TIME Apple

Behold the Glory of Unboxing a Brand New Apple Watch

This is what it's like to open a new Apple Watch

Apple’s long-awaited Watch is finally available. Customers who bought the device are starting to get their devices in the mail today, April 24. (The Watch is not being sold in Apple Stores.) Developers, include TIME, are releasing have rolled out apps for the device. If you’ve ordered one but not received it yet or still unsure, here’s a closer look at what comes in the box:

Cubie King for TIME; Gif by Joseph C. Lin for TIME

 

Cubie King for TIME; Gif by Joseph C. Lin for TIME

 

Cubie King for TIME; Gif by Joseph C. Lin for TIME

 

Cubie King for TIME; Gif by Joseph C. Lin for TIME

Read more: 7 Apple Watch apps you’ll actually want to use today

TIME Apple

Apple Thinks the Apple Watch Will Convert Android Users Into True Believers

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images An attendee inspects the new Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California.

It's offering a trade-in deal that will coincide with the Apple Watch launch

Apple is reportedly planning a first-of-its-kind trade-in deal offering gift cards to Android users swapping for a new iPhone. The deal will “begin in the coming weeks,” according to 9to5mac.

You know what else begins in the coming weeks? Sales of the Apple Watch, which goes into preview mode April 10 with actual shopping starting April 24.

That’s not a coincidence. If you want an Apple Watch, you need the iPhone 5 or newer to go along with it. That makes it just one more way Apple can suck customers into its gadget and software ecosystem. Apple is betting that the Apple Watch will be so much more compelling than the Android-compatible smartwatches on the market, like Motorola’s Moto 360, that Android users will abandon ship and finally See The Light.

That explains the timing of the unprecedented gift card deal better than it just being a move to boost sales — Apple really doesn’t need help in that department anyway, recently posting record iPhone sales. It’s also a safe bet Apple will see some pretty stellar foot traffic in Apple Stores once the Watch preview period begins.

Read next: Tim Cook: The Apple Watch Is the First Smartwatch ‘That Matters’

TIME Apple

5 Things to Expect from Apple’s Watch Event

Apple is holding an event in San Francisco on Monday, March 9 at 10 a.m. PT, likely to deliver new details about its upcoming Watch. While Apple first unveiled the Apple Watch late last year, it left plenty unsaid. Here are five questions we still have about the Apple Watch that should be answered during Monday’s event:

What does it do?

We know the Apple Watch tells the time, syncs up with your iPhone, gives you directions and more. But the Apple Watch was unveiled well before third-party developers had time to make new apps for it. With the Watch’s release date drawing nearer, more developers should be ready to show off apps that add new functionality to the Apple Watch—like the ability to pay for sandwiches for example.

How much will it cost?

Apple says the entry-level Apple Watch Sport will start at $349. But we still don’t know anything about the cost of the other models, which could range from the somewhat affordable to the downright pricey (especially for the all-gold Apple Watch Edition). Expect Apple to put a clearer price tag on the Apple Watch come Monday.

MORE Hands-On With the Apple Watch

When can we buy one?

At first, Apple only said the Apple Watch would be available sometime in “early 2015.” In late January, Apple CEO Tim Cook narrowed that window down to “April.” But there still isn’t a firm release date for the Apple Watch—expect Apple to give us one Monday, and then set your calendars accordingly.

How will we buy one?

The Apple Watch comes in three base models (Sport, Regular, Edition), two sizes (42mm and 38mm), six colors (from “stainless steel” to “18-karat yellow gold”), and six different kinds of bands, some with different colors of their own. While you might not be able to mix and match to your heart’s consent, that’s still a boatload more options than you get with anything else Apple sells.

All those customization options mean you might buy the Apple Watch differently than you buy an iPad or MacBook. Early rumors pointed to an in-store concierge experience, while Apple could produce some kind of interactive online tool to help you make the perfect Apple Watch.

How long will the battery last?

Battery life could make or break the Apple Watch — if the watch can’t make it through an average work day, it could very well be a flop. Cook has already said he expects people will have to charge the Apple Watch every night, and Apple is reportedly working on a “Power Reserve” mode.

But how will the battery hold up exactly? Apple might give us some better numbers on Monday, but it’ll take some real-world testing before we’re really sure how the Apple Watch does.

Read next: The One Thing That Makes Apple a Totally Different Company Now

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TIME Gadgets

Google’s Android Wear Shipped Just 720,000 Units Last Year

Moto 360, Powered by Android Wear
Motorola A press handout photo shows Motorola's Moto 360 watch, powered by Android Wear, displaying a map.

