Apple has officially introduced Apple Watch, a wearable device referred to as the iWatch until now. The watch has a square display. Coming in silver and gold with a number of different watch straps, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Watch is “the most personal device” Apple has ever created. As expected, Apple Watch is also being billed as a health and fitness device.
The Apple Watch uses Digital Crown — a type of dial — on the side of the device to navigate through apps and return to the home screen. A Jony Ive video focused on the Digital Crown, display, and “digital touch,” which allows users to send quick sketches, share heartbeats, and more.
The watch’s touchscreen senses force. Apple Watch has a speaker, and its LEDs read your heart rate. It uses your iPhone’s GPS, and it uses a MagSafe wireless charger to charge.
Apple Watch comes in two different sizes — 38 mm (1.5”) and 42 mm (1.65”). A range of watch faces are available to use — appearance and capability can be personalized. Six straps are interchangeable through use of a special mechanism.
Apple Watch comes in three different collections — the stainless steel Watch, aluminum Watch Sport, and 18-karat gold Watch Edition. The gold is said to be twice as hard as standard gold. While Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition have sapphire crystal displays, Watch Sport has Ion-X glass. It will likely be the least expensive option. Six straps were also shown — Sport Band, Leather Loop, Leather Modern Buckle, Leather Classic Buckle, Stainless Steel Link Bracelet, and Milanese Loop.
The iPhone is required with Apple Watch, Apple VP Kevin Lynch noted. In a demo, he navigated the device using swipes, taps, and a harder “force touch.” Swiping up from the bottom of the watch is a “glance,” which is used to look at bits of personalized information. The watch’s “taptic engine” sends a vibration to the wrist for notifications.
Apple Watch lets users respond to texts by using dictations, voice replies, animated emoji, or pre-selected answers — which the watch can generate based on the incoming message. Siri is also built into Apple Watch. Lynch also demonstrated Photos and Maps apps for the device, as well as the device’s “digital touch.”
Third-party developers can create apps for Apple Watch, and WatchKit will let developers create extended notifications. A number of apps are shown, including Twitter, Pinterest, City Mapper, BMW, Honeywell, and more. Users can seamlessly switch from the watch to an iPhone and back, continuing to read the same message or in some cases, use the same app.
Tim Cook returned to the stage to introduce two new apps — Fitness and Workout. The two apps work together to give users a “comprehensive view of their daily activity,” Cook said. Among other features discussed, Cook mentioned how he uses Apple Watch to control Apple TV, while others use it as a walkie-talkie or a viewfinder for an iPhone camera.
Notably, there was a complete lack of discussion about the Apple Watch’s battery life — a question that will pop up again, especially considering a recent report that claimed the device’s battery life could disappoint.
Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5. Apple Watch can also use Apple Pay. The watch starts at $349 and is available in early 2015.