The Apple Watch is here!

The Apple Watch is here!
What we rate
  • Beautiful, you will want one!
  • Software and SDK is going to change the game
  • Price is not that bad
What we hate
  • Not much!
  • Not here until 2015
100%First look

SSo we covered off the iPhone 6 in this morning’s post, but the 2nd product unveiled yesterday was the much anticipated Watch. You know there’s been so many rumours about the Apple Watch that I was worried it was already spoiled but Apple have really come forward and created something game changing with their new Watch product.

Apple watch overview

We got treated to such a beautiful video that introduced the Watch that you simply have to “watch” it, the link’s here and it’ll say more than I ever can about it. First of all the device is beautiful, it simply is the first bit of technology that I have seen that I would genuinely wear on my body, regardless of the features it brings.  The watch comes in 3 types:

  • Watch, which is a steel, shiny, very “Appley” every day design.
  • Sport, which is a lighter, Aluminium based case.
  • Edition which is made form 18 carat gold

Each watch comes in 2 sizes so you can opt for the fuller sized or a smaller design.  Evidently Apple has realised that both Men and Women regard their wrist real estate quite highly when it comes to fashion and these watches are the best thing i’ve seen come out of a technology in terms of appearance and sheer way they look.  They’re fashion items put plain and simply. Add to this there’s a dazzling array of straps that can tailor your watch design and I can see people having a whole bunch of these in their wardrobe with many more being made by 3rd parties.  It’s going to make the Watch wearable at any occasion and be the personal item you need it to be.  Just check out the gallery here to see all the designs at launch, there’s too many for me to get listed here!

The customisation doesn’t stop at the hardware though as you can do all kinds of changes to the watch face, the home screen and more but we’ll cover that below.

Usability

So it looks nice but is it easy to use? Apple have clearly spent a lot of time working out how something on your wrist has to work and they have introduced us to the “digital Crown,” which is actually how we’ve all used out watches for years! The crown revolves and you can also tap it it so it’ll zoom in and out fluidly as well as taking you back to the home screen from anywhere.  From the demo it really looked like it could make this tiny device work really well.  Jony Ive took us through some key elements of the teams thinking when it came to understanding we couldn’t use a Watch in the same way as we use our smartphones. As well as this a brand new Touch screen, covered in flexible sapphire glass has been developed so that the watch will understand touch, but also pressure.  This removes the need to “pinch” and use 2 finger gestures on a screen too small for that and from the demo it looks like it works really well. There’s also a hot button on the side that takes you to your contacts where you can do all kinds of new, innovative stuff. Add to this the actual timepiece in the Watch is also superbly accurate which means it’ll be able to actually keep time really well!

Software Features
So it’s a beautiful thing, great, but what else does the Watch actually do?  Well this is where the Apple Watch really did start to wow us and i’ve picked out just some of the best features that I think are really going to change the way we think about these kinds of gadgets.

Sensors

There are 4 sensors on the back of the watch that can pick up all kinds of things including your heartbeat, which you can send to someone else or a monitoring app on your iPhone.  I can already think of a million new apps that could use this feature.

Connect

The Watch brings a whole new way to connect to your friends and colleagues too.  Not only can you use text and voice with phone directly but there are a whole bunch of apps that will run on the Watch specifically so you can actually use the watch on it’s own to find places, navigate, send quick emotive messages to someone discreetly and more.  Even the classic talk, text and social activities have been re-written so that they look and feel right on such a different device.

Taptic feedback

Small taptic vibrators are in the Watch and these can be used for a multitude of different uses.  Aids to help you know when to turn left or right, to want you of an alert or new message in the most discreet way possible were shown but again I can think of a load of new things these could be used for! You can even send your heat beat to a loved one if you want!

Health

The Watch is also going to be an integral part of the Health applications, giving you the ability to view progress and to run apps for specific workouts.  I can already see this devices strapped to my bike and recording all my rides as well as being a device that gives a really clear update as to how many steps i’ve taken that day! With a full and open SDK I can only see this improving hugely in the next few months.

NFC and Payments

Yes the Watch can be used to pay for goods so when attached to your iPhone, you can use it to tap and pay instead of getting your phone out.  Not only is this a more secure way, but it’s way more natural and it also means there’s an NFC chip in the device which could be used for all kinds of things.  I’d be very interested to see how this develops once out in the real world. 3rd party apps To give you and idea of some 3rd party apps at launch, we saw hotels that use the Watch as your room key, airlines that use the Watch to give you instructions and alerts from check-in to take off.  This is where Apple is so good, it’s app market has just given it’s developer base 3 or 4 brand new exciting technologies with full and open SDK’s to create, make and build on top of.  It has secured their immediate future and more in my view.

Charging and Battery

The charger is magnetic and also wireless so it just snaps to the back shell and charges.  It’s elegant and it looks like it’ll just work really well.  I didn’t get any information on battery or battery life, maybe Apple are still working on that for launch?

Price & Availability

The only price I saw was from $349, whether the smaller watch is less or more, I don’t know and what comes with the watch, I don’t know! As a data capture company i also saw some real benefits of using a Watch type device.  For example will parcels be scanned more easily and can they be “accepted” rather than signed for?  Will a watch be able to do a lot of the things the Rugged PDA did thus keeping the PDA in your pocket or holster?  Does that mean the Rugged PDA is dead as the ruggedness is no longer needed? There’s no doubt this is a Watch done right! Apple has done it again and I think this will be a huge game changer for personal, business and even enterprise.  “Watch” this space for more.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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