Everything we do (and still don’t) know about Apple Watch

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Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Apple blew us away today with its HBO Now partnership, sexy new MacBook, and ResearchKit. But the star of the show was Apple Watch, which has the potential to be either a game changer or massive flop.

For those who don’t remember, this was the second time Apple execs have taken the stage to talk Apple Watch. We got an initial preview of the Watch back in September, and today’s event was more for filling in the knowledge gaps.

While we already knew the Watch’s main selling points and the kinds of apps it would run, there was still some crucial information that needed answering. Luckily Apple did address the most important questions, but it also left certain aspects of the Watch in ambiguity.

What we learned:

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How much it costs

The biggest question on everyone’s minds going into the event today was pricing, especially regarding the luxurious Apple Watch Edition. Here’s how much each Apple Watch costs in the United States:

– 38mm Apple Watch Sport for $349
– 42mm Apple Watch Sport for $399

On to the stainless steel collection:

– 38mm Apple Watch for $549
– 42mm Apple Watch for $599

The 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000, and its most expensive configuration maxes out at $17,000

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How bands work

Back in September, Apple sent the clear message that Watch bands were designed to be mixed and matched. That’s still the case.

Although some bands are only sold with certain watches, all Watch models of the same size (38mm or 42mm) will work with any band of the same size.

The Sport Band costs $49 (you get two in the box for the base $349 Watch) the Leather Loop costs $149, the Classic Buckle costs $149, the Milanese Loop costs $149, the Modern Buckle costs $249, and the Link Bracelet costs a whopping $449. So when calculating a Watch’s cost beyond the included Sport Band, just add the cost of the band.

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When it’s available for sale

Preorders for the Apple Watch start April 10 on Apple’s website, and it officially goes on sale April 24. Apple stores will have the Watch on display starting April 10, so you have a couple weeks to go in and try one on before deciding what to buy.

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Water resistant, not waterproof

Apple has confirmed that the Watch is water resistant, not waterpoof.

“You can, for example, wear and use Apple Watch during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended,” according to Apple. “The leather bands are not water resistant.”

While it could technically withstand water submerged at one meter for up to 30 minutes, testing its limits is not recommended.

Apple Watch charging cable. Photo: Apple

Better than expected battery life

We already knew that the Apple Watch would need to be charged every night, and Apple could have easily gone with 12 hours of use and called that “all day” battery life. But instead the Watch will have 18 hours of normal use and three days in Power Reserve mode, which restricts it to only telling the time.

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No upgradeability

While not completely confirmed, it was pretty clear from today’s event that the Apple Watch will not be upgradeable.

Apple made a big deal of showing off its system-on-a-chip, the S1, back in September, which led some to believe that upgrading could be as simple as swapping a S1 for a S2 next year. That doesn’t appear to be the case even with the ultra-expensive Edition model.

What we still don’t know:

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What about accessories?

There’s clearly an opportunity for some cool third-party Watch accessories. We’ve already seen companies announce stuff like bands that extend battery life and waterproof cases. But Apple didn’t mention accessories once for the Watch today.

It looks like there is some sort of mystery port on the side of the casing that could potentially allow for cool accessories down the road, but Apple hasn’t announced any formal guidelines for other companies to follow.

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Retail availability outside of Apple stores

There was a rumor that Nordstrom might be the only official retail partner for the Watch, but Apple could end up being the only way you can try on and buy a Watch in person.

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Where can you buy the Edition?

The $10,000 Edition model is still shrouded in some secrecy. Apple said that it will available in “select stores” next month, but we don’t know exactly where.

How Apple plans to sell such an expensive product remains to be seen as well. We doubt that it will be on display next to the kids section of the Apple store with the booger-covered yoga balls.

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How much storage will you get?

Apple made no mention, including on its updated website, of the amount of storage each Watch will have. We know that it will have to offer at least a few GBs of space for storing music, but exactly how much remains to be seen.

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AppleCare+ pricing

There will be an optional AppleCare+ extended warranty for the Watch (Edition owners get it for free), but we don’t know how much it will cost yet.