The keynote focused around three core areas for the Apple Watch: Time, Communication, and Health & Fitness. In regards to time, the smartwatch will be accurate within 50 milliseconds of the UTC, a universal time standard. Also, the smartwatch allows for a vast amount of customizing through its various watch faces. One of the more creative ways Apple showcased was telling time visually via a blossoming flower.
In regards to communication, the Apple Watch includes a taptic engine to notify users of incoming messages which can include alerts from apps, emails, chat messages, and even phone calls. The built in microphone allows for taking phone calls directly on the smartwatch, or sending voice messages. Apple also emphasized the “Digital Touch” feature which allows wearers of the Apple Watch to send messages to other Apple Watch wearers such as drawn images, taps, and even a recording of your heartbeat.
What are “Glances”? This is a new feature for the Apple Watch that we predict will be the most used feature of the Watch. By swiping the home screen up, users will be able to access a specific app or interaction within an app. For veteran smartwatch wearers, we know that the “notification” interaction is by far the most heavily used with these devices.
Apple CEO Tim Cook brought out model and health and fitness Christy Turlington to highlight the smartwatches health features. Turlington used the watch to train for her half marathon:
Turlington stated, that “Apple Watch is motivation, not just for training, but for everyday things.” Apple will be chronicling Turlington’s next training for an upcoming marathon in London. The Watch allows users to pre-set goals and uses a ring design system to alert users of their current progress against those goals. It will also prompt users to ‘Move’ if they have been sitting too long. Every Monday users will receive a report of their previous week’s performance and suggested goals for the coming week. The prescriptive aspect of this interaction is what we find most exciting.
Apple showcased a variety of apps for users, including: staying up to date on teams via ESPN, news via CNN, requesting an Uber directly from the watch, Using the Alarm.com app to open a garage door remotely, liking images on Instagram, getting American Airlines boarding passes directly on the watch so no more need to pull out your phone in security lines, checking in and opening doors at W Hotels, and using Shazam to identify Foo Fighters’ songs. The Apple Watch will include its own app where you can manage the apps on the Watch directly, learn about the device, and add contacts. The app is available today in the iOS 8.2 update.
As already known, the Watch will come in 3 categories, each containing two sizes 38mm and 42 mm. Prices will be as followed:
- Apple Watch Sport: starts at $349 for 38mm case, and goes to $399 for the larger model. The Watch Sport is made out of an aluminum alloy that is 60% stronger than traditional aluminum, but just as light.
- Apple Watch Collection: Base price will be $549, and will go as high as $1,099, dependent on the bands selected. This version of the smartwatch is in stainless steel, which is also available in a space black color.
- Apple Watch Edition: The most exclusive of the Apple Watch will be its Edition version, which has an astounding base price of $10,000, comes in 18 karat gold, and will be available in limited quantities through select retailers.
Pre-ordering for the Apple Watch will begin on April 10, 2015. This will also mark a preview experience in Apple stores where you can experience the Watch in person. The watch will first be available in 9 countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. More countries are expected to be rolled out soon. The Watch will begin shipping on 4.25.15.