Good news. Apple decided to go simple and introduce two products that are not iAnything. Not iPay, but Apple Pay. Not iWatch, but Apple Watch. When Apple buys Tesla they can change the name to Apple Car. After a long wait, Apple seems poised to disrupt and redefine the nascent smartwatch industry even before it gets off the ground.
Sizes, Styles, and Sizzle, Oh My!
To the surprise of almost no one on the planet, Apple introduced Apple Watch, the company’s first true wearable device (Apple t-shirts and the iPod shuffle don’t count).
The smartwatch industry is just getting started and most of the products to date have been panned by critics as a solution looking for a problem to solve.
Apple’s approach with the Watch sits in stark contrast to the original iPhone models, which fully disrupted what was thought to be a mature smartphone industry.
Remember, the original iPhones came in 4GB and 8GB versions, for $499 and $599 respectively, and those were not even 3G models.
Apple Watch is different. First, it comes in two sizes, each with a rectangular case, curved sapphire screen, and each with three models, each in two colors, each with multiple band options– Watch, Watch Sport model, and Watch Edition. The base model starts at $349. The Edition model is gold plated so will cost more (not priced yet).
Apple Watch features a tactile-like sapphire screen thanks to a force-sensitive haptic-like Taptic engine inside. Like iPhone and iPad, touch the screen and things happen, including maps, directions, contacts, calendar, but it’s not merely an iPhone shrunk down to fit on your wrist.
The Digital Crown button makes it easy to navigate and scroll through applications. Apple Watch uses multiple digital technologies to keep time as accurately as possible– within 50 milliseconds of the global time standard.
As expected, you’ll get plenty of alerts and notifications but the iPhone nearby is a requirement. Apple Watch is an add-on device, that combines a stylish, highly customizable look (multiple faces and bands), with more functionality than found in other so-called smartwatches.
You can be alerted with a gentle tap. Sensors on the back of the case monitor various health aspects which can be displayed on the Retina display, and a single swipe moves screens back and forth. Apple Watch uses GPS and Wi-Fi on your iPhone so you can measure distance and activities.
The CPU that powers it all is really made up of multiple subsystems integrated into a single, and very small, module. Speaking of power, Apple Watch gets charged using Apple’s famed MagSafe inductive charging technology– it’s a small round charger that snaps onto the back of the Watch.
What We Don’t Know
At first glance, Apple Watch appears to be leaps ahead of Samsung Gear and Motorola’s Moto 360 as well as all other so-called smartwatches. At a starting price of $349, Apple again takes the premium end of the market segment.
That means the Edition model and the larger, 42mm Watch, will likely cost more. What about battery life? Apple says Watch will last ‘all day’ but that amount isn’t defined. How long will a recharge take? When will Apple Watch be available?
So many questions, so little time.
The problem with Samsung Gear and Moto 360 and others of the first generation smartwatches is that they all look the same. Cleverly, Apple Watch has multiple case models, and a case design that is made for third party manufacturers to create many different watch bands, and I would not be surprised to see some with built-in batteries in the band (I have an imagination).
One thing is absolutely certain. Future smartwatches from China, Samsung, et al, are likely to look and function much like Apple Watch, so, yes, Apple is about to disrupt yet another industry.