Apple Watch launch: $17,000 smartwatch unveiled – as it happened

Last modified: 07: 33 PM GMT+0

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook demonstrated the new Apple Watch, ranging from $349 to $17,000, and announced a thinner MacBook laptop and cheaper Apple TV

So, there we have it. While most of the Apple Watch features shown off tonight had already been seen at last year’s unveiling, the key news was about availability and pricing.

Pre-orders start on 10 April, with the device going on sale on 24 April in nine countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and US. In the UK, the cheapest model will start at £299, the mid-tier “Watch” version will range from £479 to £949 depending what strap you choose, and the high-end Edition will start at [cough] £8,000.

Other news: some figures on the “all-day” battery life of the device. Apple CEO Tim Cook said it’ll run for 18 hours “across a range of activities”. And while a few apps – Shazam, Uber, Instagram – were shown off, expect a flood of news on other third-party Apple Watch apps in the coming days.

For anyone that missed the event, consider reading through @guardiantech's honest and hilarious live tweets. Bravo.

— Steve Cole (@stevencoleuk) March 9, 2015


The audience take a closer look at the new Apple Watch designs after Tim Cook's launch presentation.
The audience take a closer look at the Apple Watch designs. Photograph: Apple
  • A belated celebration of International Women’s Day with a real actual vagina-owner on stage. Although she was a supermodel
  • If you’re staying in a W Hotel with its new room-key Apple Watch app, remember that “all-day” 18-hour battery life – ie don’t leave your room at 8am then go out on the razz past 2am
  • Tim Cook has been wanting to make phone calls on a watch since he was five years old. This is what we call a perfect career arc
  • Best Jony Ive quote: “To maximise performance, we took an extreme approach to miniaturisation”. To which the only acceptable response is PARKLIFE
  • Slow-motion butterfly-mechanism typing is our new jam


We say: The price of the steel edition proves that Apple is attempting to compete on a level with watchmakers, not smartwatch manufacturers such as Sony and Samsung. Whether that strategy will win out will be interesting to watch. Right now Apple has the most expensive smartwatch going and Google now looks like the budget end of the market.

The new MacBook is incredibly thin and light, verging on the weight and thickness of tablets rather than computers. But that comes at the cost of connectivity.

The USB-C connector could be revolutionary for ease of use but making people carry dongles around with them just to use existing kit may irritate users.


Now I'm just left wondering how many maternal health clinics in Tanzania could be funded for the price of a Gold Edition Apple Watch.

— Leslie Hook (@lesliehook) March 9, 2015

@jemimakiss well the taste free oligarch market is seemingly growing. @girlonetrack

— James Holloway (@JamesNonchalant) March 9, 2015

The Apple Watch Edition – Apple’s 18-carat gold watch – will start at $10,000 with a selection of bands, including a solid gold one.

Pre-orders for all the Apple Watch variants start on 10 April with the watch shipping and being in stores on 24 April in a selection of countries including the US and UK.

Edition rises to $17,000...

The Apple Watch launches 24 April.
The Apple Watch launches 24 April. Photograph: Apple


Can we get the woman who was working in Africa back on stage whilst you show us your $10,000 gold watch please Tim? #AppleEvent

— James O'Malley (@Psythor) March 9, 2015

Equally for the stainless steel Apple Watch, Apple has altered the material.

“Apple has customised the stainless steel to make it harder, removing impurities and making sure its lattice forms uniformly making the metal up to 80% harder and less susceptible to scratches,” said Ive.

The stainless steel Apple Watch will start at $549 rising to $1,049 for the 38mm and $599 rising to $1,099 depending on strap.

Apple Watch Sport starts at $349 for the 38mm case, $399 for 42mm case.

With 18 hours battery life, Apple Watch won't deliver sleep tracking. Leaves room for other health bands #applewatch #smartwatch

— Ian Fogg (@ianfogg42) March 9, 2015

AAPL stock price went up considerably during the Mac presentation, down during the Apple Watch bit... yup.

