Smartwatch brings wearable tech to the Apple brand
Apple has unveiled its first smartwatch and only wearable technology product, the Apple Watch, featuring new technologies and a design that follows the tradition of precision watchmaking.
Apple Watch introduces a specially designed and engineered Digital Crown that provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate. Apple Watch will enable users to communicate in new ways by sending and receiving messages, answering calls to iPhone's, and with Digital Touch, sending something as personal as a heartbeat. Apple Watch also introduces comprehensive health and fitness apps that can help people lead healthier lives.
Apple has additionally introduced WatchKit, providing new tools and APIs for developers to create unique experiences designed for the wrist. With Apple Watch, developers can create WatchKit apps with actionable notifications and Glances that provide timely information. Starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch.
Ben Reed, head of technology at mobile app development firm, Mubaloo commented what the Apple announcements mean for developers: 'As we increasingly move to a multi-device world, that interconnect with the physical world through technologies like NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy, the role of apps is increasing. The days of apps as a gimmick are long gone, replaced by games that generate millions of pounds in revenue and tools that change the way people live and work. Now, with smart watches, beacons, NFC and other technologies, apps are becoming the central remote control for the world around us.
'Apple and Google are continuing to provide good reasons for developers to focus on creating apps, by creating new tools and devices for innovative evolution. Last night, there weren't many surprises, but we did see Apple demonstrate its unique approach to solving problems such as real-world payments and smart watch interfaces. We have to patiently wait for Apple Watch to be released, but that just gives developers time to think about how their apps can interact with the device.'
Apple Watch introduces a new design and iOS-based user interface created specifically for a smaller device. Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also serves as the Home button and a convenient way to access Siri.
The Retina display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, a technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing a new way to quickly and easily access controls within apps. Apple Watch introduces the Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that together discreetly enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications users can both hear and feel.
Apple custom-designed its own S1 System in Package to miniaturise an entire computer architecture onto a single chip. Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with an iPhone.
'Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad,' said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. 'And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people's lives. It's the most personal product we've ever made.'
'With Apple Watch, we've developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that's designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,' said Jony Ive, Apple's senior vice president of Design. 'We've created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalisation.'
The devices come with 11 watch faces ranging from traditional analogue faces to new faces like the dynamic Timelapse face; the Astronomy face with its interactive, real time 3D model of the earth, sun, moon and planets; and the Solar face, a contemporary sundial. Apple Watch can be personalised in appearance and capability with additional information such as upcoming events, moonphases or the user's activity level, enabling millions of possible configurations.
Taking advantage of its location on your wrist, Apple Watch provides timely information that can be viewed at a glance. Smart Replies and dictation let users respond quickly to messages, and with Handoff, they can start a message on the Apple Watch and continue where they left off on an iPhone. Swipe up from the watch face for Glances that quickly show useful information, such as location, stocks or the user's next meeting. Pressing the side button brings up Friends, while Digital Touch allows the user to send a sketch or even an audio message through Walkie Talkie.
Apple Watch also includes NFC, so users can interact quickly and conveniently with the world, such as paying for coffee using Apple Pay. Users can also board a plane with a Passbook boarding pass, control an Apple TV, or get directions.
Apple Watch also includes an Activity app designed to help motivate users to be more active throughout the day, and an all-new Workout app designed to provide the metrics users need during dedicated workout sessions. Apple Watch uses the accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from the connected iPhone to provide a comprehensive picture of the user's daily activity.
The Activity app measures three separate aspects of movement: calories burned, brisk activity, and how often the user stands up during the day. The Workout app provides goal-setting and pacing during popular session-based workouts, such as running and cycling. The companion Fitness app on iPhone collects activity data so the user can see activity history in greater detail. Apple Watch uses this history to suggest personal, realistic goals, reward fitness milestones and keep the user motivated.
Apple Watch will be available in three collections. Apple Watch, with a polished or space black stainless steel case and a choice of straps; Apple Watch Sport, with a space gray or silver anodized aluminum case and Sport Band; and Apple Watch Edition, with an 18-karat rose or yellow gold case and a choice of straps exclusive to this collection.
Apple Watch will be available in early 2015 starting at $349. Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8.