Apple Watch Series 2: Specs, straps and all you need to know

Apple is refreshing its smartwatch with three new features. Here are the details.

Apple Watch price: will anyone pay £13,500 for high-tech timepiece?

10 March

After years of anticipation, Apple finally unveiled its high-tech smartwatch in California last night. The device, which comes billed as "the most advanced timepiece ever", has a battery life of just 18 hours.

It comes in 22 variants, from the smaller Watch Sport, which starts at £299 to the top end 18-carat gold Watch Edition model which costs a hefty £13,500.

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The Apple Watch's price varies wildly according to which materials, face size and strap a customer chooses. The 38mm (1.5in) version of the device will be cheaper than the larger 42mm (1.7in) models, which will cost about $50 more than the lower-priced devices. So will anyone want to buy the top-end model?

"It feels a little pricey," Van Baker, an analyst at Gartner, told The Times. "But they will sell a whole bunch. They will sell millions to their fans in the first few months but we will have to see if real demand emerges after that. Whether that will happen depends on whether the apps for Watch are seriously compelling to the average person."

A range of apps were launched alongside the new device, including Todoist, an easy to use to-do list app; Shazam, an extension of the music identifying phone app; Uber, the taxi app that now allows you to watch your taxi arrive on your wrist; and new Watch-based offerings from Nike, Instagram, The Guardian and more.

The apps that were shown were good, Van Baker said, but there was no "killer".

The Apple Watch is equipped to monitor your health, and can be used as a phone and tapped at tills to make purchases, but some Apple Watchers suggest that there is no groundbreaking function to help drive sales that cannot be performed by other devices.

Nevertheless the Apple Watch is likely to sell at least 10 million and possibly as many as 20 million units this year, Forbes says. This "reveals anew the company's unsurpassed ability to gain interest for a product that people don't really know what to do with yet".

According to the US market research company Forrester, there is an appetite for a device that is easier to check than a mobile phone. Forrester's research has shown that 40 per cent of adults in the US "prefer not to keep pulling their phones out", and as many as half of mobile interactions involve a quick notification, such as a photo or a news update that requires only a glance.

Still, the move towards tiered pricing represents a new direction for Apple, argues Fusion's Kevin Roose. Up until now Apple devices have offered a uniform level of luxury that was exactly the same for middle-class buyers as it was for celebrities and multimillionaires. The graded pricing for Apple's watches is a "historic change" for the Californian tech company, with some products all but out of reach of the average buyer.

Being an iPhone customer has never been a cheap proposition, Roose notes, but neither were Apple products ever true luxuries. "The iPhone's leveling effect produced an incredibly profound vision of social equivalence". Now, however, "It's possible that the mere presence of $10,000 or $15,000 Apple Watches on the street … will be a psychological disturbance to people who are stuck wearing their $349 Sport editions. It's also possible that, as they say in marketing, these customers will feel 'distanced from the brand' in a way that comes back to bite Apple down the road".

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