Smartwatches have a long way to go before mass adoption

Google’s new line of smartwatches isn’t exactly flying off the shelves. According to research firm Canalys, 720,000 Android Wear watches were shipped in 2014. The most popular watch was Motorola’s round-faced Moto 360, though it faced supply constraints during the fourth quarter.

The figure gives Google about a 15% share of the total 4.6 million smart wearable bands that were shipped in 2014. Canalys also revealed that Pebble smartwatch, one of the earliest to market, shipped 1 million units from its launch in 2013 to the end of 2014.

So far, at least, smartwatches seem to be a long way off from reaching mass adoption. For comparison, vendors shipped about 230 million tablets and 1.3 billion smartphones worldwide last year, according to research firm IDC. The arrival of the Apple Watch in the spring will certainly increase the presence of smartwatches, but the devices still have a long way to go before becoming truly mainstream.

TIME Big Picture

Nobody Can Predict the Success of Apple’s Watch Yet

The new Apple Watch is displayed during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 9, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images The new Apple Watch is displayed during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 9, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.

It’s interesting to read all the coverage Apple got for its watch announcement, and the amazing amount of analysis and predictions that came out shortly after the launch event.

Critics went after everything, from style, form and function. Others lauded its design, potential capabilities and eventual usefulness.

Part of this discrepancy in views is due to the fact that while Apple did show us the watch and give us some early details about what it would do, the company didn’t actually give us a lot of details about things like costs, storage, future apps and security features that could help people develop a more informed view of the product.

Since it doesn’t come out until sometime in early 2015, there’s a lot of time for speculation. And even though we have some solid details we can use to try and draw some conclusions about its potential success, I would like to suggest that to actually try to predict the future success of the Apple Watch today would just be folly. We only have the bits and pieces that Apple wanted to share; it’s not enough to really determine how this product will fare when it finally reaches the market next year.

Why Unveil It So Early?

Many people thought it was odd for Apple to introduce a product like the Apple Watch months before it will ever come to market. For one, it gives competitors a lot of time to try and create something similar that can compete with the Apple Watch when it ships. It also gives the media, detractors and a whole host of folks plenty of time to try and guess what Apple’s really doing and whether it’ll actually have any serious impact on Apple’s bottom line. Given Apple’s penchant for secrecy, one would think that it would have been smarter for the company to hold off announcing the watch until a day or two before it would actually ship.

For those of us who follow Apple very closely, this move, while unique, was a necessary for a couple of reasons. First, this is a brand new category for Apple and the watch market is very complex. Apple actually needs real feedback from people in the watch, entertainment, fashion and tech worlds in order to help refine the final product.

However, there’s another critical reason that the watch was unveiled months before it’s supposed to come to market, and it’s one of the major reasons why it’s impossible to actually predict its success at this time in Apple’s history.

Much More Than Hardware

The proper way to actually view the new Apple Watch is to see it as a platform that includes more than just hardware. It has to have apps and services designed for the new, smaller-screen form factor. This actually follows Apple’s overall formula for success.

Before the company introduced the iPod, it spent two years working with the music industry in order to have media content available for use on the iPod when it shipped. The same thing happened with the iPhone. Apple had to create a special SDK (software development kit) so the developer community could create apps for the new smartphone. While Apple did have its own apps and some special partner apps at launch, the software community moved rapidly to create apps and services for the new iPhone, which ultimately is why people actually buy an iPhone these days.

This similar approach was used when Apple introduced the iPad. At launch, the company had some of its own apps and a couple from partners — and in this case, it could use iPhone apps, although they had to be upscaled up for the iPad’s larger screen. But the software community soon created native iPad apps, and Apple’s tablet took off. In the end, with all three of these products, it’s all about providing customers with hardware, a rich operating system, apps and services.

Waiting for the Killer App

This will be the same case with the Apple Watch. We need a lot more info about what it can do, how it works and, of course, the ultimate value proposition of what it will deliver those who buy it. But the really important unknown factors lie in the types of apps that can be created for such a small screen, and if any “killer” apps emerge that take it from a “nice to have” device to an “everyone needs one” type of product.

The best example of a killer app came from the birth of the PC era. Apple introduced the Apple II computer in 1977, but at the time, it was viewed only as a hobbyist machine. Then in 1979, a program was created that ran on the Apple II called VisiCalc, which was the first spreadsheet. It literally became the killer app that brought the Apple II out of the hobbyist category and into the world of business computing. A they say, the rest is history.

