SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Apple CEO Tim Cook got in some extra sleep before he’s expected to unveil the company’s newest device and make the case for why it’s a must-have gadget.
Apple teased the smartwatch in September but has given few details. Scheduled to hit the market in April, industry watchers are eager to see if Apple’s version will be the tipping point for the sluggish smartwatch market. There was similar skepticism when Apple released the iPad in 2010, yet the company has successfully sold millions and its popularity has shaken up the PC market.
The stakes are high for a company that just dislodged AT&T as one of the 30 stocks comprising the venerable Dow Jones industrial average. The watch is the first brand-new device Apple has launched without Steve Jobs.
Apple’s 10 a.m. PST event will likely begin with other product announcements. Here’s a look at what’s known so far and what to look for.
WHAT WILL IT DO?
— Show email, texts and phone calls, news, health readings and other notifications. They will be customized for the watch, so you won’t simply see what’s on the phone.
— An accelerometer will count steps you take, and an internal motor can signal you with a subtle “tap” on the wrist. There’s also a heart monitor; it’s not clear yet what heart rate readings you’ll get during exercise and rest.
— NFC wireless technology will to allow you to pay-with-a-tap through Apple Pay at participating retail stores and restaurants.
Although some features may work without your smartphone nearby, you will need an iPhone 5 or later model in close proximity for full functionality.
Plenty of people are already pondering what else it will do and what it will look like.
WHAT APPS ARE IN THE WORKS?
In September, Apple said several apps are in development. One would open your room at Starwood hotels. Another would help you find your BMW in a crowded parking lot.
It’s not yet known what apps will be rolled out with the April launch. But the success of Apple Watch could ride on what apps are in store to extend the watch’s functionality.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? WHEN CAN I BUY IT?
Apple has said the watch will start at $349 for the base model. There will be three different lines: aluminum for fitness enthusiasts, stainless steel for everyday wear and luxury 18-karat gold. Each line will come in two sizes and offer a variety of wristbands. The luxury edition might cost several thousand dollars, in line with other high-end jewelry. One question is whether Apple will let you keep the expensive casing and swap internal components as they are upgraded.
Apple will likely give a specific release date on Monday, along with a list of initial markets outside the U.S.
HOW CAN I WATCH?
The event starts at 10 a.m. PST in San Francisco. Apple’s live stream is available on the Apple TV set-top box or the Safari browser on OS X (10.6.8 and above) and iOS devices (iOS 6 and above). You can also watch on Apple.com/live.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Bear Climbs Down From Tree Near Downtown San Anselmo Following Shelter-in-Place
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