The long wait for Apple’s premiere smartwatch is almost over. During an earnings call on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the Apple Watch will ship in April, so this is the closest to a definite date we’ve heard since the device was unveiled back in September. Given Apple’s M.O. on the launch of a new product, we can probably expect another press event showing off all the features of the Apple Watch in the next few weeks.
Now that one question has been answered there are still a few to be asked about the heavily hyped device, like battery life. This is the problem that has caused the long delay in getting the Apple Watch out of development and into stores, since the first generation models fell short of expectations. Reports have claimed that the company has a target goal of 19 hours per day of mixed use, but this seems rather meager since rivals like the Samsung Gear 2 pack two to three days power into one charge.
Of course, it takes a lot of power to do all of the tasks the Apple Watch promises like collaborating with your choice of health and fitness apps to track your workout. It will also let you pay in numerous retail locations via Apple Pay.
The Apple Watch will come in three editions and sell for prices starting at $349. That’s just for the basic model and price tags are expected to go up—way up—from there with versions in gold or stainless steel selling for sums like $5,000. And that’s before bling-happy jewelers start bedazzling the factory watches for the celebrities and athletes that always must have the latest, flashiest and most expensive. For those prices, the device ought to make coffee and walk the dog. Who knows—maybe there will be apps for that.
Another question about the Apple Watch is where customers will be able to buy one. With so many styles and colors to choose from, Apple isn’t likely to just ship an assortment to every big box retailer and let them fend for themselves. Since last fall we’ve been hearing rumors that Apple is recruiting and training more fashion-savvy employees to give shoppers a more personalized experience. This will be a big change from just walking into your local Apple Store or Best Buy and picking up an iPhone or iPad. It will be interesting to see which chains will have the privilege of stocking Apple’s latest must-have device.
You can bet that the makers of both competing smartwatches and fine Swiss timepieces will be watching carefully to see what kind of sales the Apple Watch racks up in its first year on the market. It remains to be seen whether customers will flock to pay several hundred dollars or more for a device that is guaranteed to become outdated in a year or two. Still, just the fact that this watch bears the name “Apple” will be good enough for the brand’s most devoted fans.