We’ve got the skinny on the newest addition to the Apple family, and we’re going to tell you just how near (or far) the Apple Watch falls from the rest of the tree
Well, the wait is almost over. After years of speculation, rumor, and mimicry, the company which managed to bring smart technology into the forefront of the public mind has finally decided to commit itself to the idea of offering a smart watch. On September 9th, 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed to the world that Apple would begin producing and selling the ‘Apple Watch’ (because apparently calling it the iWatch would have been too predictable) for commercial use in April 2015.
And, with April nearly upon us, many of us are wondering if it would be worth the trouble to throw our entire tax refund into purchasing a miniature smartphone that can only be operated with one hand. Well, relax. We’ve got the skinny on the newest addition to the Apple family, and we’re going to tell you just how near (or far) the Apple Watch falls from the rest of the tree.
The Apple Watch will be offered in several different versions: The Apple Watch (your basic model), the Apple Watch Sport, and the Apple Watch Edition.
The Apple Watch is made of stainless steel, and features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It will be offered in chrome or space black finish. The watch comes with several options of band design.
The Apple Sport features an anodized aluminum case (slightly less sturdy than stainless steel, but a bit lighter as well). Its touchscreen is made from Ion-X glass, which, last time I checked, wasn’t listed on the periodic table of elements, but which Apple assures us is strong and scratch-resistant enough to stand up to some serious punishment.
The Apple Watch Edition is, well, what can we say? It has a case of 18-karat gold (available in yellow or rose, just in case both people who decide to buy one want to have different colors), and comes with a fancy leather-case and charging station, because if you weren’t sure about dropping several thousand dollars on a gold-plated, wrist-mounted smart watch, a nice leather case will probably help you make up your mind.
Of course, you can’t mention the Apple Watch without then discussing price. Your basic Apple Watch will cost about $500–$1,000 upon release. The Apple Watch Sport is slightly less expensive, costing ‘only’ $350–$400. As for the Apple Watch Edition, well, it’s a tad bit more extravagant, with a price tag of $10,000–$17,000, depending on just how much you want people to judge/envy you. The reason for the range of prices is that the watches themselves each come in two sizes and offer different band styles from which to choose.
How does the watch work?
Well, first and foremost, it requires an iPhone 5 or better with which to sync. This means that if you want access to all of the Apple Watch’s features, you need to make sure to have your phone nearby. This means that, when all is said and done, the Apple Watch is really nothing more than an advanced and expensive iPhone accessory.
Navigating and controlling the Apple Watch can be done via the touchscreen, but given that the screen measures only 1.5 inches (38mm) to 1.7 inches (42mm), you can bet that you’ll be needing another method to control the thing. Apple considers this, and includes a ‘force-sensitivity’ feature, which means that by applying different levels of pressure to the screen, users can access different functions.
Additionally, the watch can be controlled by the dial on the side of the watch, in conjunction with a single button. Between each of these input methods, and taking into account the always-important voice-control feature that Apple mobile devices are so fond of, Apple assures us that the watch’s navigation is intuitive and easy to use.
Beyond displaying the time and texts, and running a variety of apps that will no doubt flood the App Store upon the watch’s release, the Apple Watch also contains a heart rate sensor so fitness buffs can enjoy keeping track of their exercise progress (and the rest of us can enjoy the constant reminder of just how much activity we’re not engaging in).
Okay, so what’s our overall assessment?
Well, it’s difficult to say at this point, but given that the Apple Watch needs to be coupled with an iPhone in order to function, the whole thing seems somewhat redundant. Beyond the ‘brag-factor’ of showing off an Apple Watch to less-fortunate friends, it seems as though users could get just as much functionality out of having a smartphone and a Fitbit (or any other wireless, wearable fitness tracker).
As for the device itself, it’s everything you’ve come to expect from Apple. The design is simple yet stylish, and the OS (which has been redesigned from the ground up to take best advantage of the Apple Watch’s features) is intelligent, seamless, and powerful. In short, it’s an Apple mobile smart device designed to further attract Apple brand loyalty; it’s just not necessarily one that you might need if you already have an iPhone – and it’s not one you’ll be able to use if you don’t already have a smartphone.
In conclusion, the Apple Watch really doesn’t fall too far from the family tree, but whether or not users are willing to drop several hundred (or more) dollars just to take a bite, is something that we’ll all have to wait to find out.
The views expressed are of the author.
Geektime invites global tech and startup professionals to share their opinions and expertise with our readers. If you would like to share your point of view, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.