Apple Watch release date, price, features, availability and delivery date: Special edition Apple Watch bands arrive for the Olympics

Apple Watch specs and features

Apple Watch iPhone support

Apple Watch is not self-sufficient and requires an iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, or 6s Plus running iOS 8.2 or later in order to work. This is because, even since the release of WatchOS 2, much of the "heavy lifting" is done by the phone which then pushes information to the device.

Upgrading to the latest version of iOS 8.2 will automatically make users' iPhones Apple Watch-ready, as it includes a bundled Apple Watch app.

While this may be handy for future Apple Watch owners, the fact it is immoveable it has drawn the ire of Apple customers who have no intention of buying the wearable.

Apple Watch specs

Apple Watch boasts a significant amount of new technology and design features.

The most immediately apparent of these is the Digital Crown, which lets users scroll, zoom and navigate their way around the screen quickly and easily without interfering with any information displayed.

The screen, made from Ion-X glass in the case of the Apple Watch Sport and sapphire glass on the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Hermes and Apple Watch Edition, features a new Force Touch sensor, which can tell the difference between a tap and a press, and react accordingly. The new Taptic Engine, meanwhile, notifies users of messages or alerts via a gentle wrist tap and can also be used to remind them to move more frequently.

During a speech at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference, MacRumours reports, Apple chief Cook said: "If I sit for too long, it will actually tap me on the wrist to remind me to get up and move, because a lot of doctors think sitting is the new cancer."

"Ten minutes before the hour, [the smartwatch] will remind you to move. We have a lot of people using the Apple Watch at Apple, and ten minutes before the hour, suddenly they all get up and move. It took a little to get used to, but it's great," he added.

The Glances functionality, meanwhile, puts the wearer instantly in touch with the information they care about most - from the weather to sports results and more, and Digital Touch lets users interact with other users by tapping or doodling.

Users can also personalise their device by choosing from dozens of watch faces, from classic watch hands to Mickey Mouse.

Inside, the Apple Watch features the new S1 "system-on-a-chip", which was built specifically for the smartwatch. It also has an optical heart rate sensor on the rear of the case and contains standard fitness sensors including an altimeter, gyroscope, pedometer and accelerometer.

Apple Watch Battery life and charger

Apple Watch's lithium-ion battery is considered by many to be a make-or-break issue for the success of the device.

Paul Jackson, principal analyst at Ovum, said: "This is still the major deal breaker for mass adoption. Sure, tech firms have trained us to charge our phones every day, but devices like watches, fit bands, glasses etc need multi-day capacities."

Sadly, that's not a criteria Apple Watch meets. Apple has said the device is designed for all-day use, which it defines as 18 hours, although how much the user interacts with it, by repeatedly activating the screen or making calls, for example, can reduce that figure.

An Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch in March that the battery would be replaceable, quelling fears that the device would become obsolete within a few years as battery life drops off. iFixit seems to have confirmed this in its teardown review, although it did apparently "take a bit of prying".

Apple Watch uses a "wireless" magnetic induction to charge, rather than a plug-in cable like the iPhone. We've put wireless in quotation marks as the charger is attached to the mains electric supply by a cable and adheres to the back of the smartwatch while charging using MagSafe technology.

That said, Apple Watch is compatible with wireless Qi charging pads as well if you are happy to take your watch off and lay it down on an enabled coffee table.

Apple Pay and NFC

Another flagship feature for Apple Watch is Apple Pay. The technology, which is also boasted by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus allows wearers to pay for goods by tapping their smartwatch against an NFC reader in much the same way as contactless cards work.

The service was rolled out in the USA initially, where it gained some good traction, according to Apple, and has since appeared in the UK, where it is supported by a number of retailers and banks.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.