It’s not called the iWatch, as everyone had expected it would be, but it’s an Apple watch all the same. In fact, it’s called the Apple Watch and the tech giant is billing it as its most personal device ever -- chock full of “revolutionary” technologies with a “pioneering” user interface featuring a “Digital Crown” that lets you scroll, zoom and navigate.
But what does this device look like beyond all the buzzwords? Well, the Digital Crown is certainly a smart watch innovation. Apple considers the Digital Crown its most revolutionary navigation tool since the iPod Click Wheel and iPhone Multi-Touch. That’s saying quite a lot. But let’s hear what Apple CEO Tim Cook said about it before we dive deeper.
“Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad,” said Cook. “And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.”
Personal, how personal? Apple Watch lets you communicate from your wrist by sending and receiving messages, answering calls to your iPhone, and even sending your own heartbeat through Digital Touch. Apple is also tapping into the fitness trend with health and fitness apps for the watch, which comes in three flavors: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.
“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design. “We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalization.”
With its iOS-based user interface customized for a smaller device, and the Digital Crown for scrolling, zooming and navigating without interfering with the display, Apple is offering a unique smart watch experience. Add to that the Retina display with Force Touch, a tech that senses the difference between a tap and a press so you can access controls within apps, and this may be the easiest to use smart watch on the market.
But the innovation doesn’t end there. Apple Watch also offers what the company is calling a Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that make possible a new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. And Apple custom designed its own System in Package that essentially miniaturizes an entire computer architecture onto a single chip. The smart watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair with your iPhone.
Of course, it’s also a watch. Apple Watch will be available in early 2015 starting at $349 and is compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, running the latest version of iOS 8.
Paving the Road
Apple also announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, featuring two models with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Retina HD displays. Both models include the Apple-designed A8 chip with second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, advanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, wireless technologies, and Apple Pay. Cook called the new devices “the biggest advances in iPhone history.”
Apple Pay, which is the company’s version of a mobile wallet, supports credit and debit cards from the three major payment networks, American Express, MasterCard and Visa, representing 83 percent of credit card purchase volume in the U.S.
Apple also announced iOS 8, which is calls the biggest release since the launch of the App Store. One of the biggest improvements is predictive typing enhancements for Apple’s QuickType keyboard. Just for kicks, Apple and U2 also released “Songs of Innocence” exclusively for iTunes Store customers.
We turned to Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, for some quick thoughts on the launch. He told us this was a typical Apple iPhone announcement with a few interesting twists.
“I don’t see more users than normal lining up to buy this device in the first wave,” Kagan said. “However Apple has always grown, year after year, and I expect that to continue.”
Kagan is betting the new iPhones will be very successful over the first year, just as all other iPhones have been. Apple doesn’t seem to ever disappoint in sales.
“Apple has started paving the road for growth in the next few years with their Apple Pay and Apple Watch. Before cars can drive you have to pave a road,” Kagan said. “Apple is paving the road right now.”
Posted: 2014-09-14 @ 4:03am PT
Paving the road for what? Just a little knowledge... Google wallet has been out for a while... It's more like Apple is catching up. The only real benefit of the new products is the 5 is going to be free. The 5 is a perfect phone for almost all iPhone users. This launch isn't going to steal any Android users and any new users will not want these phones over the similar Android phones. The old mantra of "it just works" used to work when mobile computing was limited, but doesn't matter when 99% of the apps work fine on both devices and both lines are as powerful as a 4 year old desktop.