Love it or loathe it: Apple will sell 10 million watches in 2015
Apple has lifted the lid on the most anticipated new gadget of the year, the Apple Watch.
The new device - which goes on sale here in May and will cost from €400 - is designed to replace smartphones for everyday functions such as quick checks of text messages and social media notifications. It will also allow you to answer calls and check daily events - such as sports scores, flights or weather - using voice commands.
Apple also unveiled some new music, fashion and business apps for the product, which has a promised battery life of 18 hours between charges.
While the basic aluminium model is expected to sell more than 10 million units this year, the top-end gold version will cost more than €10,000, making it Apple's the most expensive product Apple ever.
A hands-on trial by the Irish Independent at an event in Berlin last night revealed a device that people will either love or hate. Although it is larger than many conventional watches, it sits relatively comfortably on an ordinary wrist and is slightly easier to use than some Android smartwatches. Rather than relying on hit-or-miss screen swipes to control functions, it uses a small knob on one side as a controller.
It can also be used to pay for purchases in more than 700,000 retail locations in the US, although Apple has not said when its Apple Pay system will arrive in Ireland and the rest of Europe. Most market pundits believe the watch will be a success, selling at least 10 million units each year. If so, it could add €20bn in revenue to a company that already has €160bn in cash and a stock market valuation of €700bn.
Apple also launched a new slim 12-inch 'retina' screen MacBook that is thinner and lighter than its MacBook Air models. The new laptop - which replaces all USB ports with just one common port for charging and connections - has a new battery-saving Intel chip and will cost €1,500.
Apple also reduced the price of its Apple TV device to €80, while the company also announced an exclusive partnership with premium cable operator HBO. The service will be available on Apple TV devices. The company also launched a new health diagnostic service, Research Kit. The system will be used to help diagnose conditions such as Parkinson's, diabetes and asthma. The system aims to make iPhones and iPads into medical diagnostic accessories. The system will be launched for developers next month.
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