September 28, 2020

Gadget of the week

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_81500378_c172ca25-ef36-4ee2-8dcb-59bfaf27c2e5 _81500381_6900c2d9-fd00-4de9-ac04-9cfd915123ca _81500383_75ad2de4-e6a6-4527-b9f2-505c23d46407 _81529422_ba2f6af6-8e11-4263-beb3-ab569095cb1d _81529425_b1f31c28-7ca7-497a-9750-7227183403e4Apple Watch prices and apps revealed

From BBC

Apple’s smartwatch collection will range in price from $349 to more than $10,000 (£230 to over £6,600) depending on the metals they are made from and the straps they are bought with.

The larger 42mm (1.7in) models of the Watch will cost about $50 more than the 38mm (1.5in) versions in the lower-priced ranges.

Apple also revealed that the devices are due to go on sale on 24 April.

Rivals’ smartwatches have only seen limited sales to date.

A press event held in San Francisco held few surprised about the wearable beyond the fact that the mid-range stainless steel edition would start at $549 and go up to $1,099.

Apple Watch
Apple said that shoppers would be able to try on different models in its stores
There had been speculation that Apple would seek a bigger price gap between the model and the basic aluminium-based Sports version – something that would have restricted its appeal.

“Apple’s pricing demonstrates the confidence it has in the new Apple Watch’s functionality, design and consumer appeal,” commented Ian Fogg from the tech consultants IHS.

Same specs
The US firm did not announce any difference in specifications between the aluminium, steel and gold-cased versions – there had been speculation that the higher-end editions might have more storage or allow some of their parts to be upgraded at a later point.

“When there were estimates of $700 or $800 for the basic stainless steel versions, I would have expected more than just a difference in materials,” said James Moar from Juniper Research.

“The fact Apple hasn’t done that is why there is no justification for a higher price.”

Apple Watch
Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said the Watch would typically last owners 18 hours between charges, providing a day’s worth of use.

The firm added that thousands of new apps had already been developed for the Watch ahead of it going on sale.

Facebook, Instagram, car pick-up service Uber and the Chinese messaging app WeChat are among those confirmed to have developed software for the device.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 2.12.53 PMApple also highlighted that its wrist-worn device could be used to make touchless payments and receive phone calls.

Other functions demonstrated by Apple included:

using the Watch as a means to open a compatible hotel room as an alternative to a key card
checking the name of a song via the app Shazam
opening an internet-connected garage door
Loyal super-fans
To provide many of its functions – including GPS tracking, receiving phone calls and transmitting messages – the Watch requires its owner to have an iPhone 5 or more recent Apple handset, limiting its potential audience.

Even so, one expert believes sales will be strong – at least initially.

“Apple will unquestionably sell millions of these watches because there’s pent-up demand from the loyal super-fans who will buy almost any Apple product,” said Ben Wood from the tech advisory firm CCS Insight.

“Even if this merely told the time they would deliver that first chunk of sales. But the challenge is how you get ordinary iPhone owners to buy the smartwatch, because to date consumers have been left wondering why they need them in their lives.”

Huawei watch
CCS Insight forecasts 20 million units will be sold by the end of this year – representing about 7% of the compatible iPhones currently in use.

However, other analysts range widely in their predictions, forecasting sales as low as eight million units to as high as 60 million in 2015.

For comparisons sake, the iPad sold 14.8 million units in the first nine months after its launch, more than double Wall Street’s most optimistic estimate.

The UK, US, France, Germany, Japan, Australia and Canada are among the first wave of countries where the smartwatches will be sold.

One-port laptop
Apple also announced a new 12in (30.5cm)-screened “retina” class laptop – meaning it has a higher resolution screen than its MacBook Air range, which remains on sale.

Apple said the new model was the “world’s most energy efficient notebook”.

The company added that it was its thinnest laptop to date, measuring 13.1mm (0.52in) at its thickest point, thanks in part to it no longer needing an internal fan.

MacBook USB-C port
It is also Apple’s first laptop to provide vibration feedback via its trackpad, and be sold in a gold-coloured option.

However, it only features a single port – called USB-C – which it uses to provide the machine with power, data and output to an exterior monitor or TV.

The firm suggested that users could also use Bluetooth and wi-fi to link the machine to other kit, but some users are likely to miss the ability to easily connect older peripherals such as an external hard disk or mouse.

The basic version will cost $1,299 (£860), making it a mid-range model for the company.

IMAGES:
Apple will make its smartwatches available for pre-order from 10 April on its website
China’s Huawei was among firms to unveil new smartwatch models based on Google’s Android Wear platform at the Mobile World Congress trade fair last week
Tim Cook with laptop Tim Cook showed off Apple’s thinnest laptop to date
The new laptop only features a single USB-C port in its side

For more on this story go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31794823

See also related iNews Cayman story published today “Why is Apple sitting on $142bn?”

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