Apple debuts its watch

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Customers examine Apple's new watch, which could only be bought pre-order online, Friday, April 10, 2015, in New York. The first new gadget under CEO Tim Cook is selling in eight countries and Hong Kong, with shipments scheduled to start April 24. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Customers examine Apple’s new watch, which could only be bought pre-order online, Friday, April 10, 2015, in New York. The first new gadget under CEO Tim Cook is selling in eight countries and Hong Kong, with shipments scheduled to start April 24. (AP Photo)

Apple’s early advertising promoted the watch as a fashion accessory, with elegant design and numerous options in watch faces, bands and other features. But the company is also emphasizing the new technology it’s developed, including the “tapping” feature that signals alerts and messages, and new apps specifically designed for the watch’s relatively small screen.

Software apps and Internet services were a vital part of the iPhone’s success, and Apple has made sure the new watch will have a wide range of apps available from the start. Along with a host of Apple-designed apps, such as Maps, Mail, Siri and Apple Pay, watch owners will be able to download numerous apps developed by outside companies.

Several media companies have developed apps to provide headlines and quick news updates for the Apple Watch. These include news outlets like CNN, NPR and the New York Times, along with the sports-focused ESPN and MLB.com. The Times promises one-sentence articles “crafted specially” for the watch, along with photographs and “short, bulleted summaries” of news developments.

Travel and transportation information will be available through apps developed by the car-hailing service Uber, mapping services like CityMapper and SafeMap, and travel booking services such as TripAdvisor and Expedia. Travelers can check their flights on an American Airlines app or unlock their door with a Starwood Hotels app that turns the watch into a wireless room key. An app from Babbel promises to help wearers learn new words in foreign languages.

Not surprisingly, given the popularity of fitness wristbands, a number of apps are promising to help watch-owners track their health and exercise routines. Apps from Nike, Strava and Runtastic are all designed to measure workouts and physical exertion. An app called Tensio will help owners monitor their blood pressure.

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