During Apple’s March event this morning, Apple detailed their new Apple Watch. The concept of wearables is well understood, but how Apple will implement and convince you that you need one. Below are the reasons Apple believe their watch is better than those that have come before it.
Apple says they understand the people that will buy the Apple Watch are different. Some are business people, some are sporty people, some are both. To cater for this individualisation, the Apple Watch has the ability to customise the face to suit your personality. Apple are allowing you to customise your watch face with widgets. Right now, these are Apple-developed as the SDK doesn’t yet develop these widgets for watch faces.
Apple showed off that long awaited fantasy of taking calls directly from the watch. This is the realisation of the Dick Tracy movie from the 90’s, with the watch, you’ll be able to take and make calls directly from the watch using the embedded microphone and speaker. While this makes a good demo, in reality, the world is loud and your unlikely to use this often.
You can receive reminders on the Apple Watch (just like your phone) including a weekly report of your fitness activity. Apple CEO Tim Cook says “It’s like having a coach on your wrist”. It’ll be important that your phone and tablet know you have dealt with a notification on your watch and not duplicate it and become annoying. Cook says any notification you get on your phone can be delivered to the watch.
Those looking to deal with emails without pulling your phone out of your pocket can read full email, mark as unread, flag and delete all from your wrist.
You can also Pay with Apple Pay using the watch, interact with Siri, and see your photos. You can use Digital Touch to send a sketch, a tap and even your heartbeat to other people wearing an Apple Watch. Digital Touch really looks like another piece of functionality that demo’s well, but is unlikely to be a common use for the device, or sell more devices.
In terms of interacting with Siri, you can activate her by saying “hey Siri” and rather than speak back to you, there’s small pings to notify you information has been returned to the screen.
The watch connects via WiFi and Bluetooth, so when moving about your home, you don’t need to be in Bluetooth range to use the watch. Apple also demonstrated a bunch of apps, including flight checkins, ordering an Uber, browsing through Instagram and more.
One of the more impressive demonstrations was the scenario when your daughter gets locked out of the house. You reply to the emergency text using voice dictation, to let her know you’ll unlock the garage door. The watch app shows a live video feed of your garage and tapping a single button opens the garage door. Of course you need a smart garage from a provider like Alarm.com to power this kind of experience.
In terms of battery life Apple are claiming ‘All day battery life’ which for the watch means 18 hours. If you want the watch, you’ll need iOS8.2 on your phone and that’s available today.
In terms of price, the Apple Watch will cost different prices for the 38mm and 42mm sizes. The Apple Watch Sport will cost A$499 inc. GST and A$579 inc. GST. For the Apple Watch or middle tier, prices range from A$799 to A$1,629 inc. GST. While Apple aren’t saying these are female and male prices, that’s generally how it’ll work out.
The Apple Edition is an 18-carat gold version available in yellow or rose gold will start at A$14,000 up to a breathtaking A$24,000 for the 38mm 18-Carat yellow gold case with bright red modern buckle. The Apple Watch will of course be available from Apple, but also will make their way into select retail stores. The Apple Watch is available for pre-order April 10th, available on April 24th and Australia is on the launch list along with Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, UK and the US.