Apple’s came out of the gates swinging with the reveal of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, but there’s one huge announcement left to make. Tim Cook just revealed the Apple Watch, Apple’s first new entry into a new category in years and the first wearable from the Cupertino company.
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Apple Watch has a brand new interface, different than anything we’ve ever seen from iOS. Rather than try to port a smartphone experience to the smartwatch, Apple is instead catering to the hardware in order to suit the UI. For example, the crown on the side of the Apple Watch can be used to zoom in and out of a map or scroll through a list. Pressing the crown will take you back to the home screen.
When you raise your wrist to look at the watch, the touchscreen display will turn on automatically. The home screen features a cloud of apps, each represented by small dots. You can arrange these depending on your preferences.
Glances will take the place of widgets on the Apple Watch. When you swipe up from the bottom of the display, customizable widgets like a calendar and a music player will pop up.
We didn’t hear much about sapphire today, but the Apple Watch will feature a sapphire display. The Apple Watch can tell the difference between a tap and a press on the display. A press seems to function similarly to how it does on an iPhone or iPad. As for charging, Apple is introducing a unique wireless charger for the Apple Watch. It’s magnetized, so you won’t have to fumble around to attach it.
Much like with the Android Wear smartwatches, you will be able to dictate messages on your Apple Watch. There’s a ‘taptic engine’ inside the watch which will vibrate when a notification arrives. When you receive a notification, you simply raise your wrist and swipe up to respond. If there’s a question in a message, Apple Watch will even give you quick responses to choose from so you don’t have to take out your phone. Otherwise you’ll have to resort to emojis and dictation.
Emoji fans rejoice! There are a new set of animated emojis made specifically for the Apple Watch: hands, faces and hearts. Considering the fact that typing is out of the picture, emojis could become an even more common form of communication.
You can personalize the appearance of your Apple Watch as well. There are plenty of watch faces, each with different information. You can then go in and customize that individual watch face, adding information or taking it away. Apple has also designed six different straps, each unique and easily replaceable. This is easily one of the most customizable products Apple has ever released. The company considers it a line of products rather than an individual device.
As leaks had hinted, there will be two sizes of Apple Watch for wrists of all kinds. Combine the two sizes with three different finishes, six official straps and more on the way, and you can see how easy it will be to have a unique Apple Watch.
On the back of the Apple Watch are a set of sensors which will measure your vitals. The device is primed to be a major player in the health and fitness market. Small LEDs on the device will measure your heart rate and the Apple Watch pulls in data from your phone’s GPS to track your location.
Two apps will be the focus of Apple’s health and fitness initiative on Apple Watch: Fitness and Workout. You can choose a customized workout in the Workout app, which also tracks calories burned, the duration of your workout and the distance you traveled.
It’s a watch, it’s a communicator, it’s a comprehensive health and fitness device — but Tim Cook says it’s so much more, pointing to the walkie talkie ability, the ability to control an Apple TV and as a viewfinder for the iPhone’s camera. It’ll even work with the just-announced Apple Pay.
There will be three models: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. All of them are compatible with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5.
The Apple Watch will start at $349 and will be available early next year.