Apple Watch finally unveiled as tonight’s ‘One more thing…’

Apple Watch finally unveiled as tonight’s ‘One more thing…’“We've been working hard for a long time on an entirely new product. We believe this product will redefine what people expect from its category. The next chapter in Apple's story.”

It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper “one more thing” from Apple, but the Californians didn’t disappoint tonight.

After more than 18 months of rumours, Team Cook lifted the lid on - simply - the Watch, the company’s first wearable, and it’s clear that they spent a lot of time getting this thing right. In Apple’s words, it’s “more than a shrunken down iPhone”.

Starting with the Watch design, well, there was a lot to take in, but it’ll be offered in two sizes and three styles, namely Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition, with a whole range of straps and materials. Check it:

Apple Watch finally unveiled as tonight’s ‘One more thing…’

The Apple Watch display is of the flexible Retina variety, and it’s “laminated to a single crystal of sapphire, the hardest transparent material after diamond.”

The big talking point on the Apple Watch, however, is easily the Digital Crown, which looks like your typical watch dial for setting the time, but in fact serves to aid navigation. That means you can scroll around and zoom without obscuring the relatively small display.

The Apple Watch also offers haptic – or “taptic” – feedback, and recognises the difference between a gentle tap and a full-on press (Force Touch).

Powering the Apple Watch show is the all-new Apple S1, which claims to miniaturise an entire system onto a single chip.

However, the Apple Watch is not a standalone device, and requires an iPhone 5 or above (iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus) to operate.

“What can you actually do with it?” is an entirely valid question, and the answer includes handling actionable notifications (Accept or Decline calendar invites, for example), following directions from Apple Maps, and viewing photos.

There's also a feature called Glances, wherein you can swipe up from the bottom to see info on meetings, weather, stocks, world time and the music player.

Sharing stuff with friends is also a big part of the Apple Watch thang. From your contact list, you can make a call, send a message, share a doodle, give your friend a virtual tap on the wrist, or – bizarrely – share information like your heartbeat in real time.

And of course a smartwatch wouldn’t be a smartwatch without lots of health-related features. Apple reckons the Watch could genuinely improve people’s lives by allowing them to easily monitor their fitness, including heart rate, calories burned and – via Wi-Fi and GPS – distance travelled.

The Stand, Exercise, Move feature records how often you’ve stood (sitting for prolonged periods being a bad idea); measures brisk activity; and provides an overview of your overall activeness.

And you can always hop onto the big screen of the iPhone to view all your health stats in more detail, using the appropriately named Health app.

In terms of developer support, a host of big names are already jumping enthusiastically on the Apple Watch train, including Nike, Facebook, BMW, Pinterest, MLB and Honeywell, while WatchKit invites devs to make Watch-friendly apps and notifications.

The Apple Watch release date was vaguely announced as 2015, when it’ll sell from $349. Crucially, that means Apple will miss out on the Christmas period, though consumers will have their hands full with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and (probably) two new iPads, anyway.

In the meantime, it’ll be interesting to see how the Android Wear crew responds: Apple just raised the wearable bar.

As always, you can check out loads more on wearables, including the Apple Watch, over on sister site Wareable.

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14 comments

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 9, 2014 at 21:56

I said it in your other article on today's event:
I haven't worn a watch in 30 years. I won't buy this or any other watch. Ever.
And I have little use for the things this Apple Watch does. BUT: fair is fair - it IS a stunning device. The UI and hardware combo is very clever, stylish and yes, innovative. This is NOT an iPod nano with straps. It's not like anything else. They took an old thing and turned it into something special. Value to me? Zero. But hey...

lcurdie / MOD  Sep. 9, 2014 at 22:09

Indeed. For my money, it really puts the Android Wear stuff to shame. Everything they've done to date seems almost like an attempt to preempt the (i)Watch. Regardless of how you feel about Apple, they just put on a freakin' clinic in how to do a smartwatch launch. And hell, it's not even out till next year!

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 9, 2014 at 22:16

Indeed. For my money, it really puts the Android Wear stuff to shame. Everything they've done to date seems almost like an attempt to preempt the (i)Watch. Regardless of how you feel about Apple, they just put on a freakin' clinic in how to do a smartwatch launch. And hell, it's not even out till next year!

Agree. I was actually, weirdly astonished when they spent significant time on, well, how exact that thing is gonna tell the time. Most writers bigging up this or that smartwatch never even mention if and how the thing tells the time...
Of course, battery life will be a big deal... and only, pun, time will tell.

satchef1  Sep. 9, 2014 at 22:29

I was massively underwhelmed. Maybe I missed something? Or maybe I'm just struggling to get over the fact that it's another rectangular smartwatch? I don't get it - why does a smartwatch have to be ugly (Moto 360 excluded)?

