Apple Watch unveiled: 'Next chapter in Apple's story'


As expected, Apple revealed its much anticipated smartwatch on Tuesday, garnering a standing ovation from the audience packed into Cupertino's Flint Center when Apple chief executive Tim Cook introduced Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch signifies Apple's late entry into the nascent wearable technologies market and is the first new product introduced under Cook's watch since Apple founder Steve Jobs passed away in 2011.

"It's the next chapter in Apple's story," said an emotional Apple CEO when he first introduced the Watch.

Little is still known about the new smartwatch. From what we can already observe, the Watch shares much of the iPhone's design language, including the power button on the side and the sapphire display's curved edges. The device also has a hardware dial similar to the crown seen on regular watches. Apple calls this the Digital Crown, which serves as a main control button to select options, zoom in and out of images, navigate menus, and more. It is also water-resistant, not waterproof as some originally believed, which means it is fine to keep the Watch on while cooking or washing the hands but not when going for a swim.

One of the more compelling features of the Apple Watch is its integration with Apple Pay, Apple's new mobile payment system that allows users to pay for goods at several retailers in the United States, including Whole Foods, Walgreens and Macy's, simply by tapping their Watch over the store's point-of-sale system.

For those looking to get their hands on the $350 smartwatch, which, by the way, has to be linked with an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C, they will not be able to get their own Watch until Apple ships the device "early next year."

"It just doesn't make any sense to me at all," says Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, who was surprised that Apple is not shipping the Apple Watch in time for the holiday shopping rush. "If you're going to launch a luxury item weeks before a holiday buying season starts and then tell people that it won't be available in time for the holiday season - what's the point?"

Until then, the Apple Watch still stands for technology industry watchers to see if it makes a dent in the wearable industry. Smartwatches have long been in the market for a couple of years. Apple's bitter rival Samsung has introduced six Gear smartwatches in the past, with the latest Gear S claimed to be a standalone device that can last at least two days on a single charge.

Battery life has been one of the major reasons smartwatches aren't breaking into the mainstream market just yet. The Kickstarter success Pebble smartwatch lasts for five days on a single charge, but that's because it runs on battery-sipping e-ink technology. Apple has released a few details on the Watch's battery life but says it needs to be connected to a MagSafe inductive charger every night.

As with many other smartwatches already available, the Apple Watch has sensors at the back for monitoring health and fitness and pushes notifications from the user's iPhone. Apple has also already made partnerships with third-party app makers, such as Starwood Hotels, which will let guests open their hotel room door by swiping their Watch in front of the doorknob.

The Apple Watch comes in three collections, the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and a ritzy Apple Watch Edition, which offers choices in 18-karat rose or yellow gold. It also has two sizes, one for men and another for women.

Wall Street didn't appear too happy after the Apple Watch announcement, with Apple stocks dipping by 37 percent to $97.99 in Tuesday's trading. However, the company's stocks were at an all-time high this month and the prior months leading up to the announcement of the Watch and the latest-generation iPhones. 

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