Would you pay $10,000 for Apple Watch made of gold? The new Apple Watch (AP photo / Reuters)
Would you pay $10,000 for Apple Watch made of gold?
Lexile

Apple wants to move the Internet from your pocket to your wrist.

Time will tell if millions of consumers are willing to spend $350 on up there's an 18-karat gold version that starts at $10,000 for a wearable device that still requires a wirelessly connected smartphone to deliver its most powerful features.

But CEO Tim Cook is selling the Apple Watch as the next must-have device, able to serve people's information needs all day long, like no other tool has quite been able to do.

"Now it's on your wrist. It's not in your pocket or pocketbook," Cook said before unveiling the new line. "We think the Apple Watch is going to be integral to your day."

Apple wants this wristwatch, which piggybacks on a nearby smartphone's Internet connection through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, to be seen as so revolutionary that it requires its own lingo.

So while the watch face provides most of the same information as smartphones do, the back of the watch sends "taptic feedback," tapping the wrist to remind the wearer to get up and burn more calories.

"It's like having a coach on your wrist!" gushed Cook, touting the potential health uses of a computer that sticks to your skin all day.

The gadget also introduces "digital touch," a way of messaging that enables people to draw and send little figures with their fingertips and have them arrive on a friend's watch face dynamically, in the same way they were drawn.

Convincing consumers they can't live without an expensive new device isn't easy, but Apple's strongest selling points include "convenience and immediacy," along with high-end design features and some useful new apps, said Carolina Milanesi, a tech analyst with Kantar Worldpanel.

"If you don't have to be fumbling around for your phone, that can make a difference," agreed analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy.

Initial consumer reactions ranged from die-hard Apple fans vowing to buy the watch immediately, to naysayers who don't see the point of paying so much to see updates on their wrist instead their smartphone.

"I think it's a tough market they are trying to get into, and I don't see much promise that is going to come out of it," said Joshua Powers, 21, a junior at Emerson College in Boston who owns an iPhone, an iPad and a MacBook computer.

As expected, the previously announced starting price of $349 is only for the entry-level Sport model. Prices range from $549 to $1,100 for the mid-range watch. That's not out of line for a high-quality watch, analysts said.

But Cook did not answer a key question for price-conscious consumers, Moorhead noted: How will Apple update the watch when it releases new models?

Apple did answer another vital question, promising an estimated 18-hour battery life before the watch needs to be taken off and attached to a magnetic recharger.

Numerous tech companies are already selling smartwatches, from the Samsung Gear and Motorola's Moto 360 to the Pebble Steel and other models made by smaller startups. Many run on Android Wear, the software platform from Google, and range from $100 to $500 or more.

But most don't have as many features as the Apple Watch and they have not been big hits with consumers.

Apple executive Kevin Lynch walked through a simulation of a typical day, checking the watch for messages and calendar items, responding to a WeChat message, scrolling through some Instagram photos and speaking with Siri, Apple's voice-activated digital assistant, through the microphone on the watch.

More impressively, Lynch presented an airline app. It has a bar code that acts as a boarding pass. Another app will open a garage door by remote control. And still another promises to enable wearers to check out at the grocery store with a single tap on the watch face.

Cook also showed off features that can be found on many fitness bands already on the market. They include a heart rate monitor and accelerometer. The latter can track a wearer's movements and log daily exercise.

But some design functions seem uniquely Apple. Wearers can twist a small knob and quickly select the face of a friend. Then the wearer can sketch an image with a fingertip that shows up dynamically, just like it is being drawn, on the friend's watch face. Swipe the watch face to bring up an email, then with a single tap, turn that email into a calendar item.

Cook hinted at bigger goals when he also announced that Apple has worked with leading medical institutions to develop an open-source software platform for iPhones to assist with medical research. He stopped just short of saying that Apple Watch, in combination with the iPhone, could be a key conduit for two-way delivery of health care information. For instance, it might send data about a person's metabolism to researchers while also reminding wearers to take their medicine or go exercise.

Apple Watch will be available for viewing at Apple stores on April 10 and go on sale April 24.

Critical thinking challenge: Google was not widely successful with Google Glass, which users wore like glasses. How might Apple's Watch, worn on the wrist, succeed where Google failed?

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COMMENTS (62)
  • LewisH-Tan
    3/16/2015 - 08:34 a.m.

    I think that having an Apple Watch that costs $10,000 is useless. The watch is very expensive and it only works when you have your phone in your pocket or near you. It can only be useful in specific situations and only saves you time when you are getting a call. It is to limited in its abilities for the cost.

  • SchopferR-Tan
    3/16/2015 - 08:38 a.m.

    I think Apple watches are not cool. I don't like anything made by Apple to begin with. Such a terrible company only reason most people buy it is because its a well known company, that doesn't make them the best though. Apple is a notable company for max profit for their inexpensive outdated software devices. The Iphone 6 was released 7 months after the Samsung Galaxy s5 and the Galaxy S5 out preforms it by a lot. Iphone still doesn't have a phone with 1080p quality. I like to research what is better before bought

  • JU00baseball
    3/16/2015 - 08:40 a.m.

    I would buy this watch for the regular 350 dollar price, but i also text and have fun with apps i dont always use it just to call people. That would be my only pet peive is that i wouldnt be able to text as much or as fast.

  • NW2000Bball
    3/16/2015 - 08:40 a.m.

    I wouldn't pay $10,000 because it's just a little watch. Plus it's only gold. What if you drop it and it breaks? Thats spending even more money just to fix it or its $10,000 to waste. But what would you need a watch for if you got a iphone?

  • L.E 1999 blue
    3/16/2015 - 08:45 a.m.

    My question is who would pay $10.000 Dolores for a apple watch. For that i could buy a new phone instead it works just like a phone so why would i buy a watch just to do all the things that a apple phone does. Also i don't think that they would have real gold on the watch like the iphone 6 its not real gold so if they do put real gold on the watch that's going to be a lot of gold that they are going to be putting on the watch and a lot of money that they are going to be loosing foe the amount of watches that the company has to mack. So why mack a watch when people can buy a new phone on a less amount of money.

  • DylanP-Kan
    3/16/2015 - 11:15 a.m.

    I think that the apple watch is an open door to the future. I mean ever since i was a child i imagined being able to do everything with a watch. How cool can it possibly get??

  • johanna.galloway34
    3/16/2015 - 01:01 p.m.

    The iwatch has special features. It is smaller and used as a regular watch. I saw some other watches that are about 40$. The special features on this iwatch are pretty decent than an IPhone. It says Siri is way better, it's on your wrist the whole time, and you have all the apps. The watch is about 350$ but 18 karat gold. That's about 10,000$. It releases and you can pre-order it by April 10th, but on sale April 24th.

  • lm2000food
    3/16/2015 - 01:07 p.m.

    the apple watch will succeed more beacuse it is trying to replace your iphone were google glass glasses were trying to replace glasses which people already had to make them spend money with the name google on it.

  • im2001moobys
    3/16/2015 - 01:08 p.m.

    The Apple wrist watch may succed where google failed is probably by making it a watch. I know people feel very strongly about having their eye sight, it makes sence. So having the google make google glass would probably not appeal to people as much as a watch, which can't do much harm to vital parts of their body.

  • nylienc-Koc
    3/16/2015 - 03:34 p.m.

    I would never pay 10000 dollars for a watch even if it was made of goal. Even if it was multi purpose and could make my life easier.

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