Putting an end to all speculation and anticipation, Apple finally announced the iWatch. It’s officially called Apple Watch and it’s available in three versions: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition. And two sizes.
The Apple Watch features are exhaustively varied so we’ve picked some of the finest and coolest features that you must know about. This is what makes the Apple Watch stand right out from the existing few wearable devices in the market.
Apple Watch borrows its square shape from Gear and possibly Pebble and a gazillion normal watches but the metallic finish (casing) goes way beyond merely differentiation of the iWatch from its competitors. It’s clear that Apple wanted to make not just a performance-oriented, tech-ridden wearable gadget. The company wanted to make a product that delights by aesthetics too.
The Apple Watch will come in two sizes. The smaller one will feature a 1.5″ face while the bigger one features a 1.7″ screen.
Sapphire Glass Display
The iWatch/Apple Watch comes with a sapphire “Ion-X” display with curved edges. While there’s a lot riding on the display itself, what complements the display is the underlying interface and taptic-circuit (we’ll get to that later).
This is the most curiously interesting part of Apple Watch. The crown is a remnant of the analog watches: it looks and works very much like the dials in a watch. But the “crown”, as it’s called, is used to navigate and zoom. Rotating the crown will zoom in/out of apps, photos, and it will help you go up/down/navigate through the interface.
The Optical Sensors
Under the Apple Watch is a set of optical sensors that detect your pulse/heart beat. It’s not new (optical heart sensors are already a part of many smartwatches).
While there are three major versions as stated before, you can actually customize the Apple Watch to your liking. There are – already – a handful of bands to pick from.
The Apple Watch is charged through a MagSafe-like arrangement. You just plug the cable to the back of the iWatch and it charges.
A Watch First
Apple is clear about the Apple Watch: it’s a watch and not some wearable gadget that does a lot of things but misses out on being the good old wristwatch. You can configure the “watch-face” in about 2 million ways. You can not only get the analog-style clocks but you can also add relevant info (like events, reminders etc.) on the watch face.
iWatch and Health
Apple isn’t marketing the iWatch/Apple Watch entirely as a health-oriented device. But the focus on health is definitely intense and sharp.
Apple Watch is not just a heart-rate sensor and health monitor. Those are passive things. The Watch aims to push you forward with regards to your health-conscious goals. It comes with dozens of features, apps, and settings that are configured to track movement, calories, time spent on workouts and such.
The Apple Watch
Apple Watch seems to be pretty good with apps too. It features a specially-crafted UI so you can get the best of both worlds: iPhone’s iOS and Apple Watch’s tiny, display. Apps like Photos let you see your favorite photos (photos that you’ve favorited on the iPhone will show up on your Apple Watch). You can use apps like Maps, control music, access to health-related features and do much more.
The Apple Watch connects to your iPhone (and in fact, you need an iPhone to use all features of Apple Watch)
This is where it gets impressive. The iWatch not only responds to a tap but there’s a “force-tap” feature that works like a right-click / context menu. If you are from the Android side of the market, you’ll probably associate this with a long-press. It’s pretty much the same function but through a different activation method. The force-tap is when you touch the screen but with more force. It’s like pressing harder.
The Apple Watch provides haptic feedback. When you get a notification, when you receive a call/message etc., your iWatch will vibrate. When your Apple Watch measures your pulse, it responds by vibrating in the same pattern/frequency as your pulse. These are little things, but interesting nevertheless.
With the Apple Watch, you can:
- Send replies to incoming messages
- View and flag/mark as read/trash mail
- Answer calls
- Share a quick audio message with other iWatch users (walkie-talkie)
- Send doodles and animated emoticons
- Control Apple TV and iTunes
- Send your heart-beat pattern to other users
- Ping your iPhone: you can use your Watch to find your iPhone!
There’s a dedicated communication button under the “crown”. Pressing this will bring up a favorite-contacts-like screen. Tap on a contact to start communicating through various means: message, call, doodle, send heart beat etc.
Glances: Notifications, Widgets
Glances are notifications, widgets, alerts: things that you can get information from or take action on. You access Glances on the iWatch by swiping from the bottom of the screen. Typically, the use-case goes like this: you get a notification (haptic feedback), you swipe from the bottom of the screen to see/glance at the notification. Then, you can take an action.
“Glances” seems to be a very important part of the interface. We’ll come to know more about it in the days to come.
Like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple Watch also features NFC. You can make payments using your Apple Watch. It will apparently collect the required data from your iPhone where the original data is stored.
There’s much more on the Apple Watch than we’ve covered here. Stay tuned!