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Everything We Currently Know About The Apple Watch

It’s arriving soon-ish. Here’s what we’ve learned since its unveiling last September.

Everything We Currently Know About The Apple Watch
[Photo: courtesy of Apple]

It’s 2015. So where’s the Apple Watch? The company announced its smartwatch back in September of last year at its iPhone event with only that vague “early 2015” time frame for its official release. Since then, more information has trickled out, giving us a somewhat better picture of what to expect when the gadget finally goes on sale.

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Here’s what we (think we) know so far.

Timing

9to5Mac‘s Mark Gurman has reported that the Apple Watch will launch in late March, according to unnamed sources. Though that date remains unconfirmed, Gurman has been particularly reliable with information he’s reported in the past.

In the same post, he mentions that Apple store employees will receive Apple Watch training materials mid-February. However, he doesn’t say whether Apple plans to hold another media event to promote the watch before it lands in stores.

Apps

In November Apple released WatchKit, the development software that developers use to build Apple Watch apps. This exposed a number of specs and features that weren’t announced at the watch’s unveiling.

  • The resolution will be 272 by 340 for the 38mm version of the watch and 312 by 390 for the 42mm version
  • Maps will be static and non-interactive, at least at first
  • Developers won’t be able to create custom gestures
  • The watch will be able to do a few things on its own–such as count your steps–but most tasks require an iPhone to do most of the computational heavy lifting
  • Native apps which live entirely on the watch will be coming sometime in 2015

The Apple Watch will get its own iPhone app for managing watch apps. Signs of this started showing up in a new iOS 8.2 beta that will likely be pushed out before the watch launches.


9to5Mac‘s Gurman also reported on the app itself, highlighting previously unknown functions.

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  • You’ll be able to use the iPhone app to customize the watch, such as reorganizing apps on the home screen
  • More detailed and granular options for health and fitness will be available in the app
  • Users will be able to reply to messages via speech-to-text or audio

The companion app will also offer finer controls over maps, notifications, and personal customizations.

We won’t know exactly which apps we’ll see in the App Store on day one, but there are a few confirmed apps which developers are working on.

We know Twitter and Facebook will have apps. City Mapper will also have a transit app which could potentially be the perfect travel companion. During the Apple Watch announcement, 64 app icons were shown on the watch, some of which went unmentioned. People have since dissected the list and figured out what most apps are.


The developer behind Deadline, an app for predicting when you’ll die, has announced that the app will be coming to the Apple Watch. He’s also put up a video demonstrating how it will work.

InMarket is a company currently deploying iBeacon devices and companion apps to let retail establishments interact with their customers’ phones. It’s recently announced a development kit for further deeply integrating the Apple Watch with iBeacons. The first app the watch will work directly with is inMarket’s shopping app, List Ease.

InMarket isn’t the only company leveraging developer support for new Apple Watch functionality. Advertising technology purveyor TapSense is working on getting ads onto the watch using all the available options such as the glance view, notifications, and watch faces. Will Apple be okay with advertising on its device? That part isn’t clear, but if ads don’t make it onto the watch it won’t be for a lack of trying.

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Pipes News is a news app that will be available on the Apple Watch, but the developers have taken things a step further and built a demo of the watch in the browser to (sort of) simulate the experience of actually using the watch.

InfinitApps’s Bezel tool goes further, letting developers mock up their watch apps on the iPhones with pixel-by-pixel precision. This isn’t for the average consumer, but should help developers before the Apple Watch reaches stores.

Pricing

Apple announced that the watch would start at $349, but didn’t say which version you’d get for that price, or what the higher-end versions would cost. It also didn’t mention whether the two different sizes would cost different amounts.

There’s been lots of speculation in this area, but nothing substantial enough for anyone to grab onto and run with. It’s still a black hole.

Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber has guessed, based on material costs and other factors, that the stainless steel watch could start at $999, while the solid-gold Apple Watch Edition could start as high as $4,999. That’s just one opinion, however.


Unless real pricing leaks out, we’ll just have to wait until Apple itself chooses to detail what the various models will cost.

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Hardware

Apple has been showing off the Apple Watch hardware on its website since the event. New information suggests that Samsung might have its hand inside the device.

Rumors from the supply chain indicate that Apple may be using a Samsung manufactured 28-nanometer chip to power its watch. TSMC currently manufactures chips for Apple using a 20-nanometer process, so it’s not entirely clear why Apple would be ordering these chips from Samsung.

With the exception of details such as the ones above–some of which could turn out to be inaccurate–most of the information that Apple has wanted to keep secret about the Apple Watch has stayed that way. If you were already excited about the watch, you’re probably still drooling; if you were unconvinced, you may well remain so.

Apple is no doubt saving information likely to get more people on board in order to make as big a splash as possible right before the watch goes on sale. What information are you still waiting for?

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About the author

Tyler Hayes is a Southern California native, early technology adopter, and music enthusiast.

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