It’s been a long time coming but Apple finally took the wraps off of the highly anticipated Apple Watch (not iWatch as we had all been expecting it to be called). The Apple Watch, which must be used in conjunction with an iPhone will only see the light of day next year and will be compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S as well as with the freshly announced iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

It features a tough sapphire glass covered Retina touchscreen display which in conjunction with the so called “digital crown” (which also acts as the home button) serve as the navigation elements to the watch’s newly designed user interface. Siri and voice dictation are also featured in the Apple Watch as a way to input responses although from the demonstrations shown the watch will also provide you with contextually relevant responses to messages it displays.

There are four circular sensors on the underside of the watch including a heart rate sensor as well as several buried in its insides including an accelerometer which combine with the WiFi and GPS data in your iPhone to help keep track of all of your daily activity.

It’s the first smartwatch to come in two sizes with a smaller display version that would be ideal for women and for men with smaller wrists or people who just don’t like big watches in general. Unfortunately for us the Apple Watch uses proprietary straps so changing the watch strap will no doubt carry a premium as most Apple accessories do. Speaking of a premium, the Apple Watch will start at $349 (R3 815) when it does eventually go on sale but that’s not where it ends because there’s more than just one option available.

The Apple Watch will be available in three different collections:

  • Apple Watch – polished or space black stainless steel case and a choice of straps
  • Apple Watch Sport – space grey or silver anodized aluminium case and sport bands
  • Apple Watch Edition – with an 18-karat rose or yellow gold case and a choice of exclusive straps

There’s no word yet as to when (or whether) we can expect to see the Apple Watch in South Africa, but as always we’ll keep you informed when we find out.

[Image – Apple]