Apple to launch watch later this month in China

Apple to launch watch later this month in China
Apple watches are displayed following an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015.

Apple Inc revealed the official launch date for their highly anticipated Apple Watch in a special press event in San Francisco on Monday.

The new "smartwatch", which will hit the market on April 24, will retail starting at US$349 (S$482) and China will be among the first countries to ship the device.

"Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever created. It's not just with you it's on you," said CEO Tim Cook.

To talk about the benefits and features of the watch, which was originally announced on Sept 9 last year, the tech giant invited childbirth safety advocate and marathon runner Christy Turlington Burns.

"In the short time I've been using it I can already see how this is going to be an important part of my life," said Burns.

The watch features include new apps, messages, and wireless phone calls. Apple also showcased Tencent's own WeChat messaging app working on the Apple Watch.

Apple will launch the product in three different models.

The Sport series will start at US$349, the Collection at US$549, and the luxury Apple Watch Collection made with 18 karat gold at US$10,000. Pre-orders are available on April 10.

During the hour and a half long event, Cook also talked about the developments and changes to Apple and Apple software since the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Early on during the show, Apple talked about the Apple TV and its new reduced price and the "changes" brought about by its mobile payment programme Apple Pay.

"Apple Pay is forever changing the way we pay for things," said Cook.

He talked about the Cupertino-based company's advancements in digital payment.

On top of payment and Apple Pay, the company also revealed a new healthcare research software kit for developers named ResearchKit. The focus of ResearchKit is for developers to attain data for healthcare research-based applications such as applications for breast cancer, Parkinson's, and diabetes.

"The iPhone continues to change so many things in our lives and we're confident that research will transform our lives," said Cook.

As per Apple's events, this announcement also brought upgrades to the MacBook notebook computing line, including an all-new MacBook priced starting at US$1,299. The company says the new notebook is the thinnest Mac ever with an all-new metal enclosure. The new Macbook will be available April 10.

The company now has 453 retail stores around the globe with 21 retail stores in China and plans to expand in the country.

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