— Stefan Boberg (@bionicbeagle) March 9, 2015

The Apple Watch Sport will use a special alloy of aluminium.

Jony Ive, Apple’s head of design, said that raw aluminium is combined with magnesium and zinc to create a metal that is 60% stronger than traditional aluminium alloy but at the same weight.

The Apple Watch will rely on the iPhone and an Apple Watch app on iOS 8.2, which is available for download today.

“We’ve designed it with all-day battery life across a range of uses,” said Cook, adding that the watch will last around 18 hours and uses a magnetic charging cable.

Apple demoed a variety of third-party Apple Watch apps, including Shazam for recognising songs from the wrist, United Airlines app that displays a boarding pass on the wrist and a garage door opener – opening up the possibility for the Watch to be the centre of an Internet of Things set up through Apple’s Home Kit.

Uber driver Scott has a 5 star rating. That means he's only just started & this is his first job. #AppleWatchEvent

— Guardian Tech (@guardiantech) March 9, 2015

Apple Watch communicates with the iPhone over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – unlike competitors such as Google’s Android Wear watches and the Pebble – meaning that the watch doesn’t need to be close to the smartphone to take a call on the wrist or access data services.

To pay for goods with the Apple Watch, double tapping the side button will bring up the credit card. A contactless touch will then pay for the goods on a compatible card reader in a store.

The Watch will beep and vibrate to confirm the transaction. Apple Pay has been popular in the US since launch, where contactless credit cards weren’t widely in use. The situation might be different in the UK and elsewhere where contactless credit cards are common.

A new MacBook, cheaper Apple TV and Apple Watch with WiFi

Apple has announced a new thin, light MacBook with retina screen, dropped the price of Apple TV to $69 and announced a new research initiative to share anonymised patient data with cancer and diabetes researchers. Its new Apple Watch includes wifi and the voice control tool Siri.


Siri on the Apple Watch can do pretty much anything if can do on an iPhone, but it responds in text, not via voice according to the on-stage demos – a move those embarrassed by having a conversation with a gadget will be thankful for.

Apple Watch

  • There’ll be different faces, from traditional and digital faces to Mickey Mouse, with the ability to add the date, your next meeting and more than 20 other bits of information
  • It will be able to respond to text messages and receive incoming calls. “I’ve been wanting to do this since I was five years old!” said CEO Tim Cook
  • As well as reminding you when you’ve been siting too long, the watch will provide a weekly summary of your activity, and suggest a new goal
Tim Cook launches the Apple Watch.
Tim Cook launches the Apple Watch. Photograph: Apple


"please look at these poor african children cheering for christy turlington's apple watch"

— matt (@mattbuchanan) March 9, 2015

Turlington Burns explained that she switches bands depending on what she’s doing. The blue leather modern buckle for fashion, rubber band for sports.

Apple hopes that Watch buyers will accessories their watches with different bands. Another large potential revenue stream.

Model and health fanatic Christy Turlington Burns - did a half-marathon in Africa using an Apple Watch.

Christy Turlington Burns
Christy Turlington Burns Photograph: Apple

“The Apple Watch is motivation, not just for training but for every day things,” Turlington Burns. “It tracked my time, pushed me harder and tracked my fitness.”


The Watch will send you activity summaries and suggest new targets every week, which is very similar to other fitness trackers such as the Jawbone UP.

A workout app will also track more detailed statistics and suggest activities.

With the Apple Watch users will be able to pay for goods using Apple Pay, talk to Siri, manage photos and get notifications – any you receive on an iPhone you can get on your wrist.

The Apple Watch is an extension of the iPhone – almost anything you can do on your smartphone you can do on the wrist.


Apple is focused on new communication methods, something that can’t be done any other way using the sensors and the vibration feedback.

“You can even send your heart beat – an incredibly intimate communication and a whole new way to communicate,” said Cook.

