Six months after unveiling the Apple Watch, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) held its “Spring Forward” event, filling in the details we’ve been guessing at. We now know the launch date and we have confirmation that you’d better start saving your pennines if you want to buy one of those gold models — they start at $10k.
As is often the case at AAPL events, there was a surprise “one more thing” in the form of a new, ultra-thin Retina MacBook.
Apple Watch Launch Date
The Apple Watch will officially launch on April 24. That means you can expect to see the lines start forming around Apple Stores. Pre-orders (and demo versions) will be available starting April 10 at Apple Stores.
Apple Watch Pricing: Premium All the Way
We knew that the entry level Apple Watch would be priced at $349. Beyond that, not a clue. Some guesses put the price of the most expensive Apple Watch option at $19,999 — that’s for the Apple Watch Edition gold with gold link bracelet.
Perhaps more important is what the mid-range, Apple Watch stainless steel models would be going for. These are the ones that compete most directly against premium Android Wear smartwatches like the Moto 360 and LG’s G Watch R — both of which carry sub $300 price tags.
At the Spring Forward event, AAPL finally confirmed prices. Here’s what you can expect to pay for various Apple Watch editions:
- Apple Watch Sport (38 mm case): $349
- Apple Watch Sport (42 mm case): $399
- Apple Watch (38 mm stainless steel): $549-$1049 (depending on band)
- Apple Watch (42 mm stainless steel): $599-$1099 (depending on band)
- Apple Watch Edition: Starting at $10,000
Bottom line, the cheapest Apple Watch will set you back $349, the most expensive starts at $10K, and there are dozens of options and price points in between.
What About Battery Life?
Besides cost, this has been the biggest question about the Apple Watch. How long between battery charges? Most Android competitors can make it a full day on a charge, while longevity champ Pebble is good for a week.
Apple says 18-hour battery life for the Apple Watch. Not class-leading, but competitive.
AAPl played up the health features of the Apple Watch — including weekly reports and reminders to get up and get moving. We already saw most of its features during the September reveal, but functionality like Apple Pay, Siri and unlocking smart doors were demoed.
The MacBook Air looks positively hefty beside the new ultra-thin, 2 pound notebook AAPL unveiled. The MacBook is 24% thinner than the MacBook Air and sports a 12-inch Retina display, force-sensitive trackpad and has just a single port that doubles for both power and peripherals — oh, and it comes in gold.
Starting at $1299, it’s available April 10.
The Other Stuff
Still no new Apple TV box, but AAPL did kick off the event with news that Time-Warner’s (NYSE:TWX) HBO is launching HBO Now on demand streaming with Apple TV as the exclusive launch partner. And AAPl is dropping the Apple TV price to $69.
ResearchKit is a software framework that can turn an iPhone and HealthKit into a medical diagnostic device that could be used to assess symptoms and contribute to medical research on diseases like diabetes.
Apple also said iOS 8.2 — with Apple Watch support — is available today.
Now that the details have been filled in, will the Apple Watch be a runaway hit or a rare dud for the company? Or will it be a moderate success –not exactly an iPhone or iPad, but another steady contributor to the AAPL ecosphere and bottom line? I’ve made my viewpoint known (I remain in the latter camp), but now we have a date where Apple Watch sales data will replace speculation.
Let the countdown begin.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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