Apple sets its watch to conquer your wrist
Summary: Apple unveils its smartwatch as it faces off against Samsung, Google, and LG.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on stage the long awaited reveal of the Apple Watch. After running a video showing off the watch, Cook walked out on stage with the Apple Watch on his wrist showing it off to the audience and thanking the team behind it.
At the Apple event in Cupertino, CA, Cook revealed a brand new product from Apple similar to when Steve Jobs revealed the iMac as part of his own “one more thing.” Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive ran over some of the features in a video on the Apple Watch.
The watch senses when the user raises their wrist and activates its display. The apps are circular icons laid out on the screen. Underneath the watch there are four sapphire crystal lenses housing the sensors used for the various fitness components of the watch.
Hardware wise, the Apple Watch features a digital crown which is one of the primary ways users are going to interact with the watch. The watch also has a touch screen that not only senses touch but force as well, which adds a new dimension to the interaction.
Inside the watch is an integrated computer known as the “S1” as well as a water resistant speaker and a new “Taptic Engine” — a linear actuator that produces haptic feedback, or small vibrations, that taps the user on their wrist. Different interactions will produce different tactical sensations.
Charging an Apple Watch is different from charging an iPhone. The back crystal features a magsafe charging solution with inductive charging so it requires no alignment or exposed contacts. Users just have to place the charger on the back and snap it back off when its done charging.
Beneath the digital crown there is another button that can be pressed to bring up the contacts menu from which users can then send messages or call. One can also use the watch to send messages by drawing on the screen and even sending one’s own heartbeat to others.
Measuring heartbeat is just part of the several fitness features Apple has built into the device. Using the gyroscope, accelerometer, wifi and gps from the iPhone, the watch provides a comprehensive picture of its user’s daily activities complete with awards for fitness milestones.
The watch will also track how many steps its user has taken as well as how long the user has been sitting. In addition to that it will track calories and measure activities such as cycling.
App support is robust as one can use the watch as a remote for the iPhone’s camera or control an Apple TV or iTunes. There are turn by turn navigation using Apple Maps. Siri will also be available, being used to respond to messages and search.
The watch will also support Apple Pay where users will be able to tap the watch against certain Near Field Communication (NFC) payment terminals without the need of taking out a phone. NFC allows the wearer to use the stored credit or debit information in an Apple Pay account to purchase items.
If the watch disconnects from a wrist it will automatically lock and require a pin to open. Apple will have six interchangeable straps. Straps like the milanese band and the quilted leather band all have magnets built in that will switch in and out of the watch through a simple locking mechanism.
Apple Watch will come in three editions and two different screen sizes. First, the normal Apple Watch, boasts a sapphire crystal display and a band made from high performance fluoroelastomer — a high-performance rubber that is heat and chemical resistant.
The Apple Watch Sport has a case made from lightweight anodized aluminium, and its display is protected by strengthened Ion-X glass. It also comes with a sweat and chemical resistant band.
Apple Watch Gold Edition will feature an 18-karat gold case that Apple’s metallurgists have developed to be twice as hard as standard gold. The display is protected by sapphire crystal as well.
Some students are skeptical about the watch. Jacob Kjerulf, a junior majoring in English, said “No one is going to use it, just like the other watch products. It will strain your eyes more than a phone would.”
Others however are excited for it and think the watch is the next big thing. Nicholas Wiley, a junior studying political science and global studies, said “I find the Apple Watch to be a seamless blend of functionality and brilliance that transcends anything yet seen.”
Apple has a lot to prove with it’s new smart watch. They have remained quiet on battery life and have only mentioned that the watch will start at $350. The watch is also set on a vague early 2015 release date.