We waited for it, and now its finally here - the Apple Watch! Not called the iWatch as previously expected, the device is nonetheless hugely revolutionary. From its customized metal straps, to its gently curved rectangular face, all the way to the unique UI, the Apple Watch is something that the company has clearly spent a huge amount of time perfecting.
In terms of form, the iWatch is a roughly rectangular smartwatch, which curves at its corners. In addition the screen itself is made of gently curving sapphire crystal Retina display, which bends away towards the edges of the watch face. The body of the watch is again made of curving metal, which in many ways resembles the form factor of the original iPhones. On the back of the device is sensor array which presumably will measure health metrics.
In terms of controls, the right side of the device features a unique control knob which Apple refers to as a ‘Digital Crown’ made to superficially resemble the adjustment knob of a mechanical watch. Below this is a second physical button which activates other software features. The phone’s screen itself can be interacted with through multi touch gestures, and will sense when it is moved, and activate.
The device will come in 2 separate sizes, one large, and one small, evidently aimed at male and female users. In addition, the watch will be available as part of three separate collections: standard, Sport, and Edition. These are largely differentiated by the housing and band material used in the watch. The standard collection will feature a silvery body finish with the option for either leather or metal bands, the sport collection features a more rubbery fluro look, while the ‘Edition’ collection has a luxury look, with a body made from 18 carat gold.
Hardware-wise, the watch will run off a fully integrated S1 processor chip, while also featuring an actuator which allows the device to utilise haptic feedback. In addition, the watch feature in built GPS and heart rate monitor, as well as an accelerometer which presumably can double as a pedometer.
In terms of software, Apple has taken pains to create a UI which is easy to use despite the watch’s small screen. As well as using multi-touch gestures, the watch also utilised the Digital Crown on the side of the device to allow controls such as scrolling and zooming, while at the same time doubling as home key when depressed. In addition, the button below it allows a user easy access to their recent contacts. Apps in the new UI are displayed as a collection of bubble-like round icons which can be zoom in on when the watch is integrated with.
Furthermore, the watch features a wide variety of digital faces which can take the form of futuristic space-scapes all the way to more traditional watch face designs. Apple also integrated voice controls through Siri, and a compressed information interface called ‘Glances’ similar to Google’s Android Wear information cards.
Clearly, the Apple Watch brings a lot to the table, but the question remains, come start of new year, will people decide it is good enough to be worth the $350 price tag?
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