Apple’s live event in Cupertino today saw more than the iPhone 6 announcement; the mobile giant also unveiled its new smartwatch contender, the Apple Watch.
Like everything else it does, Apple’s presentation of their new watch was accompanied with gusto; audiences were informed on exactly how the new device would fill out the company’s growing ecosystem.
The Apple Watch does indeed fill an interesting role in “iDevice” webwork. The new device is essentially a mini-smartphone that can some surprising things, and tethers to an iPhone to relay content.
Apple’s smartwatch is in itself an innovation in practicality and mirrors quite a bit of a smartphone’s functionality. Using the watch you can answer phone calls from your iPhone, or even use the walkie-talkie mode like a high-tech Dick Tracy.
The Apple Watch also houses a digital slice of Siri, the lovable AI that scours the Internet at our behest.
Other features allow you to check your whereabouts with GPS-enabled maps and stay up-to-date with events in a simplified to-do calendar. You can also check your e-mail and do some IM’ing on-the-fly. It can tell you the weather, inform you on the phases of the moon, and can be tailored to your specific personality thanks to customizable watch-faces.
It even acts as a remote camera by tapping into an iPhone’s iSight lens, making for easy snapshots.
You can even send custom touch-drawn image-messages to other Apple Watch users–sending a bit of love, wrist-to-wrist. Curious what your heart-rate is? The “iWatch” can easily check it for you, and even upload it to an exercise app for later viewing.
Instead of setting the time, the watch’s crown acts as a dial to zoom or shrink images. Apple has even found a unique way to charge the device using a combination of inductive charging and MagSafe tech. The charger basically “snaps” into place via magnetism and effortlessly charges your watch.
The watches will come in three flavors: the default yet stylish Watch version, the simplistic and functional Watch Sport, and the lavish Watch Edition whose face is bordered by 18-karat gold and comes with a sapphire-crystal display.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Apple Watch is the huge potential it has with its app line-up, and how it interacts with these apps. It’ll be compatible with iOS 8, Apple’s latest OS suite for “iDevices”, alongside a host of new app content.
The new Activity App, for example, taps into the device’s hardware to track your daily activity. It’ll show you how long you’ve spent standing, sitting and moving in any given period.
The Workout App is something that aligns perfectly with fitness buffs. The app not only tracks and shows you real-time progress like calories burned and your current pacing, it’ll upload this progress to your iPhone. This creates a more complete picture of exercise and allows users to practically focus and dictate their workouts at any given time.
Other apps include your media staples like photo viewing, music, and a digital remote that interacts with iTunes and Apple TV. Social media apps like Twitter are also accessible through the watch, and it’ll support Apple Pay.
It’s also worth noting that the watch will require an iPhone 5 or later in order to function.
The Apple Watch may be available in early 2015 for a price point starting at $349. We expect that the three different editions will have their own accompanying price tiers, and may even have their own performance boosts.
We may see some changes made between now and release, and specs aren’t 100% finalized yet. You can find more details and specifics on the Apple Watch on Apple’s website.