Yesterday during Apple’s launch event at the Flint Center, the company unveiled their newest innovation, the Apple Watch. Although the watch is indeed a smart watch, it falls outside of the rumored iWatch branding. Some may think that Apple is rather late to the party when it comes to the subject of wearable devices, but now that they are here they intend to make a splash. With a flick of the wrist, the Apple Watch is activated and ready to provide for you using a number of input methods. For instance, one of the features of Apple’s new watch is its control system. Rather than tapping the screen to select apps or options, the watch has a small knob on the side that Apple calls the ‘Digital Crown’. The crown reads movement using sensors built into the device, allowing users to scroll, zoom, and select items without covering the content. Even then, the watch is still equipped with a touch screen that can distinguish between light taps and harder presses. There’s also a linear actuator built into this screen to allow for haptic feedback.
What wearable would be complete without some sort of biometrics systems to monitor your physical activities? Your heart rate can be measured using a number of sensors, including some infrared LEDs and photodiodes. These sensors are coupled with an accelerometer as well as the GPS and Wifi capabilities of the device to further monitor your exercise routines. You don’t want to take this baby swimming, though. Although the watch is water resistant, and will stand up to light rain, snow, splashing, and the like, the mic and speakers are wide open, allowing for water to get in if immersed.
The software already developed for the device mostly mirrors other Apple apps. You can play music, customize the look of your watch with what Apple bills as Watchfaces, go on Twitter, etcetera, etcetera. There are three new apps developed for the device by Apple, though. Two of them work in tandem, and are known as Fitness and Workout, respectively. The apps will work in conjunction with the sensors to report on your activities. The other new app is known as Digital Touch. Details are slim at the moment, but the app allows you to communicate with other users using taps, drawing, or your heartbeat.
Not everything is gravy, though. If you want to use the watch, you’re going to have to wait until early 2015 to get your hands on it. If you weren’t a fan of Apple before and wanted to buy in on the new Apple Watch, you’re going to have to purchase an iPhone as well. The watch does require the iPhone 5 or 6 to work, so if you’ve been an Android supporter or you just want a snazzy new watch you may have to pony up some more cash or look elsewhere. With the Apple Watch debuting with an MSRP of $349, which is over 100 dollars more than the competition on its own I might add, the total cost of ownership may be a tough pill to swallow in the end.