For Apple, the hard part – making a smart watch – is nearly over. Soon it will be time for the harder part: selling the long-anticipated Apple Watch to consumers who, so far, are not very excited about the idea of wearing computers on their bodies.
The Apple Watch, which Apple introduced in September and is expected to be in stores in April, is a miniature computer worn around the wrist, with a touch screen and a crown for navigating the device. There are three different models sold at different prices, and the bands are interchangeable.
Apple has marketed it as a device that can appeal to a range of customers like fitness buffs and luxury watch collectors. But it has limited its functions, making it more like a watch, more easily relatable than a tech doodad that happens to look like a watch, said Ben Bajarin, a consumer technology analyst for Creative Strategies.
Apple is expected to say more about price. The starting price for a basic Apple Watch is $350. Apple has not yet said how much people will have to pay for higher-end models, like the Apple Watch Edition, which is made of 18-karat gold, although watch enthusiasts estimate that it will cost upward of $10,000. The watch requires a connection to an iPhone to fully operate.
Apple long ago decided that for the first version of the product, it would include a heart rate sensor and a sensor for tracking movement, to market the device as a fitness-tracking companion to the iPhone. It also has a chip that helps it make wireless payments.
Apple has said the watch battery is estimated to last a full day, requiring a user to charge it at night, similar to a smartphone. The company also developed a yet-to-be-announced feature called Power Reserve, a mode that will run the watch on low energy but display only the time, according to one employee.
Apple will release the watch a bit later than it had hoped because of technology challenges. Still, when Apple releases its watch in April, it will enter a market already flooded with smart watches running Android Wear, a version of Google’s Android software system tailored for wearable computers.