Apple finally revealed its long-rumored smartwatch at its keynote today, and the device is even more impressive than originally expected. Though the Apple Watch features a petite frame, it has some huge technology under the hood that could revolutionize the way Apple users interact with their iPhones.
Operating System and Interface
One of the biggest questions that consumers had about a possible Apple smartwatch was how the company would scale iOS to fit on a small, wrist-friendly screen. However, it looks like the product is ditching the traditional iOS user interface (UI) completely and using a unique UI. The watch’s “home screen” features small, bubble-shaped app icons for messages, dialing, social networks, e-mail, and a host of other options. Users can use the dial-inspired “digital crown” on the side of the device to zoom in and out of their app collection, and then select the app they want to use with just a tap of the watch face.
As expected, one of the biggest selling points of the next wearable product is how it manages app content and notifications. A simple swipe up on the watch’s face will enable a feature called “glance,” where users can swipe through information from pre-selected apps to view things like current weather and stock information. The phone also features push notifications that allow you to view e-mails, social network notifications, text messages, and more, right from the face of the watch. Instead of making a noise or vibrating, it has a “Digital Touch” feature that alerts users with a gentle movement that feels like a touch on the wrist.
A New Way to Message?
One of the biggest features of the watch is its on-board messaging system. Because the device has a much smaller screen, there is no keyboard. However, users can still reply to messages using a set of custom emojis, or making a drawing that will appear on the other user’s Apple Watch instantly. Individuals can also set a series of taps to alert friends (almost literally “pinging” them) and send a message of their actual heartbeat—which will tap the recipient’s wrist on pace with that heartbeat. Replying with conventional text is often preferred, however, so the piece enables the use of Siri’s voice-transcription feature just by pressing the Digital Crown.
Though the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus did not feature the sapphire glass screen that was widely rumored, the Apple Watch features a durable screen made out of this material. Charging the watch will be a breeze with the magnetic charger, designed to be similar to the cable ports on Apple’s MacBook laptops. The smartwatch will also feature haptic feedback, a heart monitor, and a motion sensor under the watch face.
Price and Compatibility
The new product will go on sale in 2015 starting at $349, according to Gizmodo. Apple is offering three versions of its watch: the stainless-steel-cased Apple Watch, aluminum-cased Apple Watch Sport, and a luxury 18-karat-gold-cased Apple Watch Edition. The $349 price point presumably covers the standard stainless steel Apple Watch, but more detailed pricing will likely surface as this device’s launch approaches. An iPhone is required for those interested in this new piece, which is compatible with both the forthcoming iPhone 6 series, and the full iPhone 5 series, including the bargain-priced 5c.
Are you excited about this new reveal? Do you think it is worth the $349 price point?
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