The world awaited the Apple press event yesterday with bated breath and very high expectations, and for good reason. All of the leaks had set the bar quite high for Apple and many thought that they wouldn’t deliver. I for one was keenly interested in the supposed iWatch because Apple has been a huge factor in developing tech sectors ever since the launch of the iPhone. In other words, I thought that if Apple could make a great smartwatch, people would buy it and the smartwatch sector would become mainstream and thus filled with competition, which is good for us, the consumers. While it’s not called the iWatch, I must say I am incredibly impressed by the Apple Watch.
Much like the 5c, Apple has decided to give us a ton of options to choose from. There are 3 types of the Watch with two colors for each: regular, black and silver stainless steel, Sport, with black and silver aluminum, and Edition, with yellow and pink gold. There are also 2 screen sizes: 1.5 inches and 1.65 inches. There are even multiple kinds of bands in various colors. There are the sport bands, made out of fluoroelastomer, the classic buckle, with leather, the Milanese loop, with stainless steel, the leather loop, also with leather, the modern buckle, again with leather, and the link bracelet, also with stainless steel. All are available in multiple colors. So yeah, there’s bound to be something here for any and everyone.
Simply put, I think the Apple Watch is the best looking smartwatch yet. Square with soft rounded edges made out of premium materials gives it a gentler look and feel than the G Watch while also besting the Moto 360 in quality. Part of the unique look is the digital crown, aka the dial from a normal watch. The digital crown allows you to zoom in and out without using a pinch gesture and thus obscuring valuable real estate while also functioning as a home button. And on a device so small, I really appreciate this conscientious decision. Another great decision is the simple and small charging platform that magnetically connects to the back of the Apple Watch. It’s much more subtle than the other charging stations we’ve seen on other smartwatches.
First off, the watch faces are numerous and varied, you’ll find a lot of different styles and images. Next, the app layout is very visually appealing and works in conjunction with the digital crown and swipe gestures to help you navigate through different “neighborhoods” of apps. Another feature uses the force of your touch to open up options. Using a screen that sense the strength of your touch, it allows for simpler gestures to accomplish more. Siri is also available on the Watch for voice input.
Fitness is a huge part of the Apple Watch’s software. There’s a visually striking dial meter that measures certain activities through a heart rate sensor and accelerometer and will let you set goals to reach while gently prodding you to reach those goals. You also get Apple Maps on your wrist and the usual notifications with the ability to send short replies or emoticons. Nothing too groundbreaking here.
There is a new way to communicate called digital touch where you can draw a sketch on the Apple Watch’s face to send directly to someone else’s Apple Watch. It’s not perfectly clear if you can do this Watch to Watch without an iPhone or not but it certainly is a cute way to chat with someone.
There’s also a huge development in the area of a fully fledged Apple program called Pay. It syncs to an account you create and you can use the NFC chip in the Apple Watch to pay at any place that supports NFC payments.
Good News and Bad News
The bad news is that the Apple Watch costs $349, will only be available in early 2015, and will only work with some iPhones. The good news is that this is the best smartwatch yet so it will be worth the price tag and it will work with the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s as well as the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. I don’t own an iPhone but at this point, I’d buy an iPhone 6 just to be able to use the Apple Watch.