Two years ago, the Apple rumor mill started churning with word that the iPhone maker was going to enter another new category, besides TV: wearables. Today, the company turned those rumors into reality.
“We’ve been working on Apple Watch a long time,” Apple’s Tim Cook said Tuesday in introducing the first entirely new product to be launched by the company since he became CEO three years ago.
How long? Over that time, Apple’s stock has swung from scorching hot to market laggard and back again as the company went from being seen as the ultimate tech trendsetter to facing constant questions about its ability to innovate to…well, whatever it is now that the watch has been announced and consumers finally get to swoon over it, or not.
As money manager Jeff Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital, suggested on CNBC on Tuesday, sentiment around Apple has swung all the way back to where it was in 2012. Just look at this stock chart.
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was famous for saving “one more thing” for the end of his presentations, using that line to introduce another new product, and sometimes the most important product of the day. Cook brought back that line on Tuesday before introducing the Apple Watch, which he called “a new, innovative, intimate way to communicate from your wrist” and a “comprehensive health and fitness device.” But will it be a hit? The future buzz around Apple, its stock and Cook’s legacy as a successor to Jobs, will rest in part on the answer.
The Apple Watch will come in two sizes and three different finishes, with a variety of straps, at a starting price of $349. Apple says the watch lets you send and receive messages, communicate with coworkers by drawing pictures, and share your heart rate with friends. It can also give you directions, find movie times, control your Apple TV, enable you to securely pay for purchases, open the door to your Starwood hotel room and let you track the phases of the moon.
The watch will also feature a range of health and fitness tracking apps, including, it seems, one that will notify you when you’ve been sitting too long. (But can it make you want to get up?) Oh, and it will also tell time.
What the Apple Watch apparently won’t do is work all those wonders without a link to an iPhone — or arrive in stores for the 2014 holiday shopping season. “It will be available early next year,” Cook promised, “and it will be worth the wait.” Time will tell.
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times: