Apple will unveil the iWatch on Sept. 9—here’s what to look for

Tim Cook’s first new thing is almost here.
Tim Cook’s first new thing is almost here.
Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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The so-called “iWatch” is supposedly real. Apple “plans to unveil a new wearable” device alongside two new iPhones at an event on Sept. 9, Re/code’s plugged-in John Paczkowski reports. While Apple has been widely reported to be working on some sort of new wearable gadget, surprisingly few details have leaked—including its expected arrival date.

A few important questions:

What is it? This seems basic, but very little has actually been reported about what the “iWatch” looks like or does. Is it actually a band you wear on your wrist? Paczkowski writes that it “will, predictably, make good use of Apple’s HealthKit health and fitness platform.” But that leaves many possibilities for everything from its shape to how it attaches to the body. Does it even have a screen?

Why will people buy it? The idea that Americans, in particular, will suddenly start caring about their health and fitness en masse has always seemed amusing. So what’s the real selling point: Fashion or function?

How often will it need to be charged? Another thing to plug in daily—unless there’s some novel way to charge it—doesn’t sound fun.

How much will it cost? If it’s really getting announced alongside new iPhones, is it intended to be an iPhone accessory? The Apple TV streaming media player—also, arguably, an iPhone accessory—costs $99. That would be a great price for a wearable, especially compared to the $200+ price tags attached to disappointing Google Android-based wearables.

What will it need to work? Will it work only with Apple’s newest iPhones? Or any iOS device? Or could someone—a kid, for example—use it independently? Will it also require some sort of subscription?

Is it cool? This isn’t Apple’s first wearable—it’s been making them for more than a decade, if you count earbuds and clip-on iPods. Some have become iconic; others haven’t. Apple has been hiring people from the fashion and luxury industries, theoretically to help develop and market this device. How have they influenced it?