Apple Inc. has launched its long-awaited watch in an array of models costing from US$349 to US$17,000.
It’s the first product to be developed and rolled out under Tim Cook, who until now has struggled to make his personal mark on a line of hits largely attributed to his predecessor, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who died in 2011.
Already, some investors are wondering whether the Apple watch will be a runaway hit like the iPhone 6 before it, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The new device can be ordered starting April 10. It will be in stores on April 24, including chic boutiques in Paris, London and Tokyo.
Cook shared the stage with model Christy Turlington Burns, who used it to train for a marathon, and Apple engineers who showed how to send drawings, pictures and even heartbeats with the watch.
“I think there’s a niche market for these kind of Apple tech people who love Apple and will buy anything they come out with, said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust Company in Atlanta, Georgia, who described Wall Street as “scratching its head”.
“But I just don’t know if it’s going to be the power product that everyone’s looking for.”
Style critics mostly said they see the watch as a gadget, not a must-have accessory.
The Apple Watch sport will start at US$349 for the smaller 38 mm. model. The standard version will start at US$549 and the high-end Edition watch will be priced from US$10,000.
A 38 mm. US$17,000 Edition model has a case made from a customized version of 18-karat rose gold, which is especially hard, along with a sapphire display, and comes with a magnetic charging case.
A US$349 Sport model of the same size has an aluminum case, a sport band and a magnetic charging cable and no case.
All the watches share digital faces that can look like traditional time pieces, show the heart beat of a friend, and display photos and interfaces for apps.
The Edition price tag which is inexpensive compared with a Patek Philippe Nautilus at just over US$42,000 on 11main.com, inspired plenty of jibes on social media, including many who questioned whether it would become outdated and compared the price to a car’s.
“Apple has been very good at personalizing its products,” said Angelo Zino, an analyst at S&P Capital IQ, who said the “intimacy” of the watch was appealing. He saw 10 million in sales this year.
The watch will track exercise and remind wearers of events with a tap on the wrist.
Cook also laid out other product successes and launched a new MacBook notebook computer that starts at US$1,299 and weighs as little as two pounds.
Also, every major car brand has committed to delivering Apple’s CarPlay entertainment system, Cook said.
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