Well, it’s finally time. The Apple Watch (the watch formerly known as the iWatch) has now been fully detailed at an Apple event today and if you weren’t watching the live feed religiously (you’re clearly not a real Apple fan and shame on you) I figured I’d give you a rundown of everything you’d need to know: from the price, to the release date, customization options, and other points worth noting about the upcoming wrist companion to your beloved iPhone.
Before we begin, we need to address the name. It’s not called the iWatch, it’s just the Apple Watch and there isn’t one –there’s three.
Three Apple Watch Collections
Each “collection” all runs the same software, and comes in either 38mm or 42mm sizes, but the materials and available bands are different within each collection.
Apple Watch Sport Collection
The watches in the least expensive of the three collections, the Watch Sport collection, all have an aluminum casing with Ion-X glass on the face and colorful fluoroelastomer bands (fluoroelastomer, it turns out, is a fancy word for rubber –think iPhone 5C). There are five bright colors for the bands, one in each of the two sizes available making for 10 watches overall in this collection.
The price for the watches in this collection start at $349 for the smaller 38mm size and $399 for the larger 42mm size.
Apple Watch Collection
The next collection is simply called the Apple Watch collection and it upgrades the watch casing material from aluminum to stainless steel, the front glass from the Ion-X material to a sapphire crystal, and comes with a bunch of different metal, leather, and even some of the rubber bands from the Sport collection.
Pricing for watches in this collection start at $549 and go up to a little over $1,000 (yeah, not a typo).
Apple Watch Edition Collection
So this is where things get a bit out of hand. If the $1,000 price tag from the Watch collection didn’t phase you, then maybe you belong in the demographic for the next collection. The Watch Edition collection upgrades the casing to 18K gold (in yellow or rose gold) with the same sapphire crystal from the Watch collection and adds “exquisitely crafted bands and closures” (whatever that means). The really scary part? This edition’s models start at $10,000 (yeah… still not a typo).
Apple Watch Hardware
Before we delve into the UI on the watch, we need to discuss the crown which is the name for the dial on the side of a watch that you normally would use to change the time on a traditional (see: now obsolete) watch.
Digital Crown & Physical Buttons
Apple has kept the crown on their Apple Watch instead of opting to remove it like most smart watch manufacturers. This “digital crown”, as they call it, can be used to navigate menus and selections, and zoom in within the UI –their solution to making it easier to interact with such a tiny screen. (Think the iPod scroll wheel.) You can also use the wheel like a home button to return to the main screen by pushing it in.
Below that is another button that is used to access a menu of your friends – that we’ll talk about later – and is also used to access your Apple Pay cards by double tapping it.
Apple calls it “taptic” feedback. We call it a slightly more discreet vibrate function for notifications (it’s more discreet in that it supposedly only let’s you know you received a notification instead of, you know, the way your phone normally vibrates and scares anyone sitting at the table it’s resting on).
Essentially, the screen of the watch can determine how much pressure you used to tap the screen. A light tap will allow you to scroll and select things like normal, whereas a more aggressive tap will open contextual menus (think long-press in Android or right-clicking on a computer).
Apple Watch UI
As you can imagine, Apple expects you to use Siri and your voice to do a decent amount of interaction with the watch. The difference between Siri on the watch and on your iPhone is the way it’s activated. While you can hold down on the digital crown to get Siri to come up, you can also lift your arm up and say “Hey, Siri” to wake her up.
Apps and “Glances”
Apple has also created smaller versions of the apps you are used to using on your iPhone that is more conducive to the tiny display (Messages, Mail, Weather, Calendar, Maps, Passbook, Music, Photos, etc. are all preinstalled). These new versions bring more relevant information to the screen without having to dive into the app. Because of this more widget-like interaction, Apple is calling the apps on the watch “Glances” instead of just apps. As with apps, however, third-party developers can create their own Glance apps to work on the watch in conjunction with their phone apps.
Tapping the button below the digital crown will open the Friends Interface that you can use to quickly choose a friend (using the digital crown to navigate and tapping with your finger to select them). After you’ve selected a friend, it’ll then bring up buttons for the different ways to interact with them: call, text, etc.
Apple wanted to add an extra unique way to interact with friends on the watch, so they developed what they call “Digital Touch”.
When accessing the aforementioned Friends Interface and tapping on a friend, you’ll see a little finger under their image if they also have an Apple Watch. Tapping that, then brings up a blank black screen that you can draw on with your finger to send your friends custom doodles that they will get on their own Apple Watch (Apple Watch Besties!)
Health & Fitness
The watch does track your heart rate and movement – like most smart watches on the market – but it displays it in a small set of three rings unique to the Apple Watch. One ring for your movement, one for exercise, and one for resting. We all have yet to see if this is a better way of displaying this info, but it sure is pretty.
The watch syncs these things with its iPhone companion app and supposedly also nudges you to remind you to move more often (something that will, in no way, become annoying, I’m sure).
Pricing and Availability
The Apple Watch Sport will be available on April 24th and, again, will cost $349 for the smaller 38mm size and $399 for the larger 42mm size.
The Apple Watch will also be available on April 24th, but, again, will start at $549 and can cost you as much as $1,049 (yeah, not a typo) based on the model you choose within the collection.
Finally, the Apple Watch Edition will be available starting at $10,000 as mentioned, but for that hefty fee you’ll get your watch on April 10th and get to rub it’s solid gold superiority in everyone else’s face for a solid two weeks before they get their, puny non-precious metal ones. Boom. Worth it.
There you go, hope that quickly covers some of the main points of the Apple Watch, now set your countdown clock and try and pretend like you’re not going to buy one.
Anyone going for the Edition version? What about the others? The fact that the middle one costs almost as much as an iPhone slightly concerning anyone else or is it just me?