Apple Watch starts at $349, ships April 24

Apple first revealed its smart watch way back in September. We didn't get too many details at the time, ahem, but Apple revealed much more during its "Spring Forward" event in San Francisco today, including information on pricing, availability, and battery life.

Amusingly, CEO Tim Cook kicked off the discussion by confirming that yes, the Apple Watch can tell time. The device's internal clock is apparently accurate to within 50 milliseconds of Coordinated Universal Time, otherwise known as UTC. Watch functionality? Check.

The Sport version

As expected, the Apple Watch will also be quite expensive. The lineup starts with the Sport version, which combines an aluminum case and "fluoroelastomer" band for $349. The standard variant replaces aluminum with steel and bumps the sticker up to $549. Both of those prices are for the smaller size, which has a 38-mm face. Larger, 42-mm versions of each style will be available for an extra $50.

The Apple Watch Edition. Because fashion.

Then there's the Edition, er, edition. This blinged-out model has an 18-karat gold case and a $10,000 starting price. Gulp.

All versions of the Apple Watch will be available for pre-order on April 10. Shipments are scheduled to begin two weeks later.

We still know very little about the hardware lurking inside. However, Apple claims the battery is good for up to 18 hours of mixed use. Folks will be able to juice up the tank with a magnetic charger that snaps onto the back of the watch. I didn't see any mention of sleep tracking during the presentation, presumably because Apple expects users to charge the watch overnight.

In an interesting twist, the Apple Watch includes a haptic notification function meant to emulate a tap on the wrist. This feature also combines with the device's heart-rate sensor to let users broadcast their heartbeats to other Apple Watches. Sadly, Cook didn't take advantage of the potential for another U2 tie-in.

A peek at the heart-rate sensor on the standard, steel version

The heart-rate monitor joins an integrated accelerometer to feed the watch's fitness tracker. There's a calorie counter, too, but measuring distance requires an accompanying iPhone. The Apple Watch doesn't have a GPS unit of its own, making it somewhat awkward for serious running or cycling.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple originally intended to include additional biometric sensors that could have provided more fodder for health and fitness tracking. Those sensors didn't perform consistently, the site says, so they were scratched from the final product. Interestingly, the WSJ adds that interpreting data from some biometric sensors may require approval from U.S. regulators like the Food and Drug Administration.

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