The second killer apps were the word processors that came out about the same time, followed by a product called Lotus 1-2-3 that included a spreadsheet, graphical charts and a database. This was the first killer app for the IBM PC when it came out in 1983, launching the true PC era we know today.

The importance of apps was driven home to me when the iPhone was first launched. When Apple SVP Phil Schiller first showed it to me, he put his iPhone on the coffee table in front of me and asked me what I saw? I told him I saw a blank piece of glass in a metal case. He said that was exactly what Apple wanted me to see until I turned it on. The magic would come from the apps on the device itself. While the hardware is important, he stressed that it would be the apps that make the iPhone dance and sing.

After the launch of the iPhone, I talked to Steve Jobs and asked him if he was certain he had a hit on his hand with the iPhone. He told me he was pretty sure the iPhone would be important, but went on to say that it would be the apps that third-party vendors create that would ultimately make it successful. He also told me that the exciting thing for him was that Apple had developed an SDK to create apps for the iPhone and that he couldn’t wait to see what software developers created.

This really is the formula for the success of any device like this. A company can create a great piece of hardware, but the magic comes from the software community. Who will create the “killer” app or apps that make the device appealing to everyone?

While we only have part of the story about the Apple Watch from Apple, I suspect that even when it launches, we won’t really be able to judge its ultimate success at first. However, I am betting that Apple gets strong support from the software community, who will create a host of apps that may appeal to people from all walks of life. That will ultimately determine the success or failure of Apples new watch.

Bajarin is the president of Creative Strategies Inc., a technology industry analysis and market-intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to Big Picture, an opinion column that appears every week on TIME Tech.

TIME FindTheBest

How Much Will the Apple Watch Really Cost?

We only know one thing for sure about the Apple Watch’s price: It starts at $349. Everything else is speculation.

Even so, a bit of research can lead to some educated guesses. I went ahead and parsed Apple’s (few) words on the subject, read through a dozen theories, then did a little analysis of my own. I’ll run through the most popular opinions, comment on each, then predict how much each band and size will cost.

How many price points?

Apple gave us a hint about pricing by curating three collections: Sport, Watch and Edition. The Sport Collection is comprised only of aluminum cases, the Watch Collection only of stainless steel cases and the Edition Collection only of gold cases. So we’re probably looking at three standard price points, which will fluctuate based on your choice of band, and possibly, size (38 mm vs. 42 mm).

It’s almost certain, then, that the 38 mm Apple Watch Sport is the $349 model. Swap out for a larger display and different band, however, and you’re probably looking at a higher price point. But before we get too bogged down in bands and sizes, let’s focus on the big picture: What will be the default price point for each of the three collections?

Price points for each collection: Sport, Watch, Edition

#1: The iPod/iPhone/iPad Pricing Theory

  • $349 for Sport
  • $449 for Watch
  • $549 for Edition

A pricing structure like this would fall right in line with past Apple pricing schemes. For the iPod, iPad and iPhone, Apple has historically charged $100 more for additional storage. Then there’s size differences. The iPad Air starts $100 above the latest iPad Mini, while the iPhone 6 Plus will cost $100 more than the iPhone 6. Taken all together, a simple $100 premium for each collection seems obvious. It’s just the way Apple does things.

It seems obvious, that is, until you consider that the Edition Collection is made out of 18-karat gold. There’s simply no way Apple is selling that much precious metal for less than $600. At the very least, the Edition Collection will have to be priced higher.

#2: The precious metal premium (conservative)

  • $349 for Sport
  • $749 for Watch
  • $1,499 for Edition

The prevailing wisdom now seems to be that the gold watches (Edition) will cost well over $1,000, while the stainless steel watches (Watch) will fall somewhere in the middle. At a glance, these price points seem pretty high, especially considering that today’s average smartwatch is only $219:

But look at these prices from the perspective of a traditional watch enthusiast, and $1,499 for a gold watch isn’t so bad. Under this theory, the Apple Watch’s success will come down to whether customers consider the product a competitor to Pebble ($249) or Rolex ($20k). Naturally, Apple hopes it’ll be the latter.

#3: The precious metal premium (liberal)

  • $349 for Sport
  • $999 for Watch
  • $4,999+ for Edition

First speculated by Apple commentator John Gruber, some now believe Apple’s watches will cost much, much more than most people first thought. (Gruber’s gold watch prediction was actually even higher, at $10k).

