Well, after years of rumors, they finally did it. Apple rolled out a smart watch today. Here’s what you need to know about the new Apple Watch.
Made of stainless steel and sapphire glass, it’s… well, it’s a smart watch. Apple’s billing it as “an intimate way to connect and communicate,” which is short-hand for “It’s got apps, OK?” It’s not, however, a “true” touch device; you primarily use the crown on the side to interact with apps, and press the crown to return home.
Interestingly, the screen appears to be graphics heavy; this isn’t going to be an epaper display on your wrist. It also appears to try and predict what you’ll want to use as a reply to texts, which is curious. It also has animated emoji, which is terrible, and of course it’s integrated with Siri, because Apple has spent twenty years and millions on speech recognition and goddammit, they have to at least try to get you to use it!
Also, it’ll vibrate in the direction you need to go when you’re walking somewhere, which is actually a useful feature. Unfortunately, you can also use it to annoy a friend; tap in the middle of the screen with his contact info up, and his Apple Watch will vibrate, sending a picture you draw. You can also beam your heartbeat to another Apple Watch user, which is… actually pretty disturbing. Speaking of annoying, Apple has something called WatchKit to make notifications more detailed, which we’re sure Facebook won’t abuse at all.
Needless to say, it’ll interact with your other Apple stuff; it can control your Apple TV, or trigger various functions on your iPhone.
There are multiple colors and bands available, for the fashion conscious. The bands are easy to swap out, which is a nice touch. The bands come in the standard watch types: Sports, leather, stainless steel, what you’d expect from a watch. The watch itself comes in Apple Watch, an edition with a stronger case called “Apple Watch Sport,” and a gold-plated version because of course. And, of course, you’ve got a choice of multiple watch faces. And as the crowning touch, it uses wireless charging.
Some of this does address problems the smartwatch sector has largely been unable to solve. Still, it’s hard to see this being more than a niche product, even with Apple’s cache in the market and even with some good ideas. That you still need an iPhone to use it puts it firmly in the “toy for rich people” camp most smartwatches struggle to escape. But we’ll find out soon enough: It’ll be arriving early next year, starting at $350.