Apple Watch ranges in price from $349 to over $10,000; on sale April 24

Apple answered questions about its first smartwatch at a media event in San Francisco on Monday and now we’ve got some answers on how much Apple Watch will cost and when you can buy one.

Apple Watch pricing depends on which size you get. The 38-mm Apple Watch Sport will cost $349, and the 42-mm model will cost $399. To move up to the stainless steel model, you’re going to spend at least $549, and as much as $1,049, depending on bracelet. The 42-mm models are $50 more. And for big spenders, the Apple Watch Edition with a gold case costs $10,000 and up. More information is now available on Apple’s website.

Apple Watch collection

Preorders start on April 10, and that’s when Apple will start to display them in Apple Stores. Apple Watch will go on sale on April 24 in nine countries, including China, Hong Kong, France, Japan, and the United States.

Bands, sold separately, will start at $49 for a sport band, with leather bands and a mesh bracelet coming in at $150, all the way up to Apple’s link band, which costs $449.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

In the absence of a unified story about what Apple Watch is best for, Apple focused on several Apple Watch features on Monday. Its first demo centered on a feature Apple called Digital Touch, which was introduced in September. It allows a user to draw on their watch and send the image to a friend’s Apple Watch — a feature that Android Wear doesn’t yet include. Users can pick up calls or reply to iMessages from an Apple Watch.

Apple Watch stand up

Apple Watch is fitness-focused, too. If you’ve been sitting too long, it will tap you and remind you to get up. For more serious athletes, Apple Watch is sporting a new workout app that tracks running, cycling, and sessions on cardio machines at your gym. It sets activity goals for you the way a coach would. These aren’t third-party features; they’re built into every Apple Watch.

Passbook gets some Apple Watch love, too. It can be used on the Apple Watch to show flight times and store QR codes. Apple Watch will work with Apple Pay for contactless retail payments.

Other features will have to be provided by third-party developers. Apple previewed apps and notifications from ESPN, CNN, Salesforce, Instagram, WeChat, Uber, Shazam, Starwood Hotels, and developers. To get those apps, you download them through the Apple Watch app on an iPhone. That feature is in the iOS 8.2 update, available today.

Uber Apple Watch app

Even if you don’t like notifications or apps on your wrist, Apple Watch has a few nifty features, like the ability to change faces based on the time of day or your location. You can control your music and use Siri as well, although Siri doesn’t talk on the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch syncs with an iPhone through both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If you were wondering about battery life, Apple says that Apple Watch can manage an “all-day battery life across a range of activities,” which apparently means about 18 hours.

Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams announces ResearchKit on stage during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams announces ResearchKit on stage during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple debuts a thin, fanless MacBook that comes in gold

Although most of the attention at Apple’s special event on Monday will be on the Apple Watch, the company still had a little treat for Mac fans. As expected, Apple launched a 12-inch MacBook on Monday, and it will cost $1,299 or more when it starts shipping on April 10.

“We challenged ourselves to reinvent the notebook with what we’ve learned from iPhone and iPad,” CEO Tim Cook said.

macbook_overview_og

Starting, apparently, with colors. The new MacBook comes in the same colors as the iPhone and iPad: Gray, gold and silver.

This new laptop is a clear break from previous Apple laptops. Instead of Apple’s proprietary MagSafe charger, it has a single USB Type-C port, which delivers video, data and power in one, and a headphone jack. The single port shouldn’t cause too many problems when users want to plug in a device while charging: Apple says the new MacBook should be able to manage nine hours of web browsing on a single charge.

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Apple said its MacBook is 24 percent slimmer than the current MacBook Air line. Its length and width dimensions are close to those of the 11-inch MacBook Air. It sports a 12-inch display by slimming the extra space on both sides of the keyboard found on previous MacBooks. That 12-inch screen is a Retina display, sporting a resolution of 2304 x 1440. It’s powered by a 5-watt Intel Core M processor clocked at up to 1.3GHz, which means that the laptop doesn’t need a fan.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks during the Apple event in San Francisco on March 9, 2015.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks during the Apple event in San Francisco on March 9, 2015.

The new MacBook, simply called MacBook, sports a large trackpad using the taptic engine technology Apple is also using for its watches, and an edge-to-edge keyboard with a new mechanism that allows the laptop to be thinner. The taptic engine should enable new forms of touch interfaces, such as the ability to press harder to, say, bring up a Wikipedia entry or fast forward more quickly.

The new MacBook is apparently a new line of notebooks. It “joins” the existing MacBook Air, and MacBook Pros are getting the new upgraded taptic force trackpad as well.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new MacBook during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new MacBook during an Apple special event on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Rogers’ new One Number: Is this the future of telco voice?

It was only a matter of time before a major operator abandoned its territorial notions about mobile voice and adopted a true ‘softphone’ service, and that operator appears to be Rogers Communications. It’s severing the bond between the mobile phone number and the mobile phone.

Galaxy Nexus + data plan + VoIP support = free calls!

My Galaxy Nexus smartphone is now capable of receiving free voice calls and making low-cost outbound calls on a data-only mobile broadband plan. How can you send and receive calls on a smartphone without a voice plan? Android’s native SIP integration is a big help.

Skype Wants to Power Your Corporate Phone System

Skype is taking the beta tag off Skype Connect, its VoIP service that integrates into an enterprise PBX or Unified Communication solution. Why the push for business customers? Skype has to beat Google to the punch and start getting more of its customers to buy services.

Telerupted: Twilight for Telephone Networks

SIP-compatible VoIP devices already account for as much as 20 percent of landline telephone traffic. But mobile telephones will not remain a safe haven for long, as more companies start to offer VoIP alternatives to operator voice plans. Yet the displacement of analog phones by VoIP devices has not displaced the telephone network itself.

Get GrandCentral On Your Softphone

GC LogoFor mobile workers, it’s hard to beat the freedom and flexibility Internet telephony provides us.  One of our favorite web services, GrandCentral, gives you the ability to have one phone number that can ring an assortment of phones including your mobile, landline, office phone, and any other place you’d like to be reached.

Additionally, there are those who embrace the utility of a soft phone.  A soft phone is an application that runs on your computer and allows you to send or receive phone calls, normally through a microphone headset.  Skype is probably the most well known soft phone, but a competitor of theirs called Gizmo5 (formerly known as Gizmo Project) can be combined with GrandCentral to give you soft phone capabilities.

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