It’s exciting times for wearable computing. With Apple finally launching its “most personal device yet,” the much awaited wearable will be available for sale in nine countries in a little over seven weeks from now.
The Watch is Apple’s first new product category launch since unveiling the Cupertino-based giant unveiled the iPad in 2010.
Now a smart watch is not new, with the first wearable computer making its debut as far back as 1998. That year, Steve Mann invented, designed, and built the world’s first Linux wristwatch, which he presented at IEEE ISSCC2000, 2000 February 7, where he was named “the father of wearable computing”.
Apple, of course, has a history of taking existing product categories and transforming them, be it smartphones (the iPhone), desktop computers and laptops (the Mac and the MacBook), tablets (the iPad) or music players (the iPod).
With the new Apple Watch, the firm will be hoping to now transform wearable computing. Analysts and experts will no doubt be dissecting each and every feature of the new Watch to arrive at their opinion on its potential.
Here’s our own first impressions on why you should spend Dh1,282 (at least) or Dh62,500 (at max) for the new wearable from Apple.
#1 It will be the key to your home and car
Apple Watch will unlock doors for you – literally. The wearable can function as your car key as well as the key to your hotel room in a select number of chains, including Starwood Hotels.
The hotel’s app not only lets its ‘preferred guests’ access their reservation information on the go, but it also lets them turn their Apple Watch into a room key so they can open their door with a tap of the Watch.
Starwood has a number of hotel brands in its portfolio, including Sheraton, Westin, W and Aloft brands.
#2 It will help you settle your bills
As Emirates 24|7 revealed even before the launch of the Apple Watch, paying for your McDonald’s meal right here in the UAE will soon be a breeze with the Apple Watch (and other NFC-enabled smart watches and smartphones).
#3 It will make you fitter (at least try to)
Apple says its Watch encourages you to sit less, move more and get some exercise every day. The Activity app provides a simple visual snapshot of your daily activity with three rings that measure active calories burned, brisk activity and how often you’ve stood up to take a break from sitting during the day.
Apple Watch provides the detailed metrics you need during dedicated workout sessions for the most popular activities, such as walking, running and cycling through the Workout app.
With an accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone, the Activity app on iPhone collects your activity and workout data from the watch so you can see your history in greater detail.
The wearable then uses this history to suggest personalised activity goals, reward fitness milestones and keep you motivated.
#4 It will help you skip queues – and stay on track
Breeze through airport security on your next trip home or vacation. The Passbook feature on Apple Watch can be used to scan details at immigration and even for boarding a plane with a Passbook boarding pass.
Alternatively, raise your wrist to ask Siri for turn-by-turn directions in Maps if you, like me, are often a little lost for directions. The watch also enables you to send messages, read email and answer calls to your iPhone right from your wrist.
#5 Information on a Tap
The watch’s Taptic Engine alerts you with a gentle tap so you won’t miss important notifications. With Digital Touch, Apple Watch allows you to communicate in all-new ways by sending a sketch, a tap or even the rhythm of your own heartbeat.
Thanks to Passbook on the Apple Watch, you can quickly pull up your plane tickets, boarding passes and loyalty cards without having to reach for your phone. When you enter a place where your discount or loyalty cards can be used, the app will also an alert.
Other notable features
Apple claims its watch is an incredibly accurate timepiece, an intimate and immediate communication device and a groundbreaking health and fitness companion.
“Apple Watch begins a new chapter in the way we relate to technology and we think our customers are going to love it,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait for people to start wearing Apple Watch to easily access information that matters, to interact with the world, and to live a better day by being more aware of their daily activity than ever before.”
“Conceived, designed and developed as a singular product, Apple Watch merges hardware and software like never before,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “In Apple Watch, we’ve created three beautifully curated collections with a software architecture that together enable unparalleled personalisation in a wearable device.”
Accurate & Customisable Timepiece. Apple Watch keeps time to within 50 milliseconds of UTC, the universal time standard. The watch can be personalised with watch faces ranging from traditional analogue such as the Chronograph face, to the information-rich Modular face, or beautifully animated butterflies and jellyfish on the Motion face.
The Apple wearable goes beyond telling time with specialised functions on the watch face, such as the sunrise/sunset, upcoming calendar events or daily activity level, etc.
With multiple customisable watch faces and complications, Apple says the watch enables "millions of possible configurations."
The feature known as Glances helps quickly show information such as the weather forecast, current location on a map or the music you’re listening to with just a swipe up from the watch face.
Apple Watch requires iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 8.2. or later. iOS 8.2 is now available for download.