The first ominous sign here is Apple’s own words. The company never referred to Apple Watch as a “smartwatch,” and in an earlier interview, Jony Ive himself named Switzerland — not Silicon Valley — as Apple Watch’s primary region of competition. Whether or not you agree with this frame of mind, Apple’s pride (hubris?) on this point is likely to drive their price point up.

But once again, the bigger factor is the 18-karat gold. Rolex’s all-gold watches (including the band) tend to start around $12k, and even those with standard leather bands tend to start at $3k.

I remain skeptical that Apple could sell a consumer tech product at a price point this high, but if the company can convince the world this is a piece of fashion — and not just a glorified iPod Nano — maybe a few of Apple’s wealthiest patrons will cave.

The size of the case

I’m expecting the 38 mm and 42 mm versions to have different price points, as Apple has always attached bigger price tags to bigger products (the 11- vs. 13-inch MacBook Air, the iPhone 6 vs. 6 Plus, for example). For the Sport and Watch Collections, I expect Apple to charge its usual $100 premium on the 42 mm model. But for the Edition line? Even a small increase in gold could mean a significant price jump. For now, let’s call it $300 more for the 42 mm.

But what about the bands?

The first question about bands, I suppose, is whether they will even be included in the retail price of the watch. My best guess is that each watch will come with a base price that includes the Sport Band, but that subbing in an alternative band will increase your final bill, a little like adding RAM when purchasing a MacBook Pro.

Apple also made a big deal about changing out bands for different occasions, proudly showing off the easy-release functionality. For these reasons, it seems likely that each band will also be sold as an individually priced accessory.

So what will those prices be? I looked back over Apple’s past product offerings to see if I could find a similar accessory. I needed something that came in multiple materials, that could be attached and removed, and that could serve as a close companion to a core Apple product. The best analogy I could find? The iPad’s Smart Cover and Case.

The most affordable Smart Cover is made of polyurethane, and costs $39. It comes in six colors, most of them bright or pastel. In other words, it’s the Sport Band equivalent for the iPad. Meanwhile, the leather Smart Case is a luxury accessory, coming in at $79. Buying a leather cover for your iPad would be like buying a Milanese Loop band for your Apple Watch. A quick calculation reveals that the $39 price point is 13% the cost of the cheapest iPad (the $300 non-Retina iPad Mini), while that $79 accessory is 26% the cost.

It’s for these reasons that I predict the cheapest band (the Sport Band) will be about 15% the cost of the watch, while the most expensive bands will be about 30% the cost of the watch. However, I think Apple will price the five non-sport bands relative to its Watch Collection, not its Sport Collection. Case in point: only the Sport Band is present on Apple’s Sport Collection page, while every band is present on Apple’s Watch Collection page.

So here’s what I’ve got:

  • Sport Band – $49*
  • Classic Buckle – $99
  • Leather Loop – $149
  • Modern Buckle – $149
  • Milanese Loop – $199
  • Link Bracelet – $249**

*~15% of $349, the official Sport Collection price

**~30% of $749, the price estimate for the Watch Collection from Theory #2

How did I decide on this order? First, I assumed that the more metal involved, the pricier the band. Take a good look at the Modern Buckle and you’ll see how much more metal it contains than the Classic Buckle. That will likely add up to a $50 price difference for stainless steel, and possibly a lot more for a gold version.

But my best explanation is simpler than all that: This is the order that Apple lists the bands on its main Watch Collection page. It’s a subtle hint about which ones Apple is most proud of. Read down the list yourself, and I imagine you’ll agree.

Finally, what about the Edition bands, (presumably) with gold clasps and hooks instead of aluminum or steel? I used the same logic (15% for the cheapest, 30% for the most expensive, based on the pricing prediction from Theory #2):

  • Sport band: $249
  • Classic Buckle: $349
  • Modern Buckle: $449

The gold premium strikes again. Note that Apple doesn’t list any Edition Collection models with either the Milanese Loop or Link Bracelet. My guess is they don’t exist: They’d likely be so expensive to make, Apple would have to triple the MSRP based on the metal alone.

So unless you’re happy with an aluminum sports model, start saving. The Apple Watch could very well be the priciest Apple product since the MacBook Pro.

This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.

TIME FindTheBest

13 Apple Watch Design Combinations (and What Each Says About You)

You weren’t going to buy an Apple Watch: you were just curious. You were perfectly happy with your iPhone, iPad, iMac, and Macbook Pro, thank you very much. And then, somewhere between “space black stainless steel” and “milanese loop,” everything changed.

