Last time, I shared additional insights on Apple's new 12″ MacBook, which came to light subsequent to the company's March 9 Spring Forward event. This time, I'll do the same with the Apple Watch line. First off: pricing. CEO Tim Cook and the rest of the team were (intentionally, I suspect) nebulous on the price specifics of the various upper-end gold “Edition” combinations (case sizes, plus band/buckle materials and colors), saying only that pricing was “beginning at $10,000.”
Now that the company's published the entire Apple Watch gallery, however, we know that pricing extends up to the stratospheric $17,000 threshold. But hey, Edition models come with an extra year of AppleCare+ default warranty coverage at no extra charge. And speaking of “generosity,” Apple plans to bundle two Sport bands, at varying widths, with each low-end Sport edition Watch it sells.
Speaking of warranty coverage, what happens when the embedded battery's recharge-count endurance runs out? Did Apple spring “obsolescence by design” on us once again? The answer is no, thankfully. Company officials estimate that each battery should last around three years, and report that batteries are factory-replaceable (at an as-yet-unannounced price and lead time; can the swap be done right at a local store's Genius Bar, or will shipment to a regional repair depot be necessary?).
Here's more on batteries, specifically between-charge battery life. During the event, Apple only tossed out an 18-hour estimate, which my coverage noted was “to some degree dependent on the percentage of active-vs-standby operation driven by any particular usage profile.” Once the Apple website came back up with Watch content, however, we got more specifics. Quoting from MacRumours' coverage:
The wrist-worn device gets all-day battery life of 18 hours on a single charge based on mixed usage, and up to 72 hours in Power Reserve mode. The battery testing was conducted in March using a preproduction Apple Watch paired with an iPhone running preproduction software. Apple claims that the Apple Watch has battery life of up to 3 hours for talk time, 6.5 hours for audio playback over Bluetooth, up to 7 hours during a workout session with the heart rate sensor on and up to 48 hours for timekeeping.
Apple Watch charging times are listed as about 1.5 hours from 0% to 80% and 2.5 hours from 0% to 100% using the included MagSafe inductive charger. Apple's claim of all-day battery life is based on using the Apple Watch for 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback via Bluetooth over the course of 18 hours. Apple used a 38mm Apple Watch for testing and claims that the 42mm will generally experience longer battery life.
Note mention of Power Reserve mode, which had been rumored beforehand. This optional mode shows only the time on the watch face; all other functions are temporarily disabled to preserve remaining stored battery charge. Note, too, that the 42mm case size variant unsurprisingly contains a larger battery with (unspecified) longer resultant between-charge life. And finally, should you want to purchase additional inductive chargers (for use when traveling, for example), they'll set you back $29 (1m cable) or $39 (2m cable).
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