We've been speculating about it for over a year, but Apple has finally unveiled its first foray into wearable technology. The Apple Watch (yep, not the iWatch), is an Apple-made smartwatch that was shown off during Apple's 9 September iPhone 6 event, with a new dial called the crown, close integration with iCloud and Siri and a flexible sapphire display. Here, we bring you the Apple Watch release date in the UK, specs and feature, UK price and photographs of the device for you to look at.
"Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad," says Apple CEO Tim Cook in a press release. "And one again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people's lives. It's the most personal product we've ever made."
Cook is, of course, talking about the Apple Watch, which Apple design Guru Jony Ive explains includes multiple new technologies and an entirely new user interface designed "specifically for a device that's designed to be worn."
"It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface," Ive continues. "We've created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalisation." You can find out more about this personalisation, which is achievable through both hardware and software options, by reading on. You can also read our full first look review of the Apple Watch, including UK pricing information.
Apple Watch release date UK: When is the iWatch coming out?
As expected, the Apple Watch won't be available until early 2015, and Apple hasn't been any more specific than that. Apple CEO Tim Cook promises "it's worth the wait."
Apple Watch price UK: How much will the iWatch cost?
The Apple Watch starts at $349, which we expect will be around £300 here in the UK. That’s £216 plus 20% VAT and a little more Apple Tax.
An alternative way of looking at the price is to find a comparably priced product. The 64GB iPod touch costs $299 in the US and £249 in the UK. While the Retina iPad Mini costs $399 in the US and £319 in the UK. So pick a number in the middle of the two, about £294. Therefore, we think our £300 estimate is pretty close to the starting price you can expect to see.
You will likely pay a bit more for the Apple Watch Edition than the standard Apple Watch.
We'll bring you UK pricing when it is announced.
You'll also need to own an iPhone in order to use the Apple Watch. The Watch is compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple Watch design & features: Digital Crown
The Apple Watch has a dial on the side, much like the one found on traditional watches, which Apple has called the Digital Crown. This Digital Crown contains sensors that turn movement into data, so will be the main input method for the Apple Watch rather than the touchscreen display. You'll be able to scroll, zoom and navigate using the Digital Crown.
Apple makes a valid point about a touchscreen display on a smartwatch, suggesting that using pinch-to-zoom gestures on such a small display will simply cover up the content.
"The Digital Crown is Apple's most revolutionary navigation tool since the iPod Click Wheel and iPhone Multi-Touch," writes Apple in its press release.
The Digital Crown also acts as a Home button, and a way to access Siri.
Apple Watch design & features: Display
The Apple Watch will be available with two different screen sizes. The first measures 38mm tall, while the second is slightly bigger at 42mm tall.
The flexible Retina display of the Apple Watch is made from a single crystal of sapphire, or if you opt for an Apple Watch from the Sport Collection, it'll be strengthened Ion-X glass. This display is designed to be able to detect force, too.
"In addition to recognising touch, Apple Watch senses force, adding a new dimension to the user interface," says Apple. Force Touch uses tiny electrodes around the flexible Retina display to distinguish between a light tap and a deep press, and trigger instant access to a range of contextually specific controls.
The Apple Watch's display will activate when you move your wrist.
Apple Watch: Collections and strap designs
There are six different, interchangeable straps available for the Apple Watch. These include the Link Bracelet, Sport Band, Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Modern Buckle and Milanese Loop.
The various designs of the Apple Watch itself are split into three collections. The first is simply called Apple Watch, with a polished case made from a custom alloy of stainless steel. The second is the Sport collection, which has an anodised aluminium case and is 60 per cent stronger, according to Apple. The third is the Apple Watch Edition is made from 18k gold, up to twice as hard as standard gold apparently.
Apple Watch specs: Processor
The chip inside the Apple Watch is custom-designed, and is called the S1. This chip features many subsystems that have been encapsulated in resin for extra durability.
Apple Watch specs: Sensors
There are four, super-durable sapphire lenses on the back of the device, which houses a sensor that uses infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes to detect your heart rate. This sensor is joined by an accelerometer, and uses the GPS and WiFi in your iPhone to measure physical movement, to help the device collect data about your daily activities.
You'll get a comprehensive picture of your daily activity from the Apple Watch, and you'll be able to establish and suggest goals.
Apple Watch specs: Other features
The Apple Watch has a new feature called the Taptic Engine, which provides haptic feedback to users. It works with the Apple Watch's built-in speaker to enable a new set of alerts and notifications that you'll be able to both hear and feel.
When getting turn-by-turn notifications, for example, you'll feel a different alert that'll let you know whether you need to turn left or right without needing to actually look at the display.
Apple Watch specs: Charging
The Apple Watch features inductive charging, and there's no alignment or exposed contacts necessary because it's completely sealed. It uses MagSafe technology that lets you hold the connector near the back of the watch and let the magnets snap it into place automatically.
AppleWatch features: Software
Apple has created a brand new user interface for the Apple Watch. It comes with a range of watch faces, and is personalisable. There are currently 11 watch faces in total, including the dynamic Timelapse face, the Astronomy face and the Solar face. Additional customisable information for the Apple Watch's main display includes moonphases, upcoming events, activity level display and more.
The Apple Watch is designed to provide the user with information that can be viewed at a glance. That's why Apple has come up with Smart Replies that can be used in conjunction with dictation to allow you to respond to messages.
The Apple Watch also works with the new Handoff feature introduced with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, so you'll be able to pick up messages you've begun on your Apple Watch straight on your iPhone.
A second feature is Glances, which, as the name suggests, shows you information at a glance including location, stocks, appointments and more.
You'll be able to control your music through the Apple Watch, and it seems like you'll be able to store music on the device itself, too.
You'll be able to access your calendar, see the weather forecast, receive notifications, send an audio recording or convert an audio recording to text using dictation, ask Siri questions, take a look through your favourited photos, view Maps and get directions. Other apps include Twitter, CityMapper, home automation apps, sports apps, fitness apps and more.
Two new apps designed for the Apple Watch by Apple are Activity and Workout, which monitor your activity and let you set goals for specific types of workouts. Both of these apps use the accelerometer, heart rate sensor, GPS and WiFi to collect the relevant data, which will work with the Fitness app on your iPhone.
There's also a new app called Digital Touch, which will let users communicate with someone just by tapping. You can draw on the AppleWatch, change colours or send your heartbeat. Macworld.com's Jason Snell says it's "weird stuff," and it certainly seems a bit gimmicky!
We'll continue updating this article as Apple makes further announcements about the Apple Watch. You can read all of the Apple Watch rumours from before the announcement by going to page 2.
More to follow.