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 9, 2014 at 22:38

I was massively underwhelmed. Maybe I missed something? Or maybe I'm just struggling to get over the fact that it's another rectangular smartwatch? I don't get it - why does a smartwatch have to be ugly (Moto 360 excluded)?

I have seen unedited unpolished pics of the 360... it's not that pretty actually.
But yes: I agree, I do not find Apple's Watch attractive as in 'attractive'. But the crown control, the sensors on the back, the UI control etc etc all very neat. But I do question battery life. And I still wonder if they will sell iPhone-like quantities. But then: I never tweeted about how far I jogged... Or shared images of my lunch.

tapi  Sep. 9, 2014 at 22:55

haven't viewed the launch, but does anyone know if the orientation can be changed on this thing? if not, then that crown is a little useless. on a normal watch you generally wind it whilst not worn so not an issue, but it looks like it's positioned top right which would make it very difficult to use, and covering the screen you're trying to navigate.

that, and like jan i haven't worn a watch for years, oh and it's tied to one type of phone, means i'm even less interested than i was.

btw, i was really hoping that this smartwatch fad would see the re-emergence of the pocket watch (or those things nurses wear)

tapi  Sep. 9, 2014 at 23:09

and another thing; unless they're just bad renders (well, they are that anyway) it looks as if they're non standard strap fittings. so, no chance of popping into your local jeweller and easily buying a replacement / different strap then.

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 10, 2014 at 07:57

Ah, yes - a good old pocket watch to hang dangle from my
Dr Dre Gold® Chain! Beats me...

You have a point about the crown's position.
And anyhoo - just coz this is definitely the 'nicest' wearable yet...
I don't see this or any other one repeating the crazy sales of smartphones.

kamawell  Sep. 10, 2014 at 09:14

If, yesterday morning, a manufacturer had announced an Android smartwatch with a clickwheel they'd have had the **** ripped out of them (especially if they'd tried to call it a "digital crown.")

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 10, 2014 at 09:48

If, yesterday morning, a manufacturer had announced an Android smartwatch with a clickwheel they'd have had the **** ripped out of them (especially if they'd tried to call it a "digital crown.") Nonsense. Have you read any smartwatch/-gear reviews and articles? It's all full of bullsh*t lingo, because, lets face it: NOBODY NEEDS a smartwatch.

kamawell  Sep. 10, 2014 at 12:00

It's all full of bullsh*t lingo, because, lets face it: NOBODY NEEDS a smartwatch.
No argument there - they're all as bad as each other in that department. It's just the slack that Apple gets cut wears a bit thin. It's as chunky as any of the other ugly Android efforts and they've stuck a bl**dy winder on the side.

I don't tend to buy Apple stuff but I'm very grateful for what they do to the market. I wouldn't have my M8 or Nexus 7 if it hadn't been for the original iPhone or iPad. The Apple Watch isn't a big leap over what already exists and I don't think it lives up to what people have (unrealistically) come to expect from Apple - just look at the (again, unrealistic) renders that were floating around before the release. And none of that's a problem of course - it's just irritating seeing some of my favourite newspapers and websites acting like Apple have "done it again."

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 10, 2014 at 12:37

It's all full of bullsh*t lingo, because, lets face it: NOBODY NEEDS a smartwatch.
No argument there - they're all as bad as each other in that department. It's just the slack that Apple gets cut wears a bit thin. It's as chunky as any of the other ugly Android efforts and they've stuck a bl**dy winder on the side.

I don't tend to buy Apple stuff but I'm very grateful for what they do to the market. I wouldn't have my M8 or Nexus 7 if it hadn't been for the original iPhone or iPad. The Apple Watch isn't a big leap over what already exists and I don't think it lives up to what people have (unrealistically) come to expect from Apple - just look at the (again, unrealistic) renders that were floating around before the release. And none of that's a problem of course - it's just irritating seeing some of my favourite newspapers and websites acting like Apple have "done it again."


I don't tend to buy Apple stuff but I'm very grateful for what they do to the market. I wouldn't have my M8 or Nexus 7 if it hadn't been for the original iPhone or iPad.

Very true. I used touchscreen phones for years before the iPhone and Android etc...
No comparison. We all profited big time from the 'evil hype machine' that is Apple.
Just Google "Android phone prototype" to see what would have been ;) :D

tapi  Sep. 12, 2014 at 21:27

one for you and me, Jan
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/watches.png

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 12, 2014 at 21:38

Hahahaha Nice. I've been watch-free since '85 tataaaaaaaaaa

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