Apple Watch release date, price, features, availability and delivery date: Special edition Apple Watch bands arrive for the Olympics

But will only be available in Brazil

Apple Watch at a glance

  • Apple Watch has gone on sale worldwide online and in Apple Stores
  • There are four models of Apple Watch: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Hermès and the 18k gold Apple Watch Edition. Prices range from £299 to £13,500 inc VAT.
  • The smartwatch features a maximum 18-hour battery life and MagSafe 'wireless' induction charger.
  • Standout Apple Watch features include making and receiving calls, viewing email and messages, and "taptic" notifications.
  • Over 3,500 Apple Watch apps are available to download now.
  • WatchOS 2, the updated Apple Watch operating system, is available now
Apple Watch release date, price & features

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Apple Watch: latest news

25/07/2016: Apple has launched a range of Apple Watch bands especially for the Olympics, but they will only be available from one store in Brazil.

A range of straps, in national colours, are on sale in the Apple Store at VillageMall in Barra da Tijuca – the only place where punters will be able to buy the items, according to GQ.

The straps will be available from early August and come in a variety of colours corresponding to the national flags and colours used by 14 major competing teams, such as US, UK, China, Germany, and Brazil, to name a few.

Despite the lack of availability, US sprinter Trayvon Bromell has managed to get his hands on the US strap and posted a picture on Twitter to prove it.

The straps will be priced at R$329.

21/03/2016: Apple has announced a price-cut for the Apple Watch, as well as a new selection of bands for the device.

Unveiled alongside the iPhone SE at a special event earlier today, the new bands include updated colour options, such as a black version of the Milanese Loop.

Apple also revealed an entirely new band, made out of woven nylon, which will also be available in a selection of colours.

As part of the announcement, Apple also revealed that the Apple Watch was the most popular smartwatch in the world, despite initially slow uptake compared to the company's other devices.

To celebrate this, the company has lowered the price, bringing the cost of the Apple Watch down to a mere $299.

03/02/2016: A man in Aberystwyth has won a court battle against Apple after his Apple Watch broke within 10 days of purchase.

Gareth Cross, 32, bought the Apple Watch Sport in July 2015, only to spot a crack in the screen just over a week later. When he took it to Apple to be fixed, the company said it was not covered by warranty, despite the device being described as scratch-resistant.

Subsequently, Cross took Apple to the small claims court in his home town, claiming the company had broken the Sale Of Googs Act 1979.

Apple fought the case for six months, but has now been ordered to refund Cross the cost of the Watch and pay £429 court costs.

Cross told BBC News: "I couldn't understand why they would want to go to court over the issue, but ultimately I wanted [to] stand by my consumer rights."

The experience has not put Cross off buying another Apple Watch, however, who added: "I plan to buy another Apple Watch, as for the 10 days I had it, I really liked it. But I may wait until the next model is out."

IT Pro contacted Apple for its response to the ruling, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

25/01/2016: The Apple Watch could receive a refresh in March with new straps, casings, and partnerships with fashion brands all on the cards, it has been claimed. 

9to5Mac reports that the spring update is unlikely to feature any new hardware functionality, although it could launch alongside WatchOS 2.2, which is expected to introduce some new features. A full update in the form of the Apple Watch 2 is expected to come in September.

The company has also released two limited edition Apple Watch Sport models for Chinese New Year, one with a silver aluminium case, the other with a gold case and both with a red fluoroelastomer band. They are only being released in China, however.

13/01/2016: Juniper Research has revealed the Apple Watch was responsible for more than half of all smart watch shipments in 2015, despite only going on sale in September.

James Moar, who wrote the report, said overall, 17.1 million smart watches shipped last year, of which 8.8m were Apple Watches. Android Wear-branded competitors accounted for less than 10 per cent of sales.

Juniper attributed the watch's success was its wealth of apps, with 10,000 available on Apple's device compared to only 4,000 for its Android-powered counterparts.

