Mobile

Apple “Springs Forward” Apple Watch Preview

Apple, in its usual coy fashion, has sent out invitations for a mystery media event on Monday, March 9 — and while it’s officially a secret what’s being unveiled, unnamed sources have told Bloomberg and other news outlets that the star of the show is the Apple Watch.

The iPhone maker is expected to announce pricing, specifications and a timetable for the start of sales for the Watch at the event, whose invitations carry the tagline “Spring Forward,” which takes place the day after most Americans will set their clocks an hour forward for Daylight Saving Time, March 8.

Apple has already launched a media blitz to get the Watch in front of its primary target audience, including an insert in the February issue of Vogue displaying various configurations of the Watch and a New Yorker interview with designer Jony Ive. But actual details of the device have been scarce, aside from announcements that the least-expensive Apple Watch Sport model will start at $349 and the devices will begin shipping sometime in April. (Apple hasn’t confirmed reports that it has ordered between 5 and 6 million Apple Watches for the launch.)

What is known is that Apple’s original plans for the watch as a health and fitness device have been downgraded, largely because engineers had trouble working the bugs out of sensors for detecting the wearer’s vital signs. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly talked about the impressive array of apps that are being built for the watch — although virtually none of those apps has been publicly demonstrated.

That could be the main purpose of the March 9 event. The headline attraction of the Watch is expected to be the ability to use Apple Pay without pulling an iPhone 6 out to wave at a contactless point-of-sale terminal, but demonstrations of other functions — including those available on other smartwatches but done with Apple’s characteristic design finesse — would help expand appeal for the device.

Even more important will be demonstrations of at least a few apps that are unique to the Apple Watch, which would both push sales and pull in more app developers for the device.

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