The Apple Watch will allow users to receive messages, answer phone calls and check and respond to emails, among other features.Cupertino, Calif.--The Apple Watch finally was unveiled Monday, with April 10 slated as the date that consumers can both pre-order the smartwatch and experience one in stores.

During an event held at its Cupertino headquarters and live-streamed over the Internet, Apple said its much-anticipated smartwatch will become fully available April 24 in the United States, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The Apple Watch will be available to preview at three stores outside the U.S. on April 10 and be sold there at shop-in-shops, as well as at “boutiques in major cities across the world,” including Maxfield in Los Angeles, a high-end store that carries both new and vintage clothing, shoes and accessories.

Apple initially will offer three collections of its 38mm and 42mm timepiece: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.

Apple Watch Sport will be available with an aluminum alloy face with colored bands, and will start at $349. Apple Watch is made in a stainless steel alloy, and will start at $549. Apple Watch Edition, available in 18-karat yellow and rose gold, will start at $10,000 and go up to as much as $17,000.

“It’s the most personal device we have ever created,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at Monday’s event, during which the company also made announcements about other products. “It’s not just with you, it’s on you. And since what you wear is an expression of who you are, we designed Apple Watch to appeal to a whole variety of people.”

So, what can the watch do?

Cook said it is “the most advanced timepiece ever created” and is accurate to within 15 milliseconds of Coordinated Universal Time.

Aesthetically, every watch features different faces and configurations that the user can personalize; it can be traditional analog, or colorful, or a digital watch face with details like the date, a stopwatch, or calendar events.

“Glances” allow users to check things quickly. For example, swiping the screen up from the bottom will display the weather, play music or show the wearer’s heart rate. Wearers also can read full emails and have the option to delete, flag or mark them.

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“Digital touch” gives users the ability to sketch on their watch face with a fingertip and send the image to another person. They also can tap the watch to send a signal to a friend, or send their heartbeat as well, which Cook said is an “incredibly intimate way to tell someone you’re thinking of them.”

Apple Watch also acts as a “comprehensive fitness companion,” reminding the wearer if they’ve been sitting too long and summarizing their movements, such as calories burned and distance traveled. At the end of each week the wearer will get a report on their physical activity for the past seven days, and suggest a new fitness target. “It’s like having a coach on your wrist,” he said.

The timepiece allows people to communicate immediately and more intimately, Cook added. They can receive text messages, and read and respond instantly. A built-in speaker and microphone on the watch also affords the wearer the ability to take calls.

In addition, notifications iPhone users receive on their mobile device can be shown on the smartwatch, including sports scores and social media and news updates. Siri, Apple’s voice recognition software, also is programmed into Apple Watch.

With all of the multi-tasking the timepiece can perform, it’s equipped with an “all-day battery life” of 18 hours. A magnetic charger held to the back of the watch face re-charges the device.

 “We make products that enhance people’s lives, and Apple Watch brings that to a new level,” Cook said. “It’s a revolutionary new way to connect with others.”


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