Apple unveiled its first foray into wearable technology in September 2014. The Apple Watch (yep, not the iWatch), is an Apple-made smartwatch. Here, we bring you the Apple Watch release date rumours for the UK, specs and features, UK price and photos of the device for you to look at.
We had been speculating about the Apple watch for years when Apple finally unveiled its first foray into wearable technology in September 2014. 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 rumours in the UK, specs and features, UK price and photographs of the device.
Update: Apple has sent out invites to an Apple Watch press event in March, with the tagline ‘Spring Forward,’ and Tim Cook reveals Apple Watch is ‘shower-proof’. Read on to find out more.
You can also read our full first look review of the Apple Watch, including UK pricing information. And: Will the Apple Watch will be a flop?
Plus, find out what’s in store for this year: Apple rumours and predictions for 2015
Apple Watch release date: When is the iWatch coming out? When will Apple Watch launch in the UK?
On 26 February, Apple surprised us by sending out invitations to a special event on 9 March, with the tagline ‘Spring Forward’ hinting at an Apple Watch launch.
The event, which will be attended by analysts and media, will take place in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The event should shed light on the exact release date for the Apple Watch, as well as the final pricing structure for the various different models on offer.
[We hope to see a new MacBook Air at this event too read more here: 12in Retina MacBook Air release date rumours]
Prior to the event announcement, Apple had revealed that the Watch would be coming out in ‘Early 2015,’ and developers have been building apps for the smartwatch since back in October 2014 using Apple’s Watch Kit.
Additionally, in a January conference call regarding Apple’s financial results, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook suggested that the watch will be available in April.
As of mid February, third party app developers are said to have been invited to Apple’s Cupertino campus to join Apple’s developers as they finish work on the WatchKit apps for the Apple Watch, and one rumour even suggests that 100,000 apps will be available for the Apple Watch at launch (that’s according to analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research but we’re expecting rather a lot fewer than that). Apple is said to be holding workshops for those developers. According to 9to5Mac thesecrecy surrounding these meetings is so tight that the developers are given only numbers, not name badges.
Apple Store employees are also being trained at secret workshops in Los Angeles, Cupertino, Austin, and Atlanta.
Apple is also, apparently, installing safes in its retail stores for the more pricy Apple Watches. According to 9to5Mac it also has weight scales to determine how much gold is in an individual Apple Watch, perhaps to avoid fake watches being accepted as returned faulty Apple Watches.
However, it still may be the case that the UK launch is later. Reports early in January suggested that the Apple Watch would launch in the UK and other parts of Europe in early 2015, after the Apple Watch messaging changed on the country websites to “Early 2015” from “Available in 2015”. However, a few days later that message had changed back to “Available in 2015” since, suggesting that Apple may have some hurdles to overcome in various locations before the watch can go on sale.
When our sister title Digital Arts spoke with Apple, the company said “We haven’t announced which countries will launch in April yet.”
There have been concerns here in the UK and Europe that the Apple Watch will launch first in the US, with a delay of perhaps months before it goes on sale here. Hopefully that won’t be the case.
Beyond the April time frame, we still don’t know exactly when the Apple Watch will launch. However, we can rule out the first weekend as 3rd – 6th April is Easter weekend and therefore not likely to be a suitable weekend for the launch.
Read: iPhone 6 review and iPhone 6 Plus review.
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.
New reports from French Apple site igen.fr have suggested that the Apple Watch Edition, which is made with real gold, could cost up to $5000, which is more than £3000. The Steel version could start at $500, the report says, which could translate to around £450.
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 rumours: What Apple CEO Tim Cook has said
When Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the Apple Watch he said: “Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. And once 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.”Apple design guru Jony Ive explained that the Apple Watch 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 said. “We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalisation.”
Find out more about this personalisation, which is achievable through both hardware and software options, as well as the reasons why Apple believes the Apple Watch will be a category-defining product by reading on.
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about the Apple Watch during a talk a the Goldman Sachs conference on 10 February. To begin, he reminded us of Apple’s success in the MP3 player industry despite the fact that the iPod was by no means the first. “They weren’t used very much. They were fundamentally too hard to use, and the user interface was really bad. You almost needed a PhD to use these. They’re not memorable. They didn’t really move the dial,” he said of the iPod’s rivals.
Cook then added that the tablet market had been the same: “There were lots of tablets shipping when the iPad came out. But there was nothing earth-shattering.”
Of course, Cook thinks that the smartwatch category is the same, but that the Apple Watch can change it in the way that the iPod and the iPad did with their respective industries. “There are several things that are called smart watches that are shipping, but I’m not sure you could name any. Maybe you could. I’m not sure the audience could name very many. But certainly there’s been none that have changed the way people live their lives.”
