Showing posts with label iwatch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iwatch. Show all posts

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Apple Watch review: Hands-on




Well, it may not be called the iWatch, but Apple’s entry into the burgeoning wearable category – called simply “Watch” – has at last gone from rumour to reality. Unlike the many Android Wear smartwatches that have been standalone products with individual merits, such as the Moto 360’s “real” watch faces or the Samsung Gear Fit’s heart rate monitor, the break from the norm here is the sheer level of customisation offered, all in one go. Another similarity is the requirement to own an Apple phone, ideally the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus of course, and it's not clear how backwards compatible with older iPhones the Watch is.

Apple Watch: Features

With two different face sizes – 38mm and 42mm respectively – three separate collections – the entry-level Watch, the sweat-loving Watch Sport and the 18-carat-gold, bling-tastic Watch Edition – plus six different strap styles with three different fits all fighting for your attention, seeing all of them at once is a disorientating experience. Apple lined all 36 different types up in a central hub at the Cupertino reveal like a cross between Baselworld and The Usual Suspects.

Make no mistake, this will be a new range from the off when it launches early next year, not a one-off product. Whatever your choice of wear - plastic for fitness, leather for work, stainless steel for evening wear - Apple seems to have it covered. Indeed, the “Milanese loop” number is verging on smart jewellery, the design of the face as its own entity meaning you can mix and match. We can see the custom-obsessed money flying out of wallets already – the price being “from” $349 is key.

We grabbed a hands-on with the “Modern” buckle, a magnetised fixer connecting its blue, brushed leather strap. It linked easily and was a perfect fit as luck would have it without adjusting – good old predictable wrist widths. The first thing you notice is the 38mm watch’s body is surprisingly small and light, the Moto 360 – until now arguably the looker in the smartwatch department – seeming hulking and heavy by comparison. The sleek design also sits comfortably next to normal watches – it actually looked a bit like the Uniform Wares one we were wearing – with little style concession at all. This is unprecedented for a smartwatch.

Apple Watch: Display

The Flexible Retina sapphire-glass display is both clear and strong, if a bit of a fingerprint lover. However, while it is used as a touchscreen, the neat digital crown dial on the side keeps your fingers off and out of the way, the small screen not often obstructed, flicking through customisation options and zooms in and out, and also acting as a home button. It’s a really clever solution and very intuitive, allowing you to customise settings such as contextual info and colour schemes quickly.

Apple Watch: Performance 

Our hands-on involved a run-through some of the basic functionality – browsing the circular apps (you zoom in and out of them fluidly a la Google Earth), fitness monitoring (through the sensors on the reverse of the face), map finding, etc. The most impressive factor, though, was the consistent alerts, shunning loud beeps and flashing lights for a light throb to your wrist, be it for text messages, lap times or a reminder to get the shopping.

Apple Watch: Connectivity

Connectivity wise, there’s no ugly and impractical headphone ports, with all connections handled by Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. We were sent hand-drawn messages wirelessly to our watch by a member of staff, the use of which were unclear of – for a product so stylish, drawing little pictures on it seems a bit Nintendo for us – but it certainly works. Charging is elegant, too, a circular MagSafe connecting to the entire bottom of the watch body, where the four sensors sit.

Apple Watch: Verdict 

Of course, this was a guided demo, and Apple was unsurprisingly keen to play up its style and connected credentials. We didn’t get much time to put the new S1 chip to the test, try Apple Pay or Siri (the latter is accessed via clicking the digital crown), see the extent to which it requires an iPhone to function (which we were told it does), or, of course, test the battery life, which Tim Cook and co stayed very quiet on indeed. The sheer lightness of the watch makes us wonder just how much stamina it’s packing, but we shall see. The headline news is this is a really good looking smartwatch that you could conceivably buy just as a watch, and that, for us, is a first. Whether smartwatches in general are a category that can prove useful enough to snare the masses, though, we're still unsure.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Apple’s iWatch is finally coming in September: Are you ready for the wearable revolution?

