When Apple Watch was introduced with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Tim Cook rightly said that like Apple’s other offerings iPod, iPhone, iPad and Mac, it is going to be a category-defining product. It will captivate and enrich many lives and it is the most personal product made by the company so far. Who knew that every word of his will ring true in the times to come!
The debutante entry of Apple into the wrist business is one of the most anticipated products of the recent years. It is also the first new product since the introduction of iPad in 2010. The CEO of T-Mobile John Legere has predicted Apple Watch to be the tipping point of wearables, which will push the niche wrist smartwear into mainstream.
We all know that wrist is done to death now and companies have moved on to other body parts but even though, nobody has got the smartwatch right till now. Sometimes it is the data, the sync part, battery or weight issues. Does Apple Watch get it right? Will Apple Watch be able to repeat the story of iPhone and iPad? Too many questions that only time has the answers to!
According to Apple’s design expert Jony Ive, it is a based on new interface that offers unique personalization and diminishes the line between user interface and wearable’s physical peripherals. The personalization can be extended to both software and hardware and this is what, Apple believes will redefine the wearable wrist segment.
What can you expect from Apple Watch?
Apart from playing music like an iPod, it tells you time with a precision of 50 milliseconds. Apple Watch’s time telling extends to lunar cycles, show and remind calendar appointments and weather forecasts.
It is also a fitness tracker that tracks heart rate. It can take calls, record audio messages, send and receive messages for you. With Apple Pay, it can make payments and in the coming time, if all goes well, it will replace your wallet. It is remote for your Apple TV and connected devices. Not just this, it can open the smart lock of your home too. The apps will help the watch to control the automated features such as thermostat and electric switches of your smart home.
In short, it is all the good things from the present range of smartwatches. It picks voice controls, swiping and notification features from Android wear watches of Google whereas voice calling and too much focus on apps seems to be highly influenced from the failed Samsung Tizen watches.
On the fitness front, it is equipped with four sapphire lenses on the rear panel that aim to deliver accurate heart rate measurement. Sapphire lenses utilize LED and infrared technology and can deliver more accurate tracking than the optical HRM featured in the likes of Samsung Gear 2 or Motorola Moto 360. Apart from the much-publicized HRM, it can do the usual steps taken, calories burnt and so on. There are also dedicated fitness apps for activities like cycling. It is also compatible with Nike Plus and with time, may gain support from other third-party fitness apps too.
Like iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, it supports Handoff feature, which means you can pick up the content from the different devices just from where you dropped off. Its ‘Digital Touch’ feature lets you communicate just by tapping on the screen. You can share your heartbeat with someone connected. You can change the colors and draw on the screen of Apple Watch.
When it is not connected to its better half, it can still do some of the work such as tracking your fitness activities, make payments via Apple Pay, control and play music and yes, will tell you the time too!
Apple Watch: At a glance
Apple Watch’s rectangular curved face is a piece of art and you get 11 of these! You can totally change the design by reconstructing the combinations of watch bands and styles. The glass screen is Ion-X. The bands are available in different versions such as self-attached leather band, segmented leather band, plastic sports band and many more. The bright and colorful touch display can be interacted with and spoken to. It has in-built mic which can be used to trigger voice-activated controls. The scroll-wheel crown can be pushed to navigate through the menu.
It is available with six different colorful straps that can be interchanged. Running on new and unique S1 processor, it is offered in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm. The color options available are silver aluminum, 18-karat yellow gold, 18-karat rose gold, space black stainless steel, stainless steel and space gray aluminum. Apart from the four sapphire lenses that hold a sensor to monitor heart rate, the Apple Watch is equipped with an accelerometer. It carries off the GPS and WiFi to track fitness activities. It also has NFC support that enables Apple Pay option and makes it a smart key for your digital home. The Taptic Engine, a new feature working along with the built-in speaker, conveys haptic feedback and allows subtle alerts for notifications that can be both heard and felt by the users. This also means that you will get different alert for different notifications. The Apple Watch charges via inductive charging, which is based on MagSafe technology and the charger goes into the back panel of the display. Apple Watch has sealed components and as you hold the charger near the back of the watch, the magnets pulls the charger immediately into the place. The dedicated storage of Apple Watch remains a mystery but we expect it to sync your playlist as a standalone model.
There is also no clue about the battery life of watch but Tim Cook has made it clear that you may need to charge it on a daily basis. It indeed is a crucial aspect and Apple can amp up the competition if it is able to work on it.
As of now, only iPhone 5 and above models are compatible with the watch. Support for Android phones is not yet offered. Since it is expected to be a premium product and Apple has been known for its exclusivity, you can simply rule out the compatibility with any other platform. It needs to be connected to the iPhone and works in tandem with it, when connected or disconnected with it.
Release and Price of Apple Watch
As the speculations of ‘early 2015’ launch come to an end, the official website of Cupertino company is now stating ‘available in 2015’ release. As January and February release is now out of the frame, it is time to shift the hopes to end of March now.
Apple’s senior VP of retail and online stores Angela Ahrendts has instructed the employees to gear up for holiday rush and Chinese New year, which is on 19 February. Those who wanted to gift Apple Watch on Valentine’s Day, given its heart beat connection, may have to look for another gift options for their loved ones or should ask them to wait for some more time.
Reports also suggest that Apple has kick-started a training program from 9 to 16 February for Apple Stores’ employees to be familiar with the technology of Apple Watch. Apple Watch cannot be released without a strong app system in place. So, as Apple try to get more and more developers on-board, we can expect it to be launched not before the end the March and expect it to be released with a hoard of apps.
Apple Watch price will be $349 in the U.S. and in the U.K. it will be available by early April. The Apple Watch gold edition is expected to be available for more than $3000 and stainless steel Apple Watch’s price can go up to $500.
Will you buy Apple Watch?
If you are an Apple fanatic like me, do not bother to answer. But please seriously, how many of us would really like to pay through our nose for this piece of extravaganza? And when stacked against kinda affordable Android wear Asus ZenWatch and Motorola Moto 360, will it still have the chance to garner eyeballs and revenues?
The debutante entry from the California-based company will enter the highly competitive market and will face the same question from users, why do they need it when they have to pair it up with a smartphone? But then, Apple has always been lucky. Be it iPhone or Apple Watch, people would flock in to Apple stores from midnight to be the first one to lay their hands on one. From fitness freak to corporate houses, Apple Watch is capable to prove its relevancy for all but how far will it go, let us wait and watch.