When Did the First Apple Watch Come Out? (Wow, Time Flies)

Photo of author
Written By Alan

Would you believe a G-Shock I was gifted in 2014 by my grandpa started my lifelong journey of a watch geek?

🕑  Last Updated: October 12, 2022

There’s little to zero doubt that the Apple Watch series is behind many of the revolutionizing concepts of the smartwatch industry we all love and enjoy today.

And it’s been like this since the launch of the first model.

Over the years, despite the ever-growing competition, Apple has continued to lead the way in terms of the number of ground-breaking features and apps.

For example, the series was the first to offer accurate, research-backed ECG readings that could potentially detect pre-existing heart conditions such as Atrial Fibrillation. Apple Watch was also the first smartwatch that could function as a standalone device.

The difference between the capabilities of the newest model, the Apple Watch 7, and the debut release, are quite stark. And it’s not like decades have passed between both!

In this article, we will pay tribute to the first Apple Watch, the model that kick-started a true revolution in the world of smartwatches.

Amongst many, we will answer the following questions:

  • When did the first Apple Watch come out?
  • How much was the debut Apple Watch when it first came out?
  • What could the first Apple Watch do?

We will also discuss a $10,000 Apple Watch.

When Was the First Apple Watch Launched?

It’s been nearly 7 years since the release of the first Apple Watch.

The debut model was launched on April 24th, 2015. After an aggressive marketing campaign surrounding the industry-shaking smartwatch, millions of people decided to pre-order the product 2 weeks before the release date.

Those who had already fallen in love with iPhones decided to queue overnight to be the first to get their hands on what was supposed to be the most innovative smart wearable at that time.

And it was just that.

When Was the Apple Watch Introduced?

Apple aficionados got the chance to get familiar with the model back in 2014 when the brand’s CEO, Tim Cook, presented the product at an event in California on September 9th, 2014.

At the same ceremony, iPhone 6 was also revealed. So big was the excitement for the pioneer Apple Watch, however, that it managed to overshadow the newest smartphone.

How Long Did It Take to Develop the First Apple Watch?

As it’s usually the case with ground-breaking innovations, the idea of the Apple Watch started with a single person’s notion.

Apple’s then-chief designer, Jony Ive, apparently started working on the Watch back in 2011. According to him, the process of turning a concept into a product took just under three years. This version of events seems to be backed by the CEO, Tim Cook, who stated that development began after Steve Jobs’ death (October 2011).

The concept, on the other hand, might have started as early as 2005. That’s when Ive and his design team claim they became serious about machining, the technique that eventually led to Apple’s unibody design. They went to watchmakers to learn more about how to achieve this.

How Was the First Apple Watch Named?

Many people mistakenly think that the first Apple Watch is Apple Watch 1 (quite frankly, that makes total sense).

However, the first-ever Apple smartwatch was and still is known as Apple Watch 1st Generation. It’s also referred to as the Apple Watch Series 0.

Apple Watch Series 1, along with Apple Watch Series 2, were released simultaneously one year later and were known as the 2nd Generation Apple Watch.

How Does the Apple Watch 1st Generation Look Like?

The look of the first Apple Watch

Shape-wise, the first Apple Watch looked very much like all the subsequent series.

The characteristic rectangular shape with rounded corners was already sported during the first release, and it hasn’t changed until now. Unsurprisingly, the massive success of the Apple Watch Series 0 meant that many brands tried to replicate the design.

There were two editions of Apple Watch 0 you could pick from:

  • Apple Watch
  • Apple Watch Sport

Both versions were available in two sizes. Folks with slender wrists normally opted for the 38mm version while those who preferred a larger smartwatch got the 42mm version.

From the very first Apple Watch release, the buyers have had a rich choice of interchangeable bands. Amongst others, you could have bought the Apple Watch 1st Generation with leather, stainless steel or silicone bracelets. Most of the bands were supplied with magnetic energy so they stuck to your wrist better.

While the two versions have a lot in common, there are some notable differences between the two that are worth pointing out.

Apple Watch Apple Watch Sport
Glass Material Sappire Crystal Ion-X
Case Material Stainless Steel Aluminum
Caseback Material Ceramic Composite
Colors Silver, Space Black Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Gold

You can check the full specifications for the standard edition here and for the Sport edition here.

Is Apple Watch 0 Waterproof?

No, and neither are any of the new releases.

However, the watch is splashproof. It can easily survive sweaty workouts, washing hands or even showering.

Anything more than that might be pushing your luck.

What Functions Does the First Apple Watch Offer?

