Apple Watch unveiled as UK to get gadget in April

IT HAS taken on the likes of Google and Samsung in the war over smartphones.

Apple CEO Tim Cook presents the Apple Watch in San Francisco. Picture: Getty
Apple CEO Tim Cook presents the Apple Watch in San Francisco. Picture: Getty

But last night Apple took aim at Rolex and Tag Heuer with a premium version of its new watch – which will cost up to £12,000.

The Apple Watch Edition is made of 18-carat solid yellow or rose gold and comes with a gold case and buckle, plus sapphire crystal protecting the display.

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The audience at the launch gasped as Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook unveiled the price having described the device as “beautiful”.

The huge price tag means that the watch is nearly five times the cost of a top of the range iMac, which is £2,600.

The watch, versions of which start at a more modest £299, is Apple’s first new product since the iPad in 2010 and marks its debut in the wearables market.

It will hit shops next month with pre-orders from 10 April.

At the “Spring Forward” event in San Francisco, Mr Cook said that the watch was the “most advanced timepiece ever created” and a “revolutionary new way to connect with others”.

A new Apple Watch is on display in San Francisco. Picture: AP

Mr Cook said: “Apple Watch is the most personal device we’ve ever created. It’s not just with you, it’s on you.”

The watch will be available in three models: Apple Watch Sport, the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition, and all will be sold in either 1.4-inch (38mm) or 1.7-inch (42mm) ­versions.

Apple Watch Sport is made of custom silver anodized aluminium, Apple Watch is made of a specially designed stainless steel, but the premium edition surpasses all of them with its luxury design.

Writing on, Tim Moynihan said he was not convinced the premium edition would be such a threat to established watchmakers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the new Apple Watch. Picture: AP

He said: “It will certainly be an investment, but not in the same way an artisanal 18 carat gold Swiss watch might be.

“Technology is ever-evolving and fickle, and the Apple Watch may quickly become obsolete. It needs to be charged every day, and in a few years its battery will stop working altogether. This is not an heirloom.”

The Apple Watch wirelessly connects to your iPhone and lets you do many of the same functions only without having to reach into your pocket for your mobile.

The watch does not have a keyboard and users either press the touch screen to access apps or speak to dictate messages.

The speaker and microphone also let you make calls on the watch, something Mr Cook said he had been “wanting to do since I was five years old!”

Other features include a “Taptic Engine” which taps your wrist when you get a message.

A major sticking point appeared to be battery life and Mr Cook said that it would last 18 hours, though users of the LG G Watch, which runs Google’s Android Wear system, get two days.

Apple’s other big announcement was Research Kit which is five apps that Mr Cook said would “transform medical research in a way that’s truly ­profound”.

Users can carry out simple tests for major diseases like asthma, heart disease and breast cancer on their mobiles and the data will be sent to institutions such as Oxford University, which has partnered with Apple.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, showed how in the Parkinson’s disease test users tap the screen to evaluate hand tremors.

Given that Apple has just sold its 700 millionth iPhone, Mr Williams said that potential amount of data for scientists was huge.

Apple also unveiled a new Notebook that weighs just 2lbs and is 13.1mm thick, 24 per cent thinner than the MacBook Air, the thinnest Apple has ever ­created.