Apple Watch launches on April 24th in 9 countries, preorders start on April 10th

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At its event, Apple has finally announced availability information for the Apple Watch. All three models will be available in Apple Stores from the 10th of April. You can preorder any of the watch-band combinations in the collections from the 24th.

The Apple Watch will initially roll out to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan.

Apple Watch Sport will start from $349 for 38mm and $399 for 42mm, the mid-range stainless steel version will start from $549 for 38mm and $599 for 42mm, and the elusive solid gold Edition casing will run at least $10,000. The pricing of bands varies dramatically, so note that these are base prices only.

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Microsoft CEO Ballmer still thinks iPhones are too expensive, opens door to Microsoft doing their own phone

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been making the rounds following the launch of Windows 8 and Surface, and yesterday he sat down for an interview in Santa Clara with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. TechCrunch pointed us to audio from the interview (embedded above), where Ballmer is asked about the role of Windows Phone 8 within the iOS- and Android-dominated smartphone market. Ballmer famously laughed about the iPhone’s high price point back in 2007, but apparently, the Microsoft CEO still thinks iPhones are priced too high. While claiming Android’s ecosystem is “not always in the consumer’s best interest,” Ballmer made a point of mentioning the high cost of iPhones abroad:

The ecosystem of Android is a little bit wild, from an app compatibility perspective, a malware perspective… maybe in a way that’s not always in the consumer’s best interest… conversely, the Apple ecosystem looks highly controlled, and by the way, quite high priced. The fact that we live in a country where almost every phone is subsidized, you may forget it. But I was in Russia last week where you pay $1000 for an iPhone.. you’re not going to sell that many iPhones… The question is how do you get the quality, but maybe not the premium price. A controlled, but maybe not quite as controlled ecosystem.

Reuters also has a quote of Ballmer from an event last night, when the CEO seemed to hint at the possibility of a Microsoft-branded smartphone: Read more