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Apple announces Apple Watch release date, price, more

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Apple had plenty to discuss at its “Spring Forward” event today—a new, thinner Macbook and a partnership with HBO among them—but the centerpiece of its conference was the Apple Watch, which finally received a price point and release date. 

The newest member of the Apple family is a little more than a month away, but it may cost you.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook released a number of details about the Watch, but here are the most important for those looking to purchase one in April.

When will it release? 

Apple will begin taking pre-orders for the Watch on April 10. The device will then actually release a couple of weeks later on April 24. The Watch will initially be available in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, China, and a few other locations.

How much will it cost? 

The Watch will come in three variations, each with varying—and gradually higher—price points.

  • The cheapest model, the Apple Watch Sport, will come in silver or space grey with different colored bands. it will be available for $349 at the 38 mm size and $399 for the 42 mm model.
  • The next model, the stainless steel Apple Watch will run $549 for the 38 mm model, $599 for the 42 mm version, and up to $1,049 or $1,099 depending on the band that is included.
  • And last but certainly not least is the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, with a starting price point of $10,000. And while Goldmember may be the only person who immediately went to pre-order this version, the high-end model is obviously intended for a specific audience. This version will only be available at select retailers—presumably to prevent from those window shopping at an Apple Store mall outlet from leaving their fingerprints all over it.
Stephen Lam/Getty Images

What is the battery life like?

Previous reports suggested the Apple Watch would last for a full day and they weren’t far off. Apple is promising an 18-hour standard day of battery life for the watch. Assuming users won’t need to access its features while they’re sleeping, this should be plenty of time for most users during the day.

So what does the Apple Watch actually do?

Most of the features Apple touted are familiar to any who saw the initial unveiling of the Watch. But Cook and other Apple employees dived more into a few specifics on the Watch’s capabilities:

  • Users will be able to customize their watch face to appear analog, digital, or something entirely different, like a flower and its petals representing the hours on a clock or an animated Mickey Mouse whose arms represent the time. The latter will likely not be used on many of those $10,000 models, though.
  • Glances is a new feature being introduced that will allow users to check quick snippets of information, like heart rate, with a quick swipe. The watch face can also be customized with other features like the user’s next meeting, a timer, and other small applications.
  • Wearers can respond to messages from iMessages and other clients directly on the Watch, and even take phone calls via the wristpiece for those hoping to live out their secret agent fantasies in day-to-day life. The Watch will also introduce a feature called Digital Touch, where users can send sketches they make on their Watch to someone else wearing a Watch. It’s not really practical—it sounds like a better-looking Pictochat—but at the very least it looks nice.
  • Health is also a major selling point for the Watch. While also providing certain readouts at a glance, the Watch can also provide weekly fitness reports on metrics like calories burned.
  • The Watch will also provide access to Siri. For anyone who actually uses Siri.
  • The Watch will be paired with third-party clients to offer specific use-case applications. Examples shown were tying in the Passbook app to allow checking in to flights with a ticket via the app and checking into and even opening the door to a hotel room, completing bypassing the front desk.
  • And of course it’s important to remember that Watches are paired to iPhones, so you’ll need one of those with iOS 8.2 to fully take advantage of the new hardware.

More specifics will likely be detailed between now and the Watch’s launch, and Apple will allow users to test out the device in store displays, as it does for most other Apple products. So whether all of this new information is enough to sway consumers, Apple hopes in-store test drives will be enough to convince you to drop several hundred—or several thousand—dollars on its smartwatch.