creating something much more innovative. An image “Dear iPhone 6 users: Welcome to 2012”, which lists many of Apple’s latest features that have existed on Android phones for years, has even gone viral around the Internet.
Cook unveiled the watch after earlier introducing Apple Pay, the mobile payments system. Apple is partnering with credit-card companies including American Express Co., MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. for the service, which will be offered in the U.S. starting next month.