The Apple Smartwatch Arrives: Here Are the Highlights


apple smartwatchAt long last, following what feels like a years-long media build-up (because it was), Apple revealed its new smartwatch today, and it turns out that most of the rumors were right on the money, except for the name. It’s not the iWatch or the iTime, it’s simply the Apple Watch, and CEO Tim Cook said it will redefine what people expect from a watch. Here’s an overview.

 

Kevin Lynch demonstrates apple smartwatch
Apple’s Kevin Lynch demonstrates apps on the Apple Watch during the new product launch.

 

1.What does it look like?

This watch offers almost infinitely variable looks. There are three collections: one in steel, a sports collection in aluminum, and an 18k gold Apple Edition model. There are six interchangeable straps and bracelets. It comes in two sizes, neither of which is too large. Indeed many fans of big watches may find the Apple Watch downright dainty. The watch sports a flexible Retina display protected by sapphire. The faces can be customized to display the information you deem most important. One particularly cool look is called the Astronomy face. It displays the Earth, and if you zoom out, the solar system with each planet in its correct position. Here are some shots…

apple smartwatch

apple smartwatch

 

 

apple smartwatch
apple smartwatch - on wrist
Here’s a wrist shot. I hope he’s not lighting a cigarette after his workout.

 

 2. What can it do?

Quite a lot, actually, and it will be able to do much more over time as as new apps become available.

Mobile payment: One of the most talked-about predictions involved mobile payment with the swipe of a wrist. It has that. This is really an iPhone 6 feature, but near field communication (NFC) between the phone and the watch let you pay for goods with a flick of the wrist.  Many leading banks are signed up, as are Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Big retailers and restaurant chains are also signing up. Those on-board so far include McDonalds, Subway, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Starbucks (of course), Duane Reade, Walgreens, Staples, Whole Foods, Uber, Open Table, and more. American Airlines has an app to let you board your flight with the watch. Starwood Hotels has an app that lets you open your hotel room door. BMW has an app that lets you check your hybrid car’s charge level (though that information should be right in front of you on the dashboard).

Health and fitness: YES! Tim Cook called this a key feature set for this product. The watch uses the phone’s GPS to track distance traveled, so you’ll be jogging or cycling with your phone on your hip to track your progress. The watch will “get to know you” over time, and it will begin sending you motivational messages to keep you on your fitness routine.

Glances: This is a shortcut that lets you instantly access selected information such as the weather forecast or stock prices.

Gesture control: This was predicted and delivered. Actions like raising your arm bring up contacts lists.

 

apple smartwatch
Fitness tracking, paired with the iPhone 6+.

 

apple smartwatch
Pressing the “digital crown” brings up your apps.

Notifications: You can select which notifications you receive and act on them. The watch even suggests responses. For example, if the message asks if you want to go a movie or to dinner, the watch will display three response options: movie, dinner, neither. Of course other responses are possible.

Photos: You can store photos on board and zoom or pan them.

Maps and directions: Yes, again with zoom and pan.

Siri and voice search: check and check.

Social: Facebook and Twitter have apps optimized for the watch. More to follow.

apple smartwatch

3. How long will the battery last? 

1 day.

4. Will it work with my iPhone?

The Apple Watch will work only with the 5 models, and the new 6 and 6+. During the event, Apple said the watch requires the iPhone to work, but it was not clear whether that means to work at all, or only to be able to use the GPS, payment system, and other phone-based features. Clearly Apple plans to use the watch to leverage iPhone 6 and 6+ sales. All of those cool NFC watch features require the new phone.

5. What is the price? 

Starting at $349.

apple smartwatch - 18k gold - on wrist
Another wrist shot, this time showing the Apple Edition in 18k gold.
3 Responses to “The Apple Smartwatch Arrives: Here Are the Highlights”

Show all responses
  1. I own quite a few watches, both automatic and quartz. The new Apple watch would not deter me from acquiring another high end watch. I feel it would be a fabulous addition to my current collection. Apple has a reputation of quality in all of it’s products and I will be purchasing one as soon as it becomes available.

    Reply
  2. 1. Maximizing screen area.
    2. Maximizing volume for internals.
    3. Ease of manufacturing.
    4. Apple family visual cues.
    5. Mechanical watch lovers are not their target market.

    Reply
Leave a Reply