Apple Watch: Here's all you need to know

Apple showcased their Watch at the media event yesterday in Cupertino. The Watch is priced at $349.

After months of speculation of will they or won't they, the Apple Watch is here. Interestingly Apple has dropped the i and its simply called the Watch, not iWatch as was being used by pretty much everyone in the media.


Apple showcased their Watch at the media event yesterday in Cupertino. The Watch is priced at $349 which comes to around Rs 21,000 when converted without taxes. The Apple Watch will release in 2015 and won't be hitting the markets this holiday season. Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8.


So what does Apple's Watch look like? Well for starters, it's got a squarish screen and Apple hasn't gone for the round watch as some were hoping. Apple's Watch will be coming three distinct collection and two different sizes. The three editions are Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. Apple Watch Edition is plated with 18 karat gold. We predict this edition might do exceptionally well in India. The two different screen sizes are 38 mm and 42 mm.


The Watch is crafted from custom alloys of polished or space black stainless steel (Apple Watch), space gray or silver anodized aluminum (Apple Watch Sport) and 18-karat rose or yellow gold (Apple Watch Edition).


With two sizes and three different editions, Apple has also introduced six different straps. These are a sports band; the Milanese Loop as Apple has named which has a flexible magnetic stainless steel mesh; there's the Leather Loop which has a magnet for quick fastening; the leather Modern Buckle, which closes with a solid metal clasp; the leather Classic Buckle; and the stainless steel Link Bracelet.


As Tim Cook said during the launch, "What we didn't do was take the iPhone and shrink the user interface and strap it on your wrist." A shot at Android Wear aside, Apple has redesigned the iOS-based user interface and recreated it specifically for a smaller device. The Watch has a Touch Screen with Retina Display and what Apple calls "Force Touch" which enables it to differentiate between a tap and a press. While a tap would open the app, a press can give quick access to controls within the app itself. Interestingly we didn't find out about the Touchscreen part of the Watch, well after the presentation on the device had begun.

 Apple Watch: Heres all you need to know

Tim Cook on stage during the launch of Apple Watch. Image: AP



The Watch also has Apple's custom-designed S1 SiP (System in Package) miniature chip. It features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair with your iPhone.


But Apple has also introduced something called the Digit Crown. Essentially if you remember your watches of old, that little round button on the side which you had to tweak to fix the time, it's there in the Apple Watch as well.


Except that tweaking and turning the Digital Crown is a new way to scroll, zoom in, navigate in the apps in the Watch. The cool thing about this that you don't have to cover up the entire tiny Apple Watch Screen, as you try to zoom into an app. The Digital Crown is also the Home Button and a way to access Siri.


Apple Watch also has a Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker. What the Taptic engine does is create motion in straight line to alert the user of an incoming notification. Essentially the watch will tap you on the wrist.


According to Apple, "when you receive an alert or notification, or perform a function like turning the Digital Crown or pressing down on the display, you feel a tactile sensation that’s recognisably different for each kind of interaction." It is this Taptic engine that will allow users to send something like their Heartbeat to another Apple Watch.


So what can the Apple Watch do? From the demo during the keynote address a lot of stuff. For starters, Apple Watch has pretty much all the key apps, Health, Fitness, Calls, Messaging, you can even send drawings on your Apple Watch screen to another users. Also iPhone/iPad/Mac photos that have been marked as favourite can be accessed from the Watch.


When you press the button below the Digital Crown, you can access your close contacts, and call them or message them. If you get a message, the Watch will analyse the text and give you options of short message replies you can send to your friends. Apple Watch even lets you change the emotions on the Emoji, which was pretty much one of the coolest features.


The Watch also has apps like Stocks, access to Email, World Clock, Alarm, Timer, Stopwatch, Music, Apple Tv and iTunes and you can use the Watch to control your Apple Tv as well, it's even got Maps and Passbook and yes it supports Apple Pay, the new mobile wallet systems launched by Apple. Apple's Watch can be used as a remote for your iPhone camera as well.


As far as watch faces are go, Apple Watch has 11 ranging from traditional analog faces to new faces like the dynamic Timelapse face, an Astronomy face with an interactive, real-time 3D model of the earth, sun, moon and planets.


The Digital Touch allows users to send a sketch, a gentle tap, an audio message through Walkie Talkie or even your own heartbeat to another Apple Watch user.


For Health the smartwatch has two main apps. These are the Activity App and the Workout App.The Activity app on Apple Watch provides a a graphic of your daily activity, with three rings which show calories burnt, minutes of exercise done and how often a user takes a break from sitting. The Workout App lets users set goals as far as fitness and exercise is concerned and you can monitor your progress on your iPhone as well. Apple Watch uses the accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone for all of this.


Apple also showcased WatchKit, which will provide new tools and APIs for developers to create apps, etc for the smartwatch. We got a glimpse of the Facebook, Twitter notifications as they appear on the Watch. It appears that users can tweet from the Apple Watch as well. Fully native apps will be possible next year.


Apple Watch straps come in various colours. In fact during the keynote, it has hard to figure out how many watches Apple had launched.


The colour scheme is as follows: The Sports band will come in black, blue, green, pink and white. The Classic Buckle comes in black and midnight blue. The leather Loop comes in bright blue, light brown and stone. The Modern Buckle in midnight blue, brown, soft pink, rose gray and bright red. The Milanese Loop is stainless steel and the Link Bracelet in brushed stainless steel and polished space black.


The fact that Apple's Watch is not coming out this holiday season means that rival Android Wear will have an early advantage in the market. But it was clear from the video during the demonstration for Apple, with this device the priority isn't to get to it out first, but to get it right. For now they seem to have done something different with watch as was expected. Whether it will good enough to help convince buyers remains to be seen.

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