Apple has shown off the Apple Watch wearable device, revealing that it will be available to pre-order from 10 April and ship on 24 April with prices starting from £299 and rising as high as £13,500 for solid gold models.
Apple chief Tim Cook revealed the Apple Watch during an event in San Francisco, during which he proclaimed it as the next era of computing and a game-changer for the technology industry.
"It's a revolutionary new way to connect with others and a constant fitness companion," he said.
Cook said that the battery life of the smartwatch should be 18 hours, saying: "I think that works for most people." This should quell concerns that the device will not last a single day's use per charge.
Apple showed off several apps that will work on Apple Watch, including ESPN, Twitter, Facebook, Shazam, Salesforce and CNN.
The Watch can also be used to interact with terminals, such as aircraft boarding pass scanners, and can use the Apple Pay system, paired with an iPhone, to allow the wearer to purchase goods via their wrist.
Watch apps will be available to download via the App Store on the iPhone from iOS 8.2, which is available now on iPhones.
Pricing for the devices begins at £299 for the Sport version, rising to between £479 and £949 for the standard Watch versions, and from £8,000 to £13,500 for the Apple Watch Edition.
The latter model will be available only in limited numbers from selected retail outlets.
Apple touted the fact that the Apple Watch can be used for 'quick looks' at key information such as stock prices, business data, social media and trip information. Live video feeds from CCTV cameras were also shown working on the Watch.
The Apple Watch can be paired with Siri to bring up information and ask questions about topics such as weather data or reminders.
"I think you'll be amazed at the things developers can unleash here," Cook added.
Apple also highlighted the fitness appeal of the Watch by bundling features such as a stopwatch and heart-rate monitor, although it does not have GPS built in and will require an iPhone for pairing.
"It's like having a coach on your wrist," Cook said as he explained that the Apple Watch can track fitness and offer a weekly breakdown of your performance and achievements.
Cook cited the variety of different watch faces, ranging from simple designs to ones with Mickey Mouse on the screen, as evidence of how Apple Watch gives users control over the display to customise it to their preferences.
The Apple Watch comes in three versions - Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition - each offering a different design and build style.
Analysts expect the launch of the Apple Watch to ignite the wearables market, and Apple is predicted to sell anywhere between 10 and 20 million units by the end of 2015, with the Christmas market being especially fruitful.
CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood explained that the success of the iPad on launch was a good guide for how the Apple Watch will fair.
"We believe the iPad had similar characteristics to Apple Watch as it is a non-subsidised device which consumers bought without a clear understanding of exactly why they needed it," he said.
"Apple will be hoping consumers will ‘grow into’ the Apple Watch in the same what that iPad owners did."
Apple’s entry into the wearables market will also have a benefit for rivals such as Samsung, Sony and Pebble by taking the technology mainstream and encouraging others to buy devices, but at lower prices than Apple offers.
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