Apple is holding one of its famous product-announcement events today in San Francisco. Most—if not all—of the event is expected to focus on the Apple Watch, which will go on sale in April, and is an important bet for the company. Apple unveiled the watch at a similar event last September, but there are still many unanswered questions about the device.
Here’s what to expect.
The full Apple Watch rundown
Apple will likely reiterate the basic watch features it has been promoting: timekeeping, communication, fitness tracking, navigation, and Apple Pay. But executives will probably also highlight more features, such as remote-controlling movies or music on an iPhone or Apple TV.
Apple also needs to reveal its watch pricing—we only know it starts at $349—and availability across different markets, especially the US and China. It will also probably go into more detail about what makes the watch special from design, fashion, and engineering perspectives.
A wide selection of Watch apps
Apple hasn’t been keeping the watch to itself. App developers have had access to a kit for making simple watch apps for a while, and it’s possible Apple could announce that a big number of apps—perhaps more than 1,000?—will be available for launch.
Apple has been “hosting over 100 third-party developers and designers” at its headquarters to test watch apps for the past month, long-time company watcher John Gruber reports. Expect a significant portion of the event to focus on non-Apple apps—they are crucial to its long-term success.
An Apple Store update
Apple’s heads of design and retail have been working on a redesign of its stores, the New Yorker’s recent profile of design chief Jony Ive noted. Selling watches—especially expensive, luxury watches—seems to require a more intimate atmosphere than Apple’s current stores, which tend to be crowded. Today’s event would be a great time to reveal the big ideas behind this refresh, before it starts rolling out.
Other Apple watch boutiques?
Apple’s network of about 450 retail stores and its web store are probably the initial focus of its watch sales strategy. But it’s likely there will be other places to find the Apple Watch, especially in luxury shopping cities. In Paris, for example, French sites have reported (article in French, via MacRumors) that Apple is building out a watch shop in Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann, arguably the city’s most famous high-end department store—and just a short walk from an Apple store.
Quartz photographed this construction tent last week. (We also tried to peek inside, but didn’t see anything.) An Apple rep did not respond to our request to confirm that this is, indeed, theirs.
One more thing?
Apple isn’t likely to announce much else at the event—there’s simply too much to discuss about the watch. Don’t expect any new iPhones, operating systems, or anything that would steal headlines. But it’s possible Apple could show off a new MacBook Air, which has long been rumored. Apple’s suppliers “started mass production of a 12-inch MacBook Air, featuring a higher resolution display,” earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal recently reported (paywall).