If you’re more or less familiar with the endless list of apps offered by the newest series, you might be in for a slight disappointment in terms of what’s on offer with the debut release.

Although at the time of the launch the features made everyone and their dog’s jaws drop, in today’s world they seem very ordinary.

In fact, at the time of the release, Apple said that the watch was their most personal device released to that date.

Apple Watch Series 0 main functions include:

  • Bluetooth connection with all iPhone models
  • Compatibility with other Apple technologies, ie. you could pay with your watch using the Apple Pay app or switch through TV channel using the Apple Watch TV
  • GPS function (but only while connected to the iPhone – there’s no built-in GPS)
  • Digital Touch technology allowing you to send voice notes or sketches to your list of contacts
  • Essential wellness information such as heart rate monitor and calorie counter

Apple Watch Series 0: Pros & Cons

Although the first Apple Watch was undoubtedly a ground-breaking innovation, it wasn’t flawless.

Quite frankly, neither are the latest series.

But it was the best you could get at that time.

Amongst the biggest perks, we could list:

  • User-friendly interface, probably Apple’s strongest point to this day
  • Many customization options both in terms of the face design and the type of notifications you want to see
  • Advanced fitness tracking (at that time) thanks to the GPS connection and heart rate monitor
  • Compatibility with other Apple products, ie. Apple Pay or Apple TV

When it comes to cons:

  • The number of compatible apps was very limited (compared to today)
  • 18-hour battery life requiring daily charging (it’s astonishing that 7 releases later, this is still the case)
  • Lack of compatibility with Android smartphones (as above, that’s still the case and probably will never change)
  • Price (Apple Watches have always been one of the more pricey smartwatches in the market)
  • No Always-On Display

How Much Did the First Apple Watch Cost?

On the launch date, the price of the Apple Watch 1st Generation ranged from $349 to $599.

Because of the aluminum casing and weaker glass, the Apple Watch Sport edition was the cheaper one. The price for the 38mm model was $349 while the 42mm model set you back $399.

The standard version, made from stainless steel, cost $549 for the 38mm model and $599 for the 42mm model.

The prices of both could have increased a bit depending on which bands you decided to purchase.

What Was the World’s Reaction to the First Apple Watch?

The debut Apple Watch received mostly positive reviews from the public.

Many Apple fans and iPhone owners were ecstatic, and they waited in line for hours to get their hands on the brand’s first smartwatch model.

That’s not to say all Apple aficionados were desperate to get the product. After reading the preview of the Apple Watch 0, some decided that it won’t offer a lot more than the iPhone 6 that was dominating the smartphone market at that time.

It’s undeniable, however, that Apple’s first smartwatch was an enormous success that fueled the smartwatch industry’s expansion. Most current smartwatches now function as smartphones that may be worn on the wrist and Apple is still leading the race in terms of the complexity and number of features.

Since the launching of the first Apple Watch in 2015, the smartwatch market has risen year after year and is no worth tens of billions.

Apple Watch 0 for the Rich

The fact that Apple Watch 0 was being sold for $10,000 (yes, you read that right – ten thousand US dollars) sounds quite ridiculous but that was indeed the case.

The limited edition of the first Apple Watch was made from 18-karat gold and available only in a handful of retail stores. Nevertheless, the demand (amongst the rich) was high.

Is It Still Possible to Buy the First Apple Watch?

These days, Apple Watch 0 is pretty much a collector’s item.

Apple’s debut smartwatch has been discontinued since 2018. The model was binned by Apple shortly after the release of the Apple Watch Series 4.

If you’re desperate to get it, you can still find pre-owned watches on popular marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay.

Is Apple Watch Series 0 Still Supported?

Theoretically, yes.

If you manage to find a pre-owned, working Apple Watch 0, you can still use the majority of the functions it was released with.

However, buying a 1st Generation Apple Watch is not a brilliant idea because it no longer receives Apple upgrades. This series hasn’t been maintained since 2018, therefore it may not be able to run most WatchOS 6 applications and features.

Final Word

When did Apple Watch First Generation come out? Summary

Although a few years have passed since the release of the first Apple Watch, the model is still considered the one that revolutionized the whole smartwatch industry.

If we were to pick the most ground-breaking release in the history of smartwatches, Apple Watch Series 0 would get the nod.

Since the opening model, Apple has continued to improve year on year by releasing upgraded Series annually. The latest Apple Watch, Series 7, is considered the most feature-rich product in the market. It was launched in October 2021 but Apple aficionados are already anticipating the next version.

Leave a Comment