Apple Watch announced – this time with no i

apple watch mainIt’s been rumoured so much it feels like it’s already old news but Apple’s hotly anticipated smart wrist-wear has been finally unveiled to the public in the form of Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch was introduced as being the one that will define the emerging wearable devices market. Unfortunately, like other ‘smart’ watches, the Apple Watch needs to be buddied with an iPhone, and not any old Apple blower either. For the Apple Watch to play nice you need to be packing nothing older than an iPhone 5.

One of the more unique aspects of the Apple Watch is the “digital crown,” a physical dial positioned on the right side of the device. Using this, users can interact with the device without a need to touch the screen, which would obscure it.

Apparently, Apple has worked with horological experts from around the world to understand the history and culture of watches, informing a universal design that can be worn all day. Like a watch then?

The Apple Watch crowned

Pinch to zoom wouldn’t really work on a watch so the Apple Watch has a small dial on the side — Apple calls it a digital crown and it’s packed with IR and LED diodes. Pressing the dial will take you to the watch’s homescreen, which users can personalise, just like the watch face.

The button located below the crown allows users to quickly access contacts.

The face, which is covered by a curved sapphire glass screen touch screen, is able to detect pressure (“force press”) as well as a simple touch so as to differentiate between a tap and a touch. There’s also vibrating haptic feedback and a loud speaker.

iWatch close up appThe Apple Watch is charged by a wireless, inductive charging pad that magnetically aligns to the back of the watch.

The Apple Watch comes with advanced sensors that turn on the display when a user raises their wrist. Sensors are also found underneath the watch, placed against a user’s wrist, to gather data like heart rate information.

Apple’s focus on fitness extends to the Apple Watch plugging into the Health app on the iPhone for sharing with third-party apps.

Two apps track two different levels of activity

The Fitness app tracks general activity, steps and calories burned throughout the day, like many fitness trackers currently available like the Misfit Shine or Jawbone Up.

It tracks both activity, but also how sedentary the wearer has been to avoid sitting too long in one place by prompting desk workers to get up and move throughout the day.

The Workout app tracks specific activity for custom workouts, acting like a personal trainer on your wrist based on your heart rate and motions.

Taptic feedback

For notifications, Apple integrated a “Taptic” feedback engine, which basically employs a linear vibrating motor that alerts only the user to incoming messages, events and more.

On the software side, Apple has integrated Siri, as well as app support for Maps, Photos and more via your connected iPhone. Onboard sensors such as an accelerometer and optical heart rate sensor add to the experience by tracking user activity.

iWatch offical sideDigital Touch uses the Taptic feedback engine to send drawn messages — or even your heart beat — to friends. Whilst on the subject of messages – Apple has created a new adaptive language that intelligently processes incoming text and determines an adequate response.

Apple changed its own rules

Most of us are used to Apple’s rules of there being a limited amount of versions of the same design being released with nothing in the way of a range of styles or customisation options.

Well, the Apple Watch is different.

The Cupertino company’s new wearable device will come in three distinct collections: A basic made of stainless steel, a sport version with an aluminium casing, and a high-end edition made of hardened 18-karat gold. Ka-BLING!

All three editions of the Apple Watch are also offered in two sizes, depending on which better fits a user’s wrist.

The Apple Watch can be customised even further with six different styles of watch straps. Apple’s unique design has a quick-release mechanism that allows the straps to be quickly interchangeable.

Apple WatchApple’s watch bands are made of elastomer-based sport band, leather loop, leather band, classic leather buckle type, stainless steel and stainless steel mesh with magnetic closure. Some of the bands include hidden magnetic clasps to allow the accessory to be quickly worn or removed.

Not only that, but you can customise the watch faces! Has Apple gone crazy, or what?

The head of the product’s software development, Kevin Lynch, showed off how users can mix and match different functions and displays. Apple showcased a number of watch faces it’s created, including one that shows phases of the moon, another that shows the positions of the planets, or where a user is currently located.

Prices start at $349 and the Apple Watch will be available “early next year.”

Is this what you were waiting for? Will you be buying an Apple Watch?