Here comes the Apple Watch: Apple announces ship date

When Apple reported a record profit of $18 billion on Tuesday it also disclosed the timing of one the most anticipated products this year, the Apple Watch.

“Development for Apple Watch is right on schedule and we expect to begin shipping in April,” CEO Tim Cook said in the conference call after the company reported earnings.

“Developers are hard at work on apps, notifications and information summaries that we call Glances, all designed specifically for the Watch's user interface,” Cook added.

The Apple Watch was announced as “Apple’s Most Personal Device Ever” back in September – though no release date was given at the time.  Indeed, the mention of the shipping date of a product during an earnings conference call is unusual for Apple.

There was nothing said about pricing during the conference call.  In September, Apple only stated that it will have a starting price of $349.

Though Apple trails the Android watch crowd – Samsung, for example, released an Android Wear watch in June of 2014 – the company has a habit of quickly becoming a leading player when it enters a market.

There will be three models, Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition.

Health and fitness monitoring -- the meat of the wearables market -- will be among the core applications. The Apple Watch includes an Activity app that can, for example, track calories burned, a Workout app to set pacing for running/cycling, and a built-in heart rate sensor.

And Apple Pay can be used on the watch too. Double‑click the button next to the Digital Crown and...a pulse and beep confirm that your payment information was sent,” according to Apple.

But note that the iPhone acts as an anchor device – so it will be necessary to have an iPhone too in many scenarios.

Cook has begun using the watch already.  “I'm using it every day…and I can’t live without it,” he said during the call.

Apple also addressed the strong demand for the iPhone in the first quarter, particularly its marquee product, the iPhone 6.

“Demand for iPhone has been staggering, shattering our high expectation, with sales of over 74 million units, driven by the unprecedented popularity of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” Cook said during the conference call.  

“This volume is hard to comprehend. On average we sold over 34,000 iPhones every hour, 24 hours a day, everyday of the quarter.”