Spring forward. I really don't know where that name came from, but I assure you, what we saw is simply epic. As always, Apple pulled off this event as the classic keynote press event. So what did we see? Apart from the overpriced Apple Watch (though I agree with their pricing of the Edition), we also saw some dead-thin Macs, called just MacBook. And there was ResearchKit, Apple TV and HBO.
Anyways, the Apple Watch.
Apple showed off the Watch back in September 2014. Since then, it has been working with third party developers to improve the Apple Watch OS and bring together a good collection of apps before launch. Yesterday though, Apple released the much awaited Watch officially to the public, with shipping starting from April 10th. So does the big A have what it takes to beat the heating smartwatch market? Lets see.
Unlike Android Wear, the Watch has far more functionality, a larger number of apps, better app experiences and the amazing intimate connections to others wearing the Apple Watch. Apple has worked really hard to make it a stand alone product to sell, not an accessory to the iPhone. Yes, you will need an iPhone 5 or above to use the Watch, but it has its own set of apps, own ways to connect and own ways to track activity. So it is more than just glancing at notifications: you can actually pay with the Watch (Apple Pay), you can open the door to your hotel room, control lights at you home, check-in into flights, create reminders, call people and track motion activity. The list of possibilities with the Apple Watch are truly limitless, so it seems like Apple has gotten the software right.
Coming to the hardware, the Watch comes in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm versions and 3 varieties, the Watch, the Watch Sport and Watch Edition. The Sport comes in an aluminium alloy frame, while the normal Watch comes in steel. The Edition comes in 18-karat gold, hence its insane pricing. All run the same internals though, an Apple S1 chip with a Taptic engine. The Taptic engine technology is especially fascinating: vibrations are like taps on your wrist and the way it vibrates also matches the task its performing. So while giving directions, the Taptic engine sort of gives the nervous system a sense of direction, sort of like someone is guiding you by touching your wrist, so you don’t even need to look at a screen. Then there is force touch; pressing the screen hard to perform other possible tasks on the current displayed information. The Watch also has a heart rate monitor that is continually tracking you. The watch has built in gyro and accelerometer sensors to track and react to motion activity.
All that said, Apple has innovated a lot with the Watch. However, the high price tags for the watches and their straps can have people stop buy the watch. And even though Apple has put in so many new features, it seems like many are still not convinced wether a smartwatch is even required. Apple claims 18 hours of battery life, but its hard to tell with regular usage.
The Apple Watch Sport starts at $349 for the 38mm version, $399 for the 42mm. The normal Watch begins $549 to $1099 and the Edition starts at an insane $10,000 all the way to $17,000. So its just a matter of choice wether to buy a watch that is under $400 or above $15k. Anyways, it will take lots more convincing, lots more hands on usage to really understand the need of the Apple Watch.
Thats about it for the Apple Watch! Lots more about the Macbook and other products released coming soon (in a few hours). Keep Technonerding!