Apple has finally announced the new Apple Watch at the Apple Live Event back on September 9th this year and it’s due to be released in early 2015. There has been much speculation as to the design, functionality and even the name. It was previously referred to as the iWatch and even iOS Watch by some. This device is the company’s first developed technology that is fully wearable.
People today set many new trends when it comes to technology. The emergence of smartphones is also the product of continuing innovations throughout the years. Nowadays, all major smartphone manufacturers invest heavily into extensive research and development projects. The goal is to create the latest and greatest unique technologies. Apples latest attempt at this alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has taken the form of a wearable wristwatch.
The concept of a smart watch is nothing new. An early example of the smart watch was a product called the Pebble Watch which was released back in 2013. The Pebble Watch allowed users to receive notifications, view emails, check the weather and display a wide variety of custom information. Just like the Apple Watch, the Pebble Watch needed to be connected to your smartphone to benefit from most features. So now lets take a look at the Apple Watch in more detail and evaluate if it really will be a game changer or simply just another gimmick.
The Apple watch at first glance looks much like your typical wristwatch but with many innovative features. It has two different sizes, for people with both small and larger wrists. There are different variations of the Apple watch. The first is made of stainless steel, the second from luxurious 18-carat gold and third is made of aluminum. The watch straps are to be available come in a number of colors and materials. The Apple Watch will also be interchangeable using magnetic technology.
It is important to note that the Apple watch is NOT a stand-alone device. It is connected via Bluetooth and Wi-fi to an iPhone running iOS. It will not work independently and like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, must be connected to an Apple device. If you are an android user then it’s probably not a good idea to by an Apple Watch as you will need to switch to the iOS platform in order for the watch to function.
The screen is made from sapphire crystal glass that has a strong resistance to scrapes and scratches. Let’s face it, there is not point having a $349 watch if it damages easily. It also has a very sensitive touchscreen that can sense the slightest touch or tap. It’s tap function will let you easily select an item on the screen and it also has “force touch” that is the equivalent to right clicking on a mouse for faster access.
The Apple watch features a “Digital Crown” which enables you to turn or twist the crown for zooming functions and it can also be pressed. This is something that Apple is very proud of as the digital crown is a unique and innovative advancement. The digital crown functions alongside the touchscreen and has a click wheel control. It enables you to zoom in and out and scroll up and down completely eliminating to need for pinch and zoom. The digital crown also acts as the home but and will return you to the app menu when pressed.
The Apple Watch also has a built-in taptic engine which vibrates on your wrist to alert you when you receive a notification such as an incoming messages or email. It’s also integrated through Siri, an intelligent personal assistant and serves as your navigator.
There are a range of apps designed for the Apple Watch. A mini notification system called “Glances” provides for instant notifications. Glances provided a user interface of all relevant notifications from apps such as maps, passbook, photos, messages, weather and mail. It also has the Friends app which gives you a convenient way to connect with your friends by tapping on your friend’s image to send a message or even make a phone call. You can even send a reply directly through the Apple Watch without having to interact with your iPhone. The Apple Watch comes with integrated audio capabilities including a fully operational speaker and microphone.
The Apple Watch functions as a monitoring device for your health and fitness activities. It holds a number of health and fitness apps that give you a tailored experience in providing health related information such as calorie burn performance. It also includes a workout app that will display your exercise stats and progress. The Apple Watch has a number of small sensors to perform functions like tracking your heart beat and the number of steps you take. The new Apple Pay has been integrated into the Apple Watch too. You will be able to directly pay for purchases by swiping the watch though Apply Pay, Apples new money payment system.
A Game Changer or a Gimmick?
It is far too early to give a definitive answer as to whether the Apple Watch will be a game changer and set the standard to become a must have gadget. It’s important to note that this is NOT the first smart watch to be developed but it does have a number of highly competitive features when compared to other smart watch models currently available on the market today. The simple fact it is an Apple product will also help Apple gain more attention than some of it’s lesser known rivals with fewer features. Another factor to consider that sets the Apple watch apart from the competition is the elegant and premium design that Apple has chosen to develop. The device may very well turn out to be just a gimmick but it certainly is a nice one. Other companies like Samsung who have created a smart watch before have so far failed to generate a successful impact on customers. Will Apple be different I wonder?
There does seem to be a fairly substantial amount of initial interest in the Apple Watch both in the media and online. So maybe this kind of wearable technology is what customers want since it’s an entirely new experience and very different from interacting via a smartphones or tablets. Will the Apple Watch complement the smartphone and also become a respectable product or will it lose interest and become irrelevant?
Game changer or a gimmick, the Apple Watch is still a great early breakthrough in the wearable technology industry. There will almost certainly be a number of future updates / improvements by Apple through the coming months to streamline and enrich this product based on feedback. The Apple Watch still has a great opportunity to set the standard for wearable devices. Even as a gimmick it showcases the best technology design and is an excellent idea in principle.
So will the Apple Watch succeed where others have failed and convince the consumer that this is a MUST HAVE product? Only time will tell.