"The smartwatch is now a category waiting for a market," Moar said. "Newer devices have offered more polished looks and subtly different functions, but no large changes in device capabilities or usage. With smartwatch functions established, it is now up to consumers to decide if they want them, rather than technology companies providing more reasons."

The report added that there are still barriers against smart watch adoption, including that people still don't see the need for one. In fact, of those surveyed, 30 per cent said they probably wouldn't use one even if they bought one.

04/01/2016: Researchers in Taiwan have invented a way to use the Apple Watch as a remote control capable of piloting drones and controlling lights.

The software, dubbed 'Dong coding' by company PVD+, has been in development for 18 months, and now its creators claim that it can be installed on any device.

"Previously we've needed complicated controls to fly drones, but now we can use a wearable device, and through human behaviour and gestures directly interact with them - using a hand to control and fly drones directly," the company's founder, Mark Ven, told Reuters.

Lights can also be turned on and off, or changed colour, by simply clapping twice or writing letters in the air. 

Drawbacks of the technology include interference from environmental factors such as wind, and high battery drain with the Watch typically only able to support the software for 20 minutes before losing power.

10/12/2015: Rumours have started to circulate about the new version of the Apple Watch, which is expected to launch next year. According to our sister title Know Your Mobile, Apple Watch 2 will be unveiled in March 2016. IT Pro, however, is a little skeptical of this timeline, particularly as the original Apple Watch range and the Watch Hermès were both revealed at Apple's annual September special event in California, which is when Apple traditionally launched new hardware, including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s ranges respectively.

Whichever date it turns out to be, the Apple Watch 2 will undoubtedly offer new features. One rumour is that it will be able to operate independently of an iPhone, although some analysts suggest this won't happen until 2017. Other rumours include a better battery, more storage, better Siri functions, built-in GPS, a camera and even more sensors.

04/12/2015: A document released by the US Patent Office shows a new screen technology that could make their way into the second version of the Apple Watch.

The patent, titled "Woven Display", was filed on 30 May 2014 - about three months before the current Apple Watch was revealed - and pretty much does what it says on the tin.

The abstract for the patent describes: "A woven fabric includes light transmissive fibers woven into the fabric to provide a visual display. The fabric may be used as a tether to releasably connect a portable electronic device to a user. The light transmissive fibers may transmit light to convey information to the user. The fabric may also be used as part of the housing of an electronic device."

What this could mean in practice is, instead of using Bluetooth, the next Apple Watch will connect directly to the wearer's iPhone and that, rather than having a separate case and strap, it will be one integral unit.

IT Pro would at this point like to sound a note of caution, however. Not every patent becomes a working product - they are a way of protecting inventions not a promise to make them in real life.

05/11/2015: All eyes will be on Apple Watch sales during the Q4 holiday quarter as a barometer of the strength of the nascent smart watch market," analyst house Canalys has claimed.

According to Canalys' figures, Apple has shipped a total of 7 million Apple Watches since the devices launched this summer, and was the only company to ship more than 300,000 units in Q3.

"After experiencing significant supply chain constraints early on, Apple managed to overcome its production struggles with the Apple Watch and is building momentum going into Q4," analyst Daniel Matte said.

Principal analyst Chris Jones added, "WatchOS 2 has brought native apps to the platform, and new colours and styles have refreshed the lineup, but Apple needs to continue to generate demand six months after launch."

28/10/2015: The Apple Watch was one of the products that helped Apple's profits reach new highs this quarter. Products not including the iPhone and iPad (so that's the Watch, iPods, apps and other accessories), increased 15 per cent in the last quarter to $3.05bn (1.99bn) in revenue, which marks a 61% year-on-year increase. Commenting on Watch revenues specifically, Tim Cook said they were up "sequentially," but wouldn't go into the specifics.

