US tech firm Apple has revealed its new ‘Apple Watch’, a wristwatch with a touch screen and iPhone-style apps, at a convention in California. The watch will be available from early 2015.
The firm says the device, the most basic of which will retail for $349 (around £220), is of “a beautiful design that honours the rich tradition of precision watchmaking”, and will include a choice of ‘faces’ for wearers to choose from in its settings. There is an 18ct gold case version which it is thought will have a higher price point.
Apple Watch can, aside from telling the time, provide fitness information by monitoring the wearer’s heartbeat; text and call contacts; view photos; take dictation for notes and messages; and check emails, all by connecting wirelessly to the user’s iPhone.
Sensors inside the watch detect when the wearer is raising their wrist to look at the time or use some of its features, allowing the screen to power up just in time, and power off when not in use, to conserve battery life.
In a corporate video giving a detailed insight into the watch’s features, Apple’s vice president of design, British designer Jony Ive, said the firm had consulted “many of the world’s horology experts” to learn about the “cultural and historical significance of timekeeping”, during the development process.
The device goes head to head with Samsung Galaxy Gear, a similar watch launched some 12 months ago, but which only has a series of different colours of straps to choose from. Apple’s Watch offers a range of different leather, elastomer and stainless steel straps with innovative magnetic and mechanical clasps to choose from.
The Apple Watch requires connection to an iPhone (from iPhone 5 or newer) for use and will be sold in three models; Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.