The long anticipated Apple Watch made its debut this past Tuesday, turning rumors into realities and demonstrating how Apple plans to enter the wearable technology market and face its smartwatch competitors.
Apple took the stage with excitement, confident that their new watch can redefine what people expect from this category of tech. They claim it is the most personal device they have ever made.
Up until this point we have seen many smart watches, all of which are miniaturized versions of a user’s phone with the added convenience of being able to glance at the wrist instead of fumbling in a bag or pocket to take out the phone. The Apple Watch, although still connected to the user’s iPhone unlike some of it’s competitors, goes beyond making the phone smaller and putting it on the user’s wrist. The Apple Watch connects to the users body and acts as a comprehensive health and fitness device, creates a different way to communicate with digital touch, and enables users to make payments right from their wrists.
After watching the live stream of the full Apple announcement and product reveal, we highlighted some of the most important features of the Apple Watch:
A Personalized Device
It can be debated that insertion of wearables into the mainstream must be done with fashion - devices must be sleek enough not only so users will wear them, but have a certain “cool” factor. This wearable took the fashion concept into consideration by offering many opportunities for customization: two watch sizes for men and women, eleven different watch faces, and a variety of colored bands and surface options. There are also three different versions: Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition.
Apple is also allowing users to customize Emoji graphics. Users can take a smile and make it wink with animation.
A New Way To Communicate
Apple introduced Digital Touch, where users can draw on the watch’s surface and send the images to friends. Along with sending pictures, the Apple Watch’s Taptic Engine allows users to send “taps” to friends in the form of a vibration. The watch also features a way to send quick voice messages to friends using the built in mic.
A Comprehensive Health and Fitness Device
The Apple watch connects seamlessly with Apple’s new Health app, the hub for all fitness and health data. The watch has a heart rate sensor located on the back of the watch to measure heart rate at any time. The watch also has an accelerometer to count steps, calculate calories burned and measure total activity and movement. The watch is able to track location through the connected iPhone’s Wi-Fi and GPS.
Along with the sensors, Apple has incorporated two new apps into the device, the Activity app and the Workout app. Activity will show your daily activity, using a colorful graphic of three rings: Move, Exercise, and Stand. Move shows how many calories you've burned; Exercise shows your activity; and Stand gives you reminders to stand up if you've been sitting for too long.
The Workout app is designed to be used while you are working out to show stats such as calories burned, time spent, pace and distance traveled. These Workout stats are pulled into the Activity app for a comprehensive view of your daily activity. The Workout app will also allow users to set goals and will suggest goals based on workout history.
A New Developer Kit: Watchkit
Watchkit allows developers to create third party apps for the Apple Watch and custom notifications. Developers can use the platform to create everything from custom interactive watch faces to new versions of apps for the watch’s interface.
During the keynote, Apple demonstrated Facebook and Twitter functionality with Apple Watch along with other apps with the ability to unlock a hotel door, get transit directions, post to Pinterest, find your car, change the temperature with a Honeywell thermostat, and use Nike fitness features.
A New Payment Process
Along with the announcement of the new iPhone and Apple Watch, Apple announced Apple Pay. Apple Pay is a virtual wallet that uses Apple’s touch ID and NFC technology to enable users to make digital payments using the payment information already associated with their iTunes accounts. In addition to using Apple Pay on the iPhone 6, Apple Pay can be used with the Apple Watch.