The much-heralded Apple Watch will ship on April 24 with price tags ranging from about $350 for the Sports edition all the way up to $12,000 or more for a limited-edition model in 18kt gold, Apple said Monday.
CEO Tim Cook pitched the pricey timepieces at an event in San Francisco, where he aimed to convey that there will be a style of Apple Watch to suit everyone's taste.
"Apple Watch is the most personal device we've ever created. It's not just with you, it's on you," he told the crowd.
There are three basic editions -- the sports model, in silver or "space-grey" aluminium; a standard model, in silver or black stainless steel; and the high-end gold edition. Each comes in two sizes, with a 38mm or 42mm display.
The small version of the standard edition will be priced from $549 all the way up to $1,049, Cook said, or from $599 to $1,099 for the larger version. The huge price range partly reflects the wide choice of straps available, including options in metal, leather and synthetic rubber.
The sports version will be priced from $349 for the small version and from $399 for the larger version, Cook said. It's available with the synthetic rubber strap in a range of colors.
The gold high-roller edition will be available in limited quantities from $10,000 for the small version, up $12,000 for the larger model. Depending on the strap it can reach as high as $17,000.
The watches can all be pre-ordered from April 10 and they'll be delivered starting April 24, Cook said. They'll be available initially in the U.S., the U.K., China, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Canada and Australia, with other countries to follow as quickly as Apple can manage, he said.
Apple had already said a lot about the watch when it showed it in September. It is, in a lot of ways, like a small, clever interface to your iPhone that you wear on your wrist. But there are also some nifty features unique to the watch.
It will work with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, of course, but also the 5, 5C and 5S. That's important, because the watch has to be paired with an iPhone for all its features to work.
It's Apple's first new category of product since it launched the iPad five years ago, so there's a lot at stake. Just as the iPad triggered a huge market for tablets, Apple hopes its watch will prove there's a mass market for a smart timepiece.
Key to its appeal are the elegant design and the user interface, which uses clever tricks to make maps, messaging and other apps easy to use to the small screen.
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