Apple iWatch concept
Over the last couple of months, Apple’s (AAPL) stock price has been buoyed by Wall Street’s belief that, at long last, a new segment-defining device was on its way. Last week Apple’s stock price finally rose back above its September 2012 peak. It would seem that, after a couple of years of uncertainty — the echo of Steve Jobs’ death, essentially — the stock market finally thinks that After years of rumors, leaks, and false starts, it seems the stars will finally swing into alignment this fall: Apple is will unveil an iWatch smartwatch alongside a new large-screen iPhone 6 at an event on September 9, according to the latest reports. Presumably the iWatch will also be released to the public alongside the iPhone 6 a week or two later. Previous rumors had pointed to an 
×October unveil for the iWatch, but it seems×Apple has moved it forward — possibly in response to the Samsung Gear S, LG G Watch R, and the Moto 360, all of which will be released over the next month or two. Just as the iPhone and iPad popularized the smartphone and tablet, will the arrival of the iWatch signal the beginning of the wearable computing revolution?
×Apple is ready to do more than just squeeze its iPhone cash cow for billions of dollars in profits every quarter.
Apple's rising stock value, since May
Apple’s rising stock value, since May [Source: Yahoo]
Enter the iWatch, which has been rumored (or perhaps wishfully speculated is a better term) since 2010. The funny thing is, despite Recode’s confirmation that the iWatch is coming in September (and Recode is pretty good with Apple leaks), we know virtually nothing about what Apple’s smartwatch will actually do or look like. We don’t even know if it’ll be an iWatch — something akin to an iPod Nano with a wrist strap — or if it’ll be more of a health-and-fitness iBand. It’s pretty safe to assume that the iWatch/iBand will tie into iOS 8 features such as Health and HealthKit.
Ultimately, the big question is whether the iWatch will be a full-fat device that runs iOS  8 — or a companion device that perhaps runs a cut-down OS for improved battery life, and requires a nearby iPhone/iPad for connectivity and other heavy lifting. In either case, even in the wake of the 3G Samsung Gear S, I don’t think we’ll see a truly standalone iWatch with 3G/4G connectivity. If Apple does release an iWatch in September, I’m pretty certain that extended battery life will be one of the key differentiators that ×Apple offers over the×Android competition — and it just isn’t possible to offer 3G/4G and long battery life in a smartwatch form factor (yet).
Apple iWatch/iBand concept
Will the iWatch be a smartwatch, or more of an iBand fitness band?
Will the iWatch kickstart the wearable computing revolution? After Google Glass and Samsung’s early smartwatches have established a beachhead, will ×Apple swoop in and mop up the glory show everyone else how it’s done? I think it’s unlikely — I just don’t think battery, processor, and radio technologies are there yet – but I’m happy to be proved wrong. I think it’s much more likely that ×Apple is reacting to the competition, rather than tapping the same well of innovation that resulted in the iPhone and iPad. (The large-screen iPhones are reactionary rather than revolutionary, too.)
iWatch concept claw
One of the crazier pieces of fan-made iWatch concept art
In my eyes, it is surprising that we know so little about the iWatch this close to its (apparent) release date. Bear in mind that the iWatch will reportedly appear alongside the iPhone 6 on September 9 — and while we know almost everything about the iPhone 6, we know nothing about the iWatch. If Apple really is gearing up to release the iWatch, there will be production lines in ×Chinaproducing millions of units right now. It’spossible that ×Apple and its manufacturing partners have somehow kept the iWatch production line completely locked down, but it seems unlikely.
In any case, I guess we’ll find out on September 9. The iWatch is expected to be unveiled alongside the iPhone 6, which will come in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch flavors. Pricing is anybody’s guess right now, depending on whether it’s a full-fat iWatch or cut-down iBand — but somewhere between $200 and $400 sounds about right. Official invites to Apple’s September 9 event should be sent out in the next few days.


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