Apple Watch
Apple Watch Photograph: Apple


  • Accurate to 15 minutes to the UTC
  • Faces are customisable - add the date, meeting info, stopwatch
  • Taptic messaging
  • Built in speaker and microphone for taking calls on your wrist - a la Dick Tracy
  • Can read full emails “if you’re an email junkie”


Cook takes to the stage to talk about the Apple Watch, which it announced last year but is due to ship in April. This is the product it hopes will take the company into the next era of computing – wearable technology.

Apple Watch
Apple Watch Photograph: Apple

Cook: “The Apple Watch the most personal device we’ve ever created, but it has to be personal with the ability to customise it.”


The new MacBook starts at $1,299 with 256GB storage, shipping on April 10th.

The MacBook Air sees processor and memory upgrades.

MacBook Pro gains faster processors and memory, as well as one more hour of battery and the Force Touch trackpad.

Live from #AppleWatchEvent

— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) March 9, 2015

Jony Ive: "To maximise performance, we took an extreme approach to miniaturisation”. PARKLIFE

— Stuart Dredge (@stuartdredge) March 9, 2015

New MacBook

  • “Butterfly mechanism” keys promising more precise typing
  • Apple promises “all-day” battery life of up to 10 hours, or nine hours when on Wi-Fi
  • A new USB-C connectivity standard: you’ll use it for power, USB data transfer, and also VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort output. In other words: you’ll need new cables. Or new connectors for your old cables


The new MacBook will need a variety of connectors to turn the USB-C port into what they need, which may not be popular. More dongles to carry around just to use your old kit.

  • Fanless and operates silently.
  • Uses Intel Core M up to 1.3GHz with a turbo to 2.9GHz
  • Terraced sheets of batteries – fits 35% more battery into the same space for “all day battery life”
  • 9 hours web, 10 hours movie playback
  • USB-C - one port supports power, displays, USB etc
The new MacBook
Pressure sensitive
Pressure sensitive Photograph: Apple


#Apple admits nobody is going to like its new product!

— Guardian Tech (@guardiantech) March 9, 2015

I wonder how much the “woo!” guy in the audience gets paid per Apple event.

— Ben Bodien (@bbodien) March 9, 2015

Apple’s launched a new Retina MacBook that super thin and light – a replacement for the current MacBook Air line.

  • 12in Retina Display - 2304x1440 resolution
  • 13.1mm thin - 24% thinner than the 11in MacBook Air
  • 2lbs in weight
  • Full size keyboard - all new “butterfly” technology
  • USB-C ports, but no regular USB ports
  • Available in gold as well as silver
  • Force Touch Trackpad - force sensors rather than click mechanism that can detect a range of “force clicks”
  • New gestures based on how hard you click
  • “Taptic” feedback - the trackpad taps back

Cook: “I can’t even feel it, can you even see it?”

Thinnest MacBook ever
Thinnest MacBook ever Photograph: Apple


Tim Cook: "When you're out in the wild you will see Macs everywhere". #AppleWatchEvent

— Guardian Tech (@guardiantech) March 9, 2015

We say: Health data is about to become the big topic in the privacy debate. There’s already a case in the Canadian courts where a personal trainer wants to use data from her Fitbit device in a personal injury claim. The kind of data Apple is collecting will give a fascinating and frightening insight into people’s health. It will be interesting to see how they follow up on the promises of privacy that have just made.



• ResearchKit is Apple’s initiative to help patients share data on medical conditions with researchers
• Breast cancer, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to be the first five apps
• “There is nothing more sensitive than your medical data. You decide what apps you participate in, what research you participate in,” said Apple exec Jeff Williams


use your phone to buy a lot of soda, use your phone to tell you you’re fat because you drink to much soda. #AppleWatchEvent

— Jake Zukowski (@jakez) March 9, 2015

Williams reinforced that the patient or user is in control of the data. If they don’t want to share the data they don’t have to, but the apps will provide handy support and research opportunities for a variety of medical fields.

