THE APPLE WATCH is the company's first attempt to shake-up the wearables market, and if analyst estimations are anything to go by, the device has managed to do just that.
According to the newest numbers, Apple has sold seven million smartwatches so far, and analysts expect this figure to almost double during the December quarter. While Apple has yet to reveal official exact sales figures, these figures suggest that the Apple Watch has already bagged itself 75 percent of the smartwatch market.
If you haven't bagged your Apple Watch yet, we've rounded up everything you need to know about buying one below.
If you're holding out for the next-generation model, check out our Apple Watch 2 rumours, release date, price and specs roundup.
Release date and where to buy
The Apple Watch was first available to buy on 10 April, a day upon which it sold close to one million units, before arriving in stores on 24 April.
Naturally, these stores include the Apple Store, John Lewis and Selfridges. However, Three has since become the first operator to start offering the Apple Watch, announcing in December that it can be picked up at 41 of its shops across the country.
The more expensive Apple Watch version is available from £479, going up to £949 depending on the case and band combination. For example, a 38mm Apple Watch with a Black Classic Buckle strap will set you back £559, while the 42mm model is £50 more expensive.
As expected, the Apple Watch Edition, which is crafted from rose or yellow 18 carat gold, is the most expensive. It's available at the Apple website from £8,000, rising to £13,500 for the most expensive version.
The Apple Watch is available in 1.5in (38mm) and 1.7in (42mm) screen sizes, with 272x340 and 319x390 resolutions respectively. The smartwatch features a square display, unlike the round screen on the Moto 360, which comes coated in a protective layer of sapphire crystal. The device is available with different faces and 34 different straps.
Apple didn't mention this during its glitzy launch event, but its website confirms that the smartwatch is also certified to the IPX7 waterproof standard, which means it's protected against a "short duration of water immersion" at a depth of less than one metre.
The Apple Watch runs a custom version of iOS designed from the ground up. It supports touch navigation, but the UI can also be controlled by the handset's Digital Crown. This mechanical wheel, like that which you would normally use to set the time on a standard watch, lets you scroll and browse through the user interface.
For example, scrolling the Digital Crown will allow you to zoom in and out on Apple's Maps app, while tapping it will take you back to the main home screen.
Apple's new Taptic engine improves the mapping experience, buzzing wearers with different vibrations when they need to turn left or right. This feature can also be used to send fellow Apple Watch wearers a nudge or your heartbeat, and for notification alerts.
On the software side, the Apple Watch comes with Siri, allowing users to bark commands at their wrist and reply to messages. On-screen typing will not be supported owing to the small screen size, but a feature called Smart Replies offers a number of pre-written responses for those who feel silly talking to their wrist. Those who don't will be able to answer calls from the Apple Watch.
Handoff is supported on the Apple Watch, a feature introduced alongside iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and HomeKit and HealthKit support is included, which allows control of devices in the home and can track fitness levels.
The Apple Watch is stuffed full of health and fitness sensors, and is capable of measuring heart rate, calories burned and body movements. This all comes in Apple's new Activity and Workout apps, which can also count calories and monitor personal goals.
You might want to think twice about picking up an Apple Watch for monitoring your health if you have a tattooed wrist, though. Reports have revealed that the device's heart rate sensor doesn't function properly on inked skin, nor is the Watch able to detect when it is being worn.
Apple had reportedly planned to install more advanced health features, such as sensors to measure stress and oxygen levels, but encountered reliability problems during testing.
There will be a number of different watch faces to choose from, which can be changed with a long-press on the home screen. Swiping up from the bottom of the display will launch a feature called Glances to swipe through recent notifications.
NFC will come inside the device, allowing wearers to make use of the Apple Pay contactless payments service, which is also available on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets. It's not yet clear when this will be available in the UK, but Visa tells us that it will arrive at some point this year.
Despite speculation that the Apple Watch battery might last a mere 2.5 hours with heavy application use, CEO Tim Cook claimed that it will last 18 hours on average. Wireless charging support is included.
Apple's website sheds some more light on the smartwatch's battery, revealing that users can expect around 6.5 hours of music playback, and 3.5 hours of talk time. It also reveals that the Apple Watch will take 1.5 hours to charge to 80 percent, and 2.5 hours to full.
Other specifications include an S1 processor, Bluetooth 4.0 support, WiFi and 8GB storage.
However, as reported by 9to5Mac, the Apple Watch won't offer 8GB usable storage, and will instead offer a mere 75MB for photos and 2GB for music.
Like most smartwatches, you will need a compatible phone to use the Apple Watch. These the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5S.
We've also compared the Apple Watch with the Pebble Time Steel. µ
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