We have one more thing. That is the phrase with which Tim Cook began to unveil a product that we have been talking about or reading about for about a year and a half.
Those rumors had grown in the last few months when smartwatch seemed to be the trend of the year. Well: we already have with us the smart watch Apple: the Apple Watch.
The introductory video began to clarify the doubts: it is an LED sports watch with a square format, but with circular elements in its user interface. The design of the device has clearly been one of the highlights of a watch that according to Cook ” is the next chapter in the history of Apple.”
Apple Watch is clearly a product in which design has played a key role. Apple explained how, for example, more than 60 different types of belts were designed, each of which is connected to various types of adjustment mechanisms.
The Apple Watch arrives in two sizes (38 and 42 mm side), which seem clearly aimed at covering both the male audience and a female audience who surely appreciate the larger version. Apple will release three editions of the Apple Watch: the normal, the “Sports” edition, with aluminum housing, and the so-called Apple Watch Edition, which will be made with an 18-carat gold case.
One of the distinctive elements of this device is the use of the sapphire on the screen, something that will allow to protect it in a remarkable way against scratches and bumps and that even allows to have a touch support that goes beyond the one we have on iPhone, As we shall see below.
The touch interface is not enough: the crown as a differentiating element
Cook was the protagonist of the presentation of Apple Watch, a device that tried to differentiate the methods of interaction of the past: the mouse in the case of the PC, the touch interface in the case of the phone. That was not valid for this new development.
In the Apple Watch the control is based largely on the crown of the side, which is precisely of a somewhat more remarkable size to allow that interaction. The gestures of rotation of the crown allow access to different applications and functions, but that yes, the screen is tactile and does allow to respond to certain gestures on the screen, and in fact not only recognizes that there is contact, but the force Of that contact through the ‘Force Touch‘feature.
In fact, as Cook explained, iWatch’s small screens did not make it possible to move the iPhone experience: ” What we have not done is take the iPhone and squeeze the user interface and then attach it to your wrist .” That crown serves therefore to zoom in a map-for example-that we could not do with the clip gesture, or to scroll on a certain list.
Sensors, induction loading and the mysterious specifications
In the back part we find several sensors that take data from our wrist, such as our pulse, besides counting accelerometer and gyroscope, which among other things allow us to monitor our physical activity … or at least part of it. That backside is at the same time a MagSafe connector with induction charge, which recharges the battery, but which is not really a wireless charging system itself.
In fact, in the introductory video recorded by Jony Ive we explained how inside these devices we can find two very special chips, the so-called Taptic Engine and the Apple S1 processor, specially designed to meet the needs of this device.
At Apple have not wanted to give many specific details about the specifications of their Apple Watch, and in fact we have not known data on one of the key aspects of the device: its battery. That is one of the keys to a development that will compete in the same category as solutions based on Android Wear or Tizen – with a forced mention of Pebble-and we will have to wait to know those details and to test the clock to verify how Apple behaves In this section.
It also seems clear that Apple Watch will depend on the iPhone to which we associate it importantly, and for example will use your WiFi or 3G/4G connection to access data, as well as the GPS receiver to access the functions of geolocation. The clock does not have a SIM slot, but it does have Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi support 802.11b/go, so at the moment we do not have any additional data.
One of the key sections of Apple Watch is the software that manages it. The apparent edition derived from iOS is controlled with tactile gestures and with the aforementioned lateral crown, and in the main interface offers us a curious “universe of applications” by which we can move with the finger. Circular icons for applications increase or decrease slightly in size when in the center of the screen or leave that point, from which we can launch them easily.
That initial desktop in which we would usually show the time is configurable, and curiously this Apple Watchadopts something that until now had not adopted: the widgets. Although it has not wanted to call it that, each of the elements that we can put on the screen behaves independently, and the idea is to combine several of them to have that initial screen on the phone that is most useful.
The software also allows access to a specific version of Siri by the continued pressing of the lateral crown, from which we will be shown the search results of our question. The built-in microphone allows voice recognition to be activated and an animation shows how the question is recognized as we formulate it.
The management of notifications is one of the important sections of this device, and for example can lift the wrist when we want to see them if we get some, then slide your finger, for example accept an invitation to an event calendar.
That answer can be combined with the automatic response that Apple offers when receiving messages: we are offered some predefined answers (in English for now, we fear), which we can select with the crown, or we can choose quick emoticons. And of course, we will be able to dictate a quick message to answer those notifications of messages that come to us in walkie-talkie mode. There is no keyboard present on this smart watch, something thatcertainly makes sense in a device of these dimensions.
At Apple showed applications such as photos or maps. In the latter we can rotate the map with the finger on the screen and zoom through the crown, but also get instructions to reach the destination, with different vibrations in our wrist as we have to turn left or right.
Another novelty in the clock was the presentation of a communication application based on the tactile response: selecting a contact and sending a message through the clock seems possible through mostly pictograms of different colors, although it did not seem clear if that Capacity can replace the messaging services that succeed in smartphones.
Developers will have access to the features of this device and its software through WatchKit, a new set of tools that will try to convince this community to take advantage of the potential of Apple Watch. They showed examples such as Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest applications, and also small tools like the one that shows the results of the professional baseball league.
Another of the specific capabilities of this device is to be able to make mobile payments directly through the clock, although it is not clear how taking into account that in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the Touch ID sensor is needed. Apple Watch itself is likely to have NFC and be able to manage the transaction if we have the iPhone very close.
Price and availability
Apple Watch needs to work together with an iPhone, and in fact does not seem to make sense without these devices.It will be compatible with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but also with the iPhone 5, 5S and 5C. The starting price of the Apple Watch is $ 349 for the basic version, and these devices will be available “in early 2015”.