“For asthma, we worked on an app to see if it can help a patient use an app to manage their asthma,” said Williams. “Mount Sinai is giving away some bluetooth inhalers, and they’re swabbing surfaces to look for pathogens, and then the GPS from the iPhone will compare the spirometer data to the Pathogen map to look for the triggers for asthma.”


Apple has announced ResearchKit – an extension of HealthKit that lets researchers create apps. Apple’s been been working with Stanford, Oxford University and many others.

“One of the biggest challenges researchers face is small sample sizes – recruiting subjects is difficult and you only get snapshots of data only,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations. “We looked at these problems and saw a possibility to help.”

Apple Health
Apple Health Photograph: Apple

The apps turn the iPhone into a diagnostic kit with simple to use tests using the screen, the sensors and the microphone record the data accurately and effortlessly. One example given was Parkinson’s disease tools, another diabetes that looks at behaviour and glucose levels. Cardio health and asthma were also mentioned.

The apps also connect to other parts of the Apple Health ecosystem and can pull fitness and activity data from Apple Watch and other apps.


CarPlay, HomeKit, HealthKit - all pillars to locking iPhone users into the ecosystem even further. Smart move by Apple.

— Ben Wood (@benwood) March 9, 2015

Apple Pay

  • 6 banks in the US at launch, now 2,500 banks supporting Apple Pay
  • Three months later, nearly 700,000 places that accept Apple Pay
  • 40,000 vending machines

“Now every major car brand has committed to delivering CarPlay, with more than 40 new models of cars shipping with CarPlay, only a year after launch,” says Cook.

Apple TV

  • Apple has sold 25m units of its Apple TV set-top box
  • The price is dropping from $99 to $69
  • Alongside iOS devices, it will be able to stream HBO Now, the new subscription streaming service from the network behind Game of Thrones

Apple TV has become the “category leader with 25m units sold, but Cook wants to push it even harder – Apple’s reduced the cost to $69.

Cook: “If you don’t have one yet, now’s the time.”

HBO NOW is premiering in April.

— HBO (@HBO) March 9, 2015


Key Apple stats

  • 700m iPhones sold
  • Year on year growth 49% (double industry average)
  • iPhone top selling smartphone in the world
  • 99% customer satisfaction for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
700m iPhones sold
700m iPhones sold Photograph: Apple


Apple has entered into a partnership with HBO, which will be streamed to Apple devices across the internet including the Apple TV.

“We couldn’t be more proud to have Apple as our exclusive partner with HBO Now,” Richard Plepler, chief executive of HBO, who took to the stage with Cook.

Apple HBO partnership
Apple HBO partnership Photograph: Apple

The new service launching in April in the US will cost $14.99 a month.


Cook talks up Apple’s roll out in China – six stores opened in the last few weeks with 21 open in total, and aiming to reach 60 soon. If anyone had any doubts about the market that’s most important going forward, China is it.


Tim Cook has taken to the stage, seemingly not phased by his 4.30am wake up.

Here we go. A scene showing China – Apple’s big next market where it’s currently in a fight with both Samsung and local players including Xiaomi. Could China be the Apple Watch’s biggest market?


We’ve just switched up a gear. Latch by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith. People are starting to wake up a bit. The baseline is thumping.


Apple is pumping a bit of soft electro in the form of Sunlight by Kyte into the auditorium. What does it mean? That the beat always goes on, even if the Watch’s battery has run dry?

Sunlight by Kyte


Apple fans, partners and analysts are gathering in convention centres in San Francisco and Berlin, with details of the company’s new Watch device due to be announced at 1700GMT.

What do we know about the Apple Watch already? Quite a bit. But pricing - including a possibly rose gold deluxe edition - are to be announced. And maybe a MacBook Air retina or new Apple TV too.

Our coverage so far:


Samuel Gibbs in Berlin, Jemima Kiss, Stuart Dredge, Dominic Rushe

The GuardianTramp

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