Apple Watch Finally Unveiled

"One more thing …"

The Apple Watch has finally arrived. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new device Tuesday morning during a live event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, Calif. It's the first new product from Apple since Cook took control of the company from Steve Jobs in 2011. 

The watch comes in two sizes and three different versions: Apple Watch; Apple Watch Sport, with an aluminum casing; and Apple Watch Edition, made from 18-karat gold. It can be personalized with six different straps that can be switched out to turn the watch into a sporting device or a fashion statement. 

Apple Watch features a flexible band and rounded square screen. It comes equipped with a touch screen that has pressure sensitivity, allowing it to tell the difference between a tap and a press. The Apple Watch also has a dial on the side of the screen, called the "digital crown," that allows users to zoom in and out, mirroring the pinch to zoom functionality without obstructing the display. It's also the home button for the device. The button below the digital crown pulls up a personalized list of contacts.

"Apple Watch is made to be worn," said Cook, noting that the company has thought not only about function, but about the way the watch looks. 

Of course, the Apple Watch does more than just tell time. It also comes with fitness and workout apps. The watch has LED sensors on the back that take data, such as heart rate, from a person's wrist. In addition, the watch — which must be connected to an iPhone — also receives messages and calendar invites. And it works with Apple Pay, the new digital payment system announced during the same event

Apple Watch also comes equipped with voice recognition software Siri and access to Apple apps including photos and maps. Third-party developers including Twitter, Pinterest and Major League Baseball have also developed apps for the watch.

The Apple Watch will work with the newly announced iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus but will also work with older models including the 5s, 5c and 5. The price starts at $349 and it will be available in early 2015.   

Apple has been rumored to be working on a wearable device for more than a year and was initially said to be targeting a 2014 launch. But Cook has often said that the company will take its time to develop a stellar product. Meanwhile, competitors including Samsung and Sony have released their own watches to compete with the likes of fitness-trackers such as Nike FuelBand and Fitbit. 

Email: Natalie.Jarvey@THR.com
Twitter: @NatJarv

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