All of us have fancied a classic timepiece such as a Rolex, Cartier or an Omega… and now an Apple Watch? After several leaks and a lot of anticipation, Apple has finally unveiled its foray into the smartwatch segment in September 2014. It includes amazing new technologies and an entirely new OS for the Apple Watch. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release, “And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.” It will arrive in spring 2015, pricing starts at an estimated 300 euros (approx. Rs 25,000) and the anticipation is on the rise. It comes in three variants; entry level, Apple Watch sport and an expensive 18 carat gold Apple Watch which is rumored to cost up to $5,000 (Rs. 3,11,200).
An integral part of every watch is the crown and Apple has seamlessly integrated it into the Apple watch. It has put together the prerequisite elegant crown and the cutting edge retina display. Since pinch to zoom is impractical on such a small device, the digital crown acts as a method to zoom in and out of content and on pressing it, acts as a home screen button. Ingenious!
The Apple watch has its entire computer system on the only chip in the Apple watch called the S1. It really shows how much Apple pays for its engineers and the team. Apple really puts a lot of money into this and gets the best possible. The single chip is so small that it makes mankind wonder, what’s next? In fact Apple designed an entire new font so that users can read easily on the small device.
There’s also something called a ‘Taptic Engine’. We always sense something by the way it feels. For instance, a pin and a pointed pencil, when pricked, feel different. The Apple watch provides a haptic feedback that is different for notifications than say when turning the digital crown. Apple’s website says ‘You can get someone’s attention with a gentle tap. Or even send something as personal as your heartbeat.’
This has got to be phenomenal. Imagine the good it does to long distance relationships. It also helps while using maps. For instance, it could vibrate differently for when a person has to turn left or right. It could use a weather app to vibrate if you left without an umbrella. The capabilities are endless.
For the first time Apple has made a product which is so widely customizable. The Apple watch will come in two sizes i.e. 38mm and 42mm in height. There are three variants i.e. the entry level Apple watch, the Apple Watch Sport and the Gold Apple Watch.
The Apple watch sport reportedly, has a strengthened Ion-X glass with a composite back and is available in 10 models. The Apple watch sport will have lightweight anodized aluminum available in either silver or space gray. It will also have the straps in ‘fluoroelastomer’ plastic, which are available in five colors. The entry level Apple watch is available as 18 different models. The back is made of ceramic and it has a sapphire crystal display. It has cases in two colors i.e. highly polished steel and space black. The bands will have colors in leather, stainless steel and ‘fluoroelastomer’ plastic.
The Gold Apple Watch with hardened 18 karat gold also has a ceramic back and a sapphire crystal display. It is available in yellow gold or rose gold. It has the bands in either ‘fluoroelastomer’ plastic or leather. You have the option to choose from 34 different models, hence making it even more difficult to choose from.
Connectivity, Sensors and charging
The Apple watch connects to the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6 and the 6+ on iOS 8.2 or later. The Apple watch has NFC and payments can be done via Apple Pay. It also has an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate sensor and a barometer. The heart rate sensor is specially built for people to measure their daily activities. It uses the accelerometer and the GPS to figure out when a person is walking or when he is working out. The heart rate monitor is one in a kind using infrared, visible-light LEDs and photodiodes to get the best heart rate possible. It connects to Apple’s health app on the iPhone and shows valuable data.
Charging it is also pretty cool. It uses the MagSafe inductive charging technology which is familiar with the MacBooks. It’s a completely sealed system free of exposed contacts. Just get the magnetic charger next to it and it snaps in place. You could do it easily while headbanging to Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’. Pun intended.
So is it a market changer? Indeed it is. Personally, I feel it is much better than its competitors in the market. Pricey? Yes, but you are getting a device that is made so intricately and with such a premium finish. It is made to perfection and feels just like any other Apple device. It is hugely beneficial for people who want to keep a track of their fitness. I am an Apple fanboy and Apple products have always intrigued me. All I can hope is Apple tests it properly for cases like Bendgate.
Apple has always had a niche market in India and this too will be for them. As in India, many people still haven’t found a use for the smartwatch. For Indian users it will always be an electronic item which will lose its value due to depreciation over the years. So instead of a smartwatch, they may prefer spending this money on a smartphone. This may not be just India’s case, but also globally. Can Apple reinvent the watch, or will it just be another smartwatch?