07/10/2015:  Rumours are starting to circulate about a successor to the Apple Watch. Unsurprisingly dubbed Apple Watch 2, some analyst houses believe this will be the device that Apple starts to make serious money. That's what a report by analysts at Mizuho Securities is saying. The analysts said that customers are waiting to see what Apple does next in the market before committing to buy. According to IT Pro sister publication Alphr, the next Apple Watch will be faster, thinner and have a bigger battery.

Apple Watch release date

After a supply chain hiccup that saw the release delayed by two months, Apple Watch went on sale in shops in the UK in late June 2015, although it had been available to pre-order since 10 April.

As well as the UK, Apple Watch can be bought online or in store in the US, Canada India, Chile, South Africa, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, China, Mexico, Spain, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and Japan.

Apple Watch Price and different versions

Apple watch is being pitched squarely as fashion and fitness device, with supermodel and marathon runner Christy Turlington Burns becoming a spokesperson for both sides of the coin.

It is available in two screen sizes, 38mm and 42mm, four models - Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Hermès, and Apple Watch Edition - eight different case types and two different screen materials, and ranges in price from £299 to £13,500.

Apple Watch Sport

Apple Watch Sport is the entry-level Apple Watch and costs £299 for the 38mm screen version or £339 for the 42mm screen version.

At launch, Apple Watch Sport was available only with a silver or Space Gray anodised aluminium case, but on 9 September the company unveiled two new case styles - rose gold aluminium and yellow gold aluminium - colours that had until then only been available on the high-end Apple Watch Edition.

Apple Watch Sport is only available with a fluoroelastomer band with pin-and-tuck fastening at the point of purchase, although customers can choose from eight different colours, including blue, orange, lavender and midnight blue.

Apple Watch

The rather confusingly named Apple Watch is the mid-range smartwatch from Apple and costs between £479 and £949 depending on the configuration.

Apple Watch is the most customisable device in the entire range. While its stainless steel case is only available in two colour options, silver and Space Black, customers can choose from 12 different strap options, three in fluoroelastimer, two with a classic buckle, two bracelets, two leather loops, two with modern buckle, and a milanese loop.

Apple Watch Hermès

Apple Watch Hermès is, as the name would suggest, a collaboration between Apple and luxury French accessories maker Hermès. The new addition to the Apple Watch family was launched on 9 September 2015, exactly one year after the range was originally revealed and costs from £1,000 to £1350.

This version of the Apple Watch offers three Hermès-designed strap styles - Single Tour, Double Tour and Cuff - all of which are made from leather and are available in three, four, and one different colours respectively. It also has three numeral display options and three unique typefaces to choose from - Clipper, Cape Cod, and Espace - making it rather less customisable than the rest of the range.

Unlike the Sport, Edition or Watch, Apple Watch Hermès can only be purchased in the UK at Apple's Covent Garden and Regent Street stores, the Apple Store within Selfridges, Dover Street Market and Hermès' shop on New Bond Street (all of these locations are in London).

Apple Watch Edition

Apple Watch Edition is the top of the range version of Apple's first wearable and has a price scheme to match, starting at £8,000 for the 38mm 18-carat rose gold case version with a white fluoroelastomer band, all the way up to £13,500 for the 38mm 18-carat yellow gold case with bright red Modern Buckle and 38mm 18-carat rose gold case with rose grey Modern Buckle.

While the luxury device can be purchased online, it is also possible to buy it from Apple Stores selected high-end outlets such as Selfridges in London and Galleries Lafayette in Paris. Would-be owners can't just turn up and buy an Apple Watch Edition, though.

Instead they must pre-book an hour-long, one-to-one appointment with an in-store expert, during which they will be taken on their own personalised "journey", as Apple has apparently termed it, ending in the purchase of the Watch.

Special Editions


In January 2016, Apple released a special model of the Apple Watch Sport for the Chinese market ahead of the Chinese New Year, which falls on 8 February 2016. The device features a red fluoroelastomer strap - considered an auspicious colour in Chinese culture and also deeply associated with the Chinese New Year - and a choice of silver aluminium or gold aluminium case.

Turn to page 2 for Apple Watch specs and features