Apple has finally unveiled its smart watch, even though its release date is still a ways off – and no, it’s not called the iWatch. Say hello to the Apple Watch, as it’s officially called, the first attempt by the company at offering wearable technology. It’s far from the first smart watch to be made available, as the likes of Pebble and Cookoo have already long beaten it to market. But none of the existing watches has achieved any mainstream traction, meaning the Apple Watch will be the biggest success – or most visible failure – in the space to date. The key questions for now include its price points, its specs, and the hullabaloo regarding the various watch bands Apple is planning to offer.
There was no reason for Apple to announce a price for the Apple Watch this far ahead of its release date, other than to gauge reaction in advance. With that in mind the announced $349 price tag may find its way to a lower figure by the time its launches. Still, don’t look for it to fall any lower than, say, $299. Apple clearly isn’t aiming for the low end of the market here. Two different core models are being offered, with watch faces measuring 1.5 and 1.7 inches. It wasn’t made clear if the latter will be more expensive, and if so, by how much. But the interchangeable bands appear to be the profit center of the Apple Watch. We expect it to come with at least one standard or sports band included, but the higher end bands are clearly being positioned as premium accessories.
As for the Apple Watch release date, widespread expectation was that the product would arrive in time for the 2014 holiday season. Instead Apple now says that the release date will come in “early 2015” which means that showing it off now may have been more about driving iPhone 6 sales in the mean time (you’ll need a current or fairly recent iPhone model to put it to use). In the mean time, iWatch this space.