So you’re going to buy the new Apple Watch, even if it means missing your best friend’s sister’s wedding and eating only canned tuna for four months. Don’t worry; no one will judge you for making an adult financial decision.

They will, however, judge you for the design you choose, so study up. We’ve reviewed all the options: six metals, six bands and 11 face designs. Here are 13 potential design combinations…and what each will say about you.

A quick look at the Apple Watch and its competitors. Battery life is rumored at one day.

1. The Bare-Bones Basic

Metal: Stainless Steel

Band: Link Bracelet

Face: Utility

What it says: I have no idea what I want out of life.

2. The Hipster

Metal: Silver Aluminum (recyclable)

Band: Classic buckle (bringing it back)

Face: Solar (all-natural)

What it says: I’m anti-establishment, but I just spent $349 on a watch from a multi-billion-dollar company.

3. The Extra-Terrestrial

Metal: Space Black Stainless Steel

Band: Jet Black Sport Band

Face: Astronomy

What it says: I can name every Star Trek character in under 20 seconds.

4. The Waste of Money

Metal: 18-karat rose gold

Band: Mahogany modern buckle

Face: Solar

What it says: I live paycheck to paycheck, but at least I look rich.

5. The James Bond

Metal: Space Black Stainless Steel

Brand: Link Bracelet

Face: Simple

What it says: I watched Skyfall six times in theaters.

6. The Normal Watch

Metal: Stainless Steel

Band: Classic Buckle

Face: Simple

What it says: I just paid 10 times the money for a timepiece that looks like a $35 grocery store Timex.

7. The Mickey Mouse

Metal: Silver Aluminum

Band: Bright Yellow/Green Sport Band

Face: Mickey Mouse

What it says: I’m eight years old.

8. The Risk-Taker

Metal: Space Black Stainless Steel

Band: Milanese Loop

Face: Modular

What it says: Every time I eat out, I order the weirdest, most unpronounceable menu item. I shop for products the same way.

9. The Failed Interior Designer

Metal: 18-Karat Yellow Gold

Band: Blue Leather Loop

Face: Color (orange)

What it says: Don’t hire me.

10. The Apple Fanboy/Fangirl

Metal: Silver Aluminum

Band: White Modern Buckle

Face: Photo (of Steve Jobs)

What it says: I have three more of these watches at home.

11. The Non-Watch Wearer

Metal: Stainless Steel

Band: None (took it off and threw it away; face stored in pocket)

Face: Utility

What it says: I should have just bought an iPod Nano.

12. The Well-Intentioned Couch Potato

Metal: Space Gray Aluminum

Band: Bright Blue Sport Band

Face: Chronograph

What it says: I bought this watch, worked out twice, and now I just send animated emojis to my friends.

13. The Fitness Guru

Metal: none

Band: none

Face: none

(AKA: just wear the same old Casio stopwatch)

What it says: I’m actually in shape and don’t need an Apple Watch to pretend I’m fit.

This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.

TIME technology

These Are the Products the Apple Watch and Apple Pay Must Defeat

Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy Gear wearable devices for KDDI Corp.'s "au" brand sit on display during a product launch event in Tokyo on Oct. 2, 2013.
Kiyoshi Ota—Bloomerg/Getty Images Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy Gear wearable devices for KDDI Corp.'s "au" brand sit on display during a product launch event in Tokyo on Oct. 2, 2013.

A look at Apple's main competitors in the worlds of wearables and mobile payments

Apple made waves Tuesday by entering two new business sectors at once: wearables and mobile payments.

The company announced the Apple Watch, a long-rumored smartwatch that will synch up with iPhones and offer new fitness-tracking feature, and Apple Pay, a mobile payments service that will let users pay for things in physical stores with a tap of their phone or watch.

Wearables and mobile payments are tech sectors that already have plenty of competitors, including heavyweights like Google and Samsung, but have yet to reach true mainstream adoption. Apple will look to recreate the magic it found with portable music players, smartphones and tablets, but its foes aren’t likely to just accept being pushed to the sidelines.

Here’s a look at the current players in wearables and payments and how their efforts have fared so far:

Wearables

Samsung

The Product: Samsung has already bet big on smartwatches with its line of Galaxy Gear. The original Galaxy Gear, released in fall 2013, served as an accessory to Samsung tablets and smartphones, offering a way to read texts and other info relayed from the phone. The watch also sported a camera, an unusual smartwatch feature that the Apple Watch doesn’t have.

