Apple announces its first wearable device, the Smart Watch

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014

Apple’s entry into the wearable device space has been much anticipated and it didn’t disappoint. Chief executive officer Tim Cook described the company’s Apple Watch as the most personal device it has ever created.

There is a lot of technology packed into the Apple Watch — it has a built-in speaker, heart beat sensor, accelerometer and "vibration engine", as well as WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity to connect to an iPhone.

Apple says it’s compatible with the iPhone 5 and onwards, so users don’t have to get the iPhone 6 to use the Watch.

It has 11 different watch faces, including analogue ones but the coolest has to be the interactive Astronomy face which will allow users to view 3D models of the Earth, Moon and solar system.

Each watch face will also allow you to include additional information such as upcoming calendar events, moon phases or your activity level.

Apple introduced a special new way to control the Watch with what it calls the Digital Crown. Although it looks like a regular crown, users will be able to zoom (say, for photos) and scroll (for text) by twirling it.

Pressing it will bring up the homescreen which will display all your installed apps — just like with the phone, you can swipe on the screen to bring up different sets of apps.

Apple claims the display has Force Touch which will be able to tell apart taps and presses for activating different functions.

A button just below the Digital Crown brings up your favourite contacts, allowing you to text, call or interact with them using the new Digital Touch method.

This method allows you to instantly send a sketch or audio message to another Watch. Apparently, as it can also detect your heart beat, that too can be sent to another Watch.

In order to succeed, the Watch needs a rich and vibrant app ecosystem — Apple says the Watch will be opened up to third-party developers to come up with new apps .

One of the coolest demonstrations had to be the Maps app. It uses a haptic engine to guide you, vibrating in the direction you need to turn to reach your destination.

As most wearables help track your health and fitness, it comes as no surprise that the Watch has an Activity app which will give you a comprehensive break down of your daily activities.

The Workout app certainly looks interesting and is something that we would definitely use as it works like a personal trainer to monitor your performance and sets goals to achieve.

It will come in three versions (Apple Watch, Watch Sports or Watch Edition) and in two sizes (38mm and 42mm).

The screen is made from sapphire crystal and the durable enclosure is crafted from custom alloys of stainless steel and aluminium, and each Watch will come in two finishes. The Watch Edition, on the other hand, will be available in 18-karat rose or yellow gold.

Apple also introduced a range of straps so users can customise the watch to match their look.

Expect the Watch to be available sometime in early 2015 with prices starting at US$349 (RM1,100).

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