10 Mar 2015

Apple gives smartwatch preview

11:42 am on 10 March 2015

Apple has unveiled its version of the smartwatch to the media in San Francisco.

A journalist tests out one of new smartwatches.

A journalist tries out one of the new smartwatches. Photo: AFP

Apple's smartwatch collection will range in price from USD$349 to $17,000 depending on the metals they are made from and the straps they are bought with.

The larger 42mm (1.7in) models of the Watch will cost about USD$50 more than than the 38mm (1.5in) versions in the lower-priced ranges.

Apple also revealed that the devices are due to go on sale on 24 April.

Rivals' smartwatches have only seen limited sales to date.

A press event held in San Francisco held few surprises about the wearable tech beyond giving more specific price points.

The long awaited wristwatch can be used to make phone calls, receive emails, play music and track health and fitness.

The firm said on stage that thousands of new apps had already been developed for the Watch ahead of it going on sale.

The social networks Facebook and Instagram, the car pick-up service Uber and the Chinese messaging app WeChat are among those confirmed to have developed software for the device.

Other functions demonstrated by Apple included:

  • using the Watch as a means to open a compatible hotel room lock as an alternative to a key card
  • checking the name of a song via the app Shazam
  • opening an internet-connected garage door remotely
  • Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said the Watch would typically last owners 18 hours between charges, providing a day's worth of use.

    "Right from your wrist, you can receive messages. And [it] alerts you by tapping your wrist, so that you can read and respond to that message instantly, if you want. You can also, with a built-in speaker and microphone, you can receive calls from your watch. I have been wanting to do this since I was five years old!"

    The device will go on sale next month, although its New Zealand release date is as yet unconfirmed.

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