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Now unveiled, what is Apple Watch all about?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 09 Sep 2014 18:24 User comments (9)

Now unveiled, what is Apple Watch all about? Apple has finally shown off its upcoming Apple Watch wearable device to the public, slating it for release in earlier 2015. So what was the fuss all about and did Apple deliver?
Describing it as its most personal device ever, Apple showed off the upcoming Apple Watch in Cupertino today. The smartwatch will come in three varieties - Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition - in either 38 mm and 42 mm sizes and with enclosures rafted from custom alloys of polished or space black stainless steel, space gray or silver anodized aluminum and 18-karat rose or yellow gold. A line of watch straps are also available.

UI, Controls and Fitness

Each Watch comes with a Retina display that tout a Force Touch feature, which can essentially tell the difference between a tap and a "press". The user interface is of course based on the company's iOS operating system, though obviously redesigned for such a small display and to support the Watch control mechanisms.

Apple has introduced the "Digital Crown" which you can use to control the UI, for navigation, zooming or scrolling. It also serves as the device's Home button and can be used to access Siri.

Apple Watch puts a strong emphasis on fitness and exercise. The Activity app is designed to motivate you to be more active throughout the day while the Workout app provides the metrics you need during your sessions, as well as goal-setting and pacing during popular session-based workouts, such as running and cycling.

Apple Watch uses the accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone to provide a comprehensive picture of your daily activity.

One notable omission from Apple in the area of fitness is whether we can expect Watch to be waterproof or not. A lot of exercise-focused smartwatches are waterproof so that swimming is not left out, and that's very important to a lot of athletes, triathletes for example.

Pairing with iPhone, Apple TV and Apple Pay

Apple Watch is designed to be the perfect companion for an iPhone. You can easily accept calls from friends on your wrist, or respond to messages. With "Handoff" you can even finish messages on your iPhone. Using Digital Touch, you can send a audio message through "Walkie Talkie", a sketch, a gentle tap or you can even send your heart rate information. We're not really sure why you would want to, but you can...

Pressing the side button displays "Friends", enabling you to contact them quickly, while a swipe up brings up "Glances" which can provide quick and useful information, such as stock activity or location info (though you probably don't need pairing for this).

You can use you Apple Watch to control your Apple TV STB if you have one too, and if you are residing in the United States, you can take advantage of Apple Pay which will let you easily pay for physical goods and for services without needing to get your credit card out.

Technical Information

Apple didn't go into too much detail about this unfortunately, but did reveal that the Watch is driven by a Apple's custom S1 SiP chip, designed to pack the entire computer architecture onto a single minature chip. Pairing with iPhone is done through Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and Wi-Fi is also supported (not 802.11ac it would appear however).

Apple Watch will be available with iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as long as they are running iOS 8.

Strangely, Apple's event and press information didn't mention the battery life to expect from this device.

Pricing and availability

As mentioned, there are three options: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition, all which will be available sometime in early 2015.

Apple Watch will be available with a polished or space black stainless steel case and a choice of straps. Apple Watch Sport will be available with a space gray or silver anodized aluminum case and Sport Band. Apple Watch Edition will be available with an 18-karat rose or yellow gold case and a choice of straps exclusive to this collection.

All we know about pricing now is that it "starts" at $349.

Is it worth it???

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9 user comments

19.9.2014 19:00

Quote:
Is it worth it???
No, of course not. A few pending details, like battery life, but nonetheless it is arguably the superior smartwatch on the market at the moment, though. I do commend their bias towards fitness whatever the motivation (aka "USP").

However, as is usually the case, Android has provided a platform with Android Wear and we've seen the first iterations of hardware released for that platform - it will grow and improve. Apple has released a more highly polished product inside their own closed ecosystem that has been 3-5 years in the making, and we can expect gimmicky, unavoidable, incremental re-hashes of the same product for the next 5 years.

The fact that owning an iPhone comes as a requirement is no surprise - but, frankly, why not? Anyone that buys this will own an iPhone anyway, requirement or otherwise.

I'll finish up by saying that I absolutely hate smartwatches of all iterations.


29.9.2014 19:06

I missed the majority of the Apple Pay section and couldn't find clarification on this online (didn't look too hard though).

I would be interested to know if Apply Pay will use existing contactless payment systems, or if it requires specific retailer adoption to facilitate it? Contactless payment isn't a big deal in the UK anymore; most bank cards have it built in up to a limit, and some bank offer NFC stickers to turn your phone in to a payment method (e.g. Barclays).

If the whole system isn't compatible then we might as well all go home and try again in a few years time. Contactless payment should be standardised, everyday tech by now - not yet another thing for manufacturers to fragment market space over.



39.9.2014 19:14

Originally posted by Ripper:
I missed the majority of the Apple Pay section and couldn't find clarification on this online (didn't look too hard though).

I would be interested to know if Apply Pay will use existing contactless payment systems, or if it requires specific retailer adoption to facilitate it? Contactless payment isn't a big deal in the UK anymore; most bank cards have it built in up to a limit, and some bank offer NFC stickers to turn your phone in to a payment method (e.g. Barclays).

If the whole system isn't compatible then we might as well all go home and try again in a few years time. Contactless payment should be standardised, everyday tech by now - not yet another thing for manufacturers to fragment market space over.
From Apple's press material...

"Apple Watch will also work at the over 220,000 merchant locations across the US that have contactless payment enabled."

So apparently yes, but as you will have noted it is U.S. only for now, not UK.

49.9.2014 19:25

Well that's a good thing so fair enough.

Maybe we just don't hear about it too much here because it isn't available but I'm surprised Google haven't actively pushed out Google Wallet with more force. Perhaps they will now.



59.9.2014 20:17

Great comment from Paul Thurrott:

"No one really wants or needs a watch. But many people want and think they need yet another Apple product. So Apple Watch is brilliant."

69.9.2014 21:14

So about this time next year we will be reading about how these $350 watches are getting stolen left and right. Peoples dependencies on these gadgets are getting out of hand...


"Have you tried turning it off and on again?" ~ Roy Trenneman

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710.9.2014 16:01

Buying Apple Products, you are supporting the enemy.

How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/busin...wanted=all&_r=0

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Sep 2014 @ 16:04

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

810.9.2014 16:15

Originally posted by Ripper:
I'll finish up by saying that I absolutely hate smartwatches of all iterations.
You hit the nail on the head. I'd rather spend that money on an iPad than an iWatch. I don't see the appeal, or even the advantage over something like a Polar setup. At least with Polar, you can download your data later, making the phone a non-requirement.

912.9.2014 12:22

Originally posted by Ripper:
Quote:
Is it worth it???
No, of course not. A few pending details, like battery life, but nonetheless it is arguably the superior smartwatch on the market at the moment, though. I do commend their bias towards fitness whatever the motivation (aka "USP").

However, as is usually the case, Android has provided a platform with Android Wear and we've seen the first iterations of hardware released for that platform - it will grow and improve. Apple has released a more highly polished product inside their own closed ecosystem that has been 3-5 years in the making, and we can expect gimmicky, unavoidable, incremental re-hashes of the same product for the next 5 years.

The fact that owning an iPhone comes as a requirement is no surprise - but, frankly, why not? Anyone that buys this will own an iPhone anyway, requirement or otherwise.

I'll finish up by saying that I absolutely hate smartwatches of all iterations.
Dick Tracy would be in awe but don't forget the Fedora....too bad I just purchased a watch @E-Bay yesterday....link


"Praise The Lord And Pass The Percocet"

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