I was 50/50 on whether or not this was the event Apple would finally unveil their long-rumoured entry into the wearables market with an iWatch.  As it turns out, the rumours were true (albeit 2 years off the mark), and today we have officially seen the Apple Watch – available early 2015.

Before we go on though, full credit to Apple here, they’ve pulled off something not seen since the iPhone 3GS – launching a product for which no images were leaked prior to the announcement – that’s a big deal.  Could that indicate the early stage in which the Watch is at in development, or could it be a return to the USA for production and supply chain?  Only time will tell – one thing’s for sure – Tim Cook will be very happy.

AplWatch-Hero-Tumble-PRINTThere was genuine excitement in the room as Tim Cook paused and said “we’ve really gone through enough to call it a day, but we’re not quite finished yet” and then the words appeared on the screen “ONE MORE THING”.

AplWatch42-34R-HomeScreen-PRINT-1This was it – the Apple Watch – not the iWatch, just Apple Watch.

A bubble-like, rounded design with a huge range of colours and band options – this thing captured the crowd immediately.

In the hands on look at the device it was clear that there was just a demo-loop appearing on the screens, so we haven’t seen the functionality in full yet, but what was teased and demoed certainly looked impressive.

From the simple detachable straps/bands, to the digital crown on the side, design was clearly key to this device’s development.

On the back you can see what appear to be the sensors that do things like detect your heart-rate, but also provide the clip on magnetic charging capabilities.

There’s no date for release, other than “Early 2015” and the US pricing looks set to be $349, anything around $400 will be a success for Apple in Australia.

AplWatch42-Sstl-RbrWht-PF_iPhone6-Svr-PF-PRINTThere are three “collections” coming:

  • Apple Watch, which is a polished metal, or black steel case,
  • Apple Watch Sport, has a “space grey” or silver aluminium case and rubberised Sport Band
  • Apple Watch Edition, the exclusive looking 18-karat rose or yellow gold case with some straps that are “exclusive to this collection

Seeing the huge range of colours and designs on show here, it’s easy to see how these will be displayed in Apple retail stores, and how successful that will be.

The strategy of announcing the device well before shipping means that developers can get started making apps for the device – remember, the iPhone wasn’t imagined to do anywhere near most of the things we do with it today thanks to the app community – time will tell what developers make the Apple Watch capable of.

This is set to be one of the most competitive spaces in technology for the next 12-24 months.  Apple has strong competition with Samsung’s excellent Gear 2, and the host of new Android Wear devices coming out.

Trevor Long travelled to the USA as a guest of Apple