“And so what we want to do at Apple, that’s our objective: We want to change the way you live your life,” Cook continued. ” And just like the iPad has changed the way you work, and hopefully the way you live, and the iPhone has done that, we see Apple Watch doing that.”
“I’ve been using one, and I’m actually wearing one now – but I wear it all the time actually,” he added. “And I think one of the biggest surprised people are going to have when they start using it is the breath of what it will do.”
Cook then spoke a bit about the design, and the various different colours, band types and sizes available, as mentioned elsewhere in this article. He suggested that we’ll be using Siri more often with our Apple Watches, and getting notifications on our wrists.
The most obvious use for the Apple Watch is fitness tracking, though, and Cook says he uses it in the gym to track his activity level. “If I sit for too long, it will actually tap me on the wrist to remind me to get up and move. Because a lot of doctors believe that sitting is the new cancer, right? And arguably activity is good for all of us. And so if you haven’t moved within the hour, ten minutes before the hour it’ll tap you.”
Cook concluded: “It took a little while to get used to, but it’s actually very good. And so, there’s just an enormous number of things that it will do, and I think you’re going to find something that you’re going to think, “Wow, I can’t live without this anymore!” And you’re gonna be deciding you may not want to give up that real estate for that particular watch anymore.”
Is the Apple Watch waterproof?
When the Apple Watch was first unveiled, it wasn’t waterproof, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly been overheard mentioning to employees in a German Apple Store that he wears his Apple Watch in the shower, hinting that the waterpoofing has been improved. An Apple representative had mentioned last year that you’d be able to wear the Apple Watch in the rain or during a particularly sweaty workout, but not in the shower or while swimming, but if what Cook said is true then that may now have changed.
We should find out for sure during Apple’s 9 March event.
[We have the latest rumours about the Apple iCar here, plus read why we don’t think Apple will make an iCar]
What does Woz think about smartwatches?
Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has said that he would welcome an iWatch.However, he seems to keep changing his tune. In 2014 he was dismissing it as a “luxury fitness band,” perhaps because, as he admits in a BBC interview, “I’ve had bad experience with smartwatches so far.”
Now he is being a lot more enthusiastic. In an interview with the BBC Woz states: “Apple makes products more fun than anyone else. If you look at the display it’s almost like a little piece of art … It’s going to be so special. Everyone’s going to notice it, just like you do nowadays when you walk around — ‘You’ve got an iPhone, you’ve got an iPhone, you’ve got an iPhone.’ A lot of people, especially in hip areas, they’re going to be saying, ‘You’ve got the right watch, you’ve got the same watch as me.’”
Woz also talks about the market for the Apple Watch. “I look around a lot of times nowadays and when you’re in groups of older people, they still wear a lot of watches – usually like jewellery. Younger people wear no watch, they got rid of it, because it’s in the way.”
“That’s the question about a smartwatch: is it going to be a new class of jewellery that came back? Obviously, the wrist is free (for new devices), but it has to have a good enough use,” he asks.
Woz also suggests that although niche, measuring blood sugar levels for diabetics could be big, because it’s a “niche market that’s huge already”.
He goes on to say that Apple has “made so many good products that everyone who owns Apple products will buy [the Apple Watch] and that means millions of people will buy this watch from the start. That helps get a critical mass going.”
In the following paragraphs we summarise what Wozniak had said about the Apple Watch, and smart watches in general, in 2014…
Woz believes that wearables will be “a hard sell” for Apple. “Apple works very hard to produce exceptionally great products and doesn’t quickly release things like a wearable. So if one is introduced I expect it to have a chance to set the direction and make the product category finally viable,” Woz told Cnet.
He goes on to suggest that these wearable devices may be relegated to the same category as Bluetooth headsets: “fun to wear and show off for a day”.
Woz is hoping for a larger screen on the rumoured iWatch. He told Cnet that 1.5in screens aren’t big enough for him. He also hinted that the speaker had better be good if the iWatch is to serve as a speakerphone.
However, Woz is confident that Apple will be able to transform the wearable device market as they did the smartphone market with the launch of the iPhone in 2007.
This isn’t the first time Wozniak has spoken about wearables and smartwatches. Back in July 2014, Woz said that he doesn’t like the smartwatches he’s tested so far. In fact, he hated the Samsung Galaxy Gear so much he sold it soon after he got it. “That was the only technology I bought to experiment with that I threw out after half a day, sold it on eBay because it was so worthless and did so little that was convenient. You had to hold it up to your ear and stuff,” he told Xconomy.