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Apple Watch highlights: features, price and UK release date

Tim Cook and his Apple buddies took to the stage to talk more about the Apple Watch, the Apple wearable first unveiled back in September 2014. So what’s new, what apps can we expect, and what’s the UK price and release date? All this and more in our brief Apple Watch launch highlights round-up…

“It’s not just with you. It’s on you.” That was Tim Cook’s slightly creepy tagline for the Apple Watch, and he followed it up with a bunch of features you can expect at launch. Here are the main ones.

What are the coolest features of the Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch tells the time! It’s apparently accurate within 15 milliseconds, and you can rock a number of different faces when the watch is hibernating, just like in Android Wear – including a funky Mickey Mouse effort. You can also add the date, your next meeting and other bits to the main face.

‘Glances’ allows you to quickly check your favourite information from the main watch face with just a swipe, including the weather or your heart rate.

You can read and respond to messages right there on your watch, including full emails. Responding to an email using a tiny watch screen doesn’t sound much fun (although the Apple Watch does support voice-to-text), but Apple has included tons of emoji to help you reply with a simple barf face or whatever.

You can also take calls on your watch thanks to the built-in mic and speaker, a feature first found on Samsung’s Gear range.

Digital Touch is a new feature that allows you to connect your watch to another mate’s Apple Watch. You can then send them taps to get their attention, random sketches or even your heart rate for some reason.

The Activity app tells you how long you’ve been moving, exercising, standing and sitting around, so you know exactly how slovenly you’ve been. You’ll also get round-up summaries of your week, so you know how you’ve fared against previous weeks. The Watch will even boss you into standing up if you’ve been sat around too long.

Apple Pay is compatible with Apple Watch, so you don’t need to whip your iPhone out to pay for that pastie – or at least, you can once it finally comes to the UK, whenever that may be. Siri also works with Apple Watch, so you can issue commands using your angelic pipes.

As for third party apps, the likes of Uber is supported so you can order a car with a couple of taps and you’ll get a notification showing you your driver, the license plate number and so on. Shazam is also on board, so you can quickly identify songs as soon as you hear them.

The Apple Watch will also help paranoid types with their home security, as you can stream live feeds from supported cameras secreted around your home (or wherever else you leave them. We’re not here to judge.)

So what about charging? Well, Apple’s Watch charger is a magnetic affair that snaps onto the back, and Apple reckons you can get 18 hours of life per charge – but we’re guessing that’s with very limited app use.

So, how much and when is the Apple Watch coming to the UK?

Just to confuse matters, the Apple Watch will come in a number of different models.

Apple Watch Sport, for instance, is made from anodised aluminum that’s 60% stronger than most alloys but just as light. The face comes in silver or space grey, and you have a choice of colourful bands. You can grab it from $349.

You can also grab a stainless steel model with a metal bracelet, which is ‘no ordinary stainless steel’ of course. It’s apparently 80% stronger and less resistant to nicks than normal steel. It’ll cost $549 to $1099 depending on your choice of size and band.

‘Apple Watch Edition’ is the 18 karat solid gold model, which comes with custom designed bands. There are limited quantities and it is priced from $10,000. Excuse me, I just cried a little.

The Apple Watch opens for pre-order on April 10th and available in the UK on April 24th. And if you can’t wait that long to fondle one, you can go to an Apple Store on the 10th and fiddle with the different models.

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