“Development for Apple Watch is right on schedule and we expect to begin shipping in April,” Cook said. “Developers are hard at work on apps, notifications and information summaries that we call Glances, all designed specifically for the Watch's user interface. The creativity and software innovation going on around Apple Watch is incredibly exciting and we can’t wait for our customers to experience them when Apple Watch becomes available.”
Cook also said Apple and IBM (IBM) will release 12 more apps from their enterprise mobility collaboration targeted at healthcare, energy and utilities and industrial sectors. The new collection adds to the 10 business mobile apps the vendors offered up last December for the banking, retail, insurance, financial services, telecommunications, governments and airlines industries.
The goal, Cook said, is to have an IBM MobileFirst portfolio of more than 100 mobile apps aimed at enterprise businesses by the end of 2015. He named enterprise customers Miami Dade County and American Eagle Outfitters as among the “more than a dozen” early adopters of the collaboration’s enterprise mobility solutions leveraging the iPhone and iPad platforms.
“The list of new customers is expanding rapidly,” Cook said. “IBM is engaged with more than 130 additional companies looking to empower their employees with MobileFirst for iOS solutions and the list keeps growing. We couldn’t be more pleased with this partnership.”
As for the fast-approaching shipment date for Apple’s Watch, Cook said, “My expectations are very high on it. I'm using it every day and love it and I can’t live without it.”
Earlier reports pegged the Watch's shipment date for March, or, more generally speaking, this coming spring, from a reference point indicated by retail boss Angela Ahrendts. There’s also been some buzz about a so-called iOS “Companion” app for the Watch to manage the device’s apps and its interaction with the iPhone.
“Just to clarify, what we had been saying was early 2015, and we sort of look at the year and think of early as the first four months, mid is the next four months and late is the final four months,” Cook said. “And so to us it's sort of within the range and it’s basically when we thought.”
Apple is said to be readying a rigorous testing program to ensure its store employees are knowledgeable on all aspects of the Watch. At least one rep from many U.S. Apple Stores will head either to company headquarters in Cupertino, California, or to Austin, Texas, for train-the-trainer sessions running from Feb. 9-16, according to reports. Once fully trained, those store reps, in turn, will train other employees in their stores.