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Apple unveils smartwatch

If Apple sold 30 million watches at $250 each, it would add $7.5 billion to its revenue.

Apple unveiled its long-anticipated smartwatch on Tuesday. Picture: Twitter.

CUPERTINO - Apple Inc unveiled its long-anticipated smartwatch on Tuesday, venturing into its first new market in several years with a wearable device tethered to the iPhone that will combine health and fitness tracking with communications.

It's the first new product to be developed and introduced under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook's reign, the next chapter in Apple's history.

The "Apple Watch" will come in three distinct collections, including a sport edition and an upscale line coated in 18-carat gold.

"Compared to what's out there, it feels like it's very slender. I like the level of elegance and the three different lines, which include sport and luxury," said Angela Tafoya, at fashion blog Refinery29.

Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimated on Tuesday that if Apple were to sell 30 million watches at $250 each, it would add about $7.5 billion to its revenue.

Rival electronics giants such as Sony Corp, Samsung, LG Electronics Inc and Qualcomm Inc have already launched smartwatches, albeit without much success.

The pressure had been on for the world's largest tech company to wow at its "special event" in Cupertino. The prospect of the Watch had attracted a broader swathe of attendees than usual, with celebrities, fashion industry editors and even healthcare executives rounding out the mostly tech-industry crowd.

On Tuesday, the company took the wraps off a larger, 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. They will support more than 200 telecoms carriers worldwide, including all three in China - a key growth market for the company.

It also introduced a new mobile payments service dubbed "Apple Pay." Each phone will come equipped with its new payments service, which launches in the United States (US) next month and allows users to pay for items in stores with their phones instead of physically presenting their credit or debit cards.

Barclays Capital said in a 5 September note that the mobile payments feature would give Apple "one of the largest sets of consumer transaction data in the US".

Each new iPhone will come with a "secure element" chip and a near-field communications, or NFC, antenna.

In a rare move for the company, Apple had planned on livecasting its event online, with a simultaneous translation in Chinese. But the livestream went down for many users about a half-hour in, prompting many to take to Twitter to express their frustrations.