Apple finally revealed its much-rumoured wearable device, the Apple Watch, with a bigger-than-Ben-Hur press conference yesterday.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook describes the Apple Watch as “the most personal device we’ve ever created”.
There’s no news on when the gadget will be available in Australia but a select few tech journalists have been able to test out Apple’s latest pride and joy.
Hardware and features
The Apple Watch is controlled via a device called a “digital crown” which you can use to scroll, zoom, and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display.
The Apple Watch has a retina display and infrared and visible-light LEDs, along with photo-sensors which can detect your pulse rate.
There’s some serious bling involved in the wearable tech, which is built from custom alloys of stainless steel, aluminium, and 18-karat gold. It has customisable watch faces and bands.
Siri is built in to the Apple Watch and it also allows animated emoji.
What’s the consensus?
The build quality of each model of the Apple Watch is “impeccable”, according to Michael Gorman from Engadget who got his hands on one of the gadgets.
“Whether gold, steel or aluminum, it’s clear that every Watch has been designed and crafted with care — and manufactured to Apple’s usual lofty standards. That said, it’s still a fairly bulky thing to have on your wrist (in both sizes), and no matter how many bands Apple makes for it, we’re not sure that the Watch’s looks will appeal to everyone. It’s not always hip to be a square in the smartwatch game, after all.”
Gizmodo’s view is that the Apple Watch has the smarts but not necessarily the looks.
“On the face of it, the Apple Watch’s industrial design is what, in polite society, you might call plain. It’s big, it’s got distractingly giant beveled edges (not to be confused with bezels), and its proportions make it look like the second cousin to the iPod Nano. Sure, you’ll be able to dress it up with a gold case or a Skagen-inspired band, but there’s no escaping that clunky, balloon-y shape. Compared to the Moto 360, it’s verging on cartoonish.”
Delving into what the Apple Watch delivers in terms of technical performance, Gareth Beavis describes the Apple Watch as “intuitive” for a start in TechRadar.
“The Digital Crown is essentially a scroll wheel that lets you zoom in and out of the interface, so for apps (with a fun new home screen that looks NOTHING like the iPhone’s version, more a spherical look at all the apps available on the watch). Tapping it in sends you back to the home screen, but you can also use the touchscreen on the Watch to to interact with apps.”
For Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan in Gizmodo the real clincher in the Apple Watch is the new way it will communicate with users – kinetically via a tiny layer of electrodes which can tell how hard your fingers are pressing.
“Where a touchscreen can read two dimensions, a kinetic screen can read three. It’s an exponential difference in terms of the vocabulary with which users can talk to their devices. It will make all the difference.”
Should I get one?
The Apple Watch is a combination of fitness band, watch, iPhone and fashion accessory.
It’s hard to define what the Apple Watch really is, which means users may struggle to justify the purchase, particularly because they need to have an iPhone to operate it as well.
With a release date and pricing still up in the air, more details need to be confirmed before we can say whether it’s worth splashing the cash on an Apple Watch.