Success So Far: The original Galaxy Gear was widely panned in reviews, but the Gear 2 left a more favorable impression. Samsung claimed that it shipped 800,000 of the original Gear in its first two months on the market, but it’s not clear how many of them actually sold to customers. According to market research group NPD, 500,000 total smartwatches were sold in the U.S. between October 2013 and June 2014, and Samsung generated about $75 million in revenue from its portion of those sales.

Pebble

The Product: Startup Pebble proved that the smartwatch could be a viable product line when its 2012 Kickstarter project became the most successful endeavor in the crowdfunding site’s history back in 2012, generating more than $10 million in donations. Now Pebble has grown from a clever idea into a well-established business that offers smartwatches in a variety of styles. The company’s watches link up with both iPhones and Android devices and are fairly affordable with a starting price of $150.

Success So Far: Pebble says it has sold more than 400,000 smartwatches so far and has 15,000 developers making apps for the device. According to NPD, the startup is second to only Samsung in smartwatch sales in the U.S. But these numbers are paltry compared to the scale that Apple likely envisions for the Apple Watch.

Google

The Product: As with phones, Google will mainly take the fight to Apple in the smartwatch space via software. Earlier this year the search giant unveiled Android Wear, a version of its Android operating system tailored specifically for wearables. So far three watches make use of the software: the Moto 360, the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live.

Success So Far: The LG G Watch has earned solid reviews, but the sleeker Moto G disappointed critics when it launched earlier this month. No word yet on sales of these products. Google may have higher aspiration for Google Glass, its computerized glasses that are currently being beta tested in the U.S.

Fitbit

The Product: With Apple positioning the Apple Watch as a lifestyle device, the company will have to take on the current juggernaut of life-improving wearables, the Fitbit. The popular electronic bracelets and clip-on devices can track everything from miles jogged to quality of sleep. The products are cheap too, starting at just $60.

Success So Far: Fitbit has managed to fend off apparel giant Nike in the fitness wearables category and now easily leads the market with almost 50% market share, according to research firm Canalys. Apple will have to convince health nuts that its product is worth three to four times the cost of a regular health-tracking device.

Mobile Payments

PayPal

The Product: eBay-owned PayPal has been inching its way into physical stores for a few years now. PayPal has services that allow you to easily split a restaurant check or buy a new outfit at Abercrombie & Fitch via its smartphone app. The company also recently announced a new service called One Touch which will allow people to buy products with a single button click across a wide variety of programs.

Success So Far: PayPal processed $27 billion in mobile payments in 2013, a 99% increase from from the year before. The company has more than 150 million active accounts supplying a trove of credit card and banking info. That’s a big number, but it pales in comparison to the 800 million iTunes accounts Apple users have created, most of which include credit card information.

Google

The Product: Google came up with a service very similar to Apple’s three years ago. Called Google Wallet, the app allows users to tie information for multiple credit, debit and gift cards to their phones, then use the mobile device to pay for items at participating retail locations.

Success So Far: The Google Wallet app has been downloaded at least 10 million times from the Android store, but the even the service’s creators have admitted that it’s not exactly setting the world on fire. The company’s latest strategy to introduce people to Google Wallet is linking it up with Gmail accounts to allow people to send money to each other via email. With more than 425 million Gmail accounts currently active, the popular service could serve as a trojan horse to to hook users on Google’s payment platform.

Square

The Product: Square is best known for its credit card readers that are popular with small businesses, but the company has designs on eliminating the credit card altogether with Square Wallet, an app that would allow for purchases made without even the press of a button. The phone in your pocket would be able to communicate with a retailer’s payment equipment, and you’d just have to say your name to complete an order. The disruptive concept received a lot of attention, partially because Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is Square’s CEO.

Success So Far: Square gave up on the hands-free payment option earlier this year when it removed Square Wallet from the Google Play and App Stores and replaced it with Square Order, a less ambitious app that basically works like Seamless for grabbing take-out food. The company has reportedly postponed plans for an IPO as it racks up losses, though Square has denied these claims.

 

MONEY Apple

See How Apple’s New Smartwatch Stacks Up

Apple’s new watch has its own set of perks and drawbacks — and deals with the same issues that plague the rest of the smartwatch industry.

TIME video

The New iPhones and Apple Watch (in Two Minutes)

The rumors panned out pretty well: Apple rolled out two new iPhones and its first smartwatch.

Click here for more Apple coverage.

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