The day of the Apple Watch

A Google search for “Apple Watch” this morning, a few hours before the Apple event at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts, yielded 557 million results.

Given the level of anticipation and hype — the Vogue ads, the Jony Ive profiles — it’s easy to forget that none of the people writing and talking about Apple’s next big thing have actually used it. The units in the demo tent last September were prototypes running pre-programmed scripts. The Watches on display in Paris were locked under glass.

We don’t really know what the thing can do. How long its batteries last. How well it communicates with the iPhone. What good it is without the iPhone. How much, beyond the $349 starting price, it will cost.

Will the Watch join the pantheon of Apple hit products — Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad? Can it move the center of our digital lives — the things that make our smartphones vibrate — out of our pockets and onto our wrists?

We may not find out today, even if we do get to strap the thing on and put it through its paces. We may have to plunk down some cash and live with it for a while.

All we know for sure is that Tim Cook has got our attention. And that it’s been some time since anyone got rich betting against Apple.

To watch the event in real time, go to Jason Cipriano will be live-blogging it for Fortune here.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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