Apple Watch Steals The Show
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
As Tim Cook revived Steve Jobs‘ iconic “one more thing” announcement at today’s Apple Event, you can literally feel the electric vibe pulse through the crowd at the Flint Center as everyone knew what was coming. They just didn’t know how. And with every feature of the new Apple Watch, I was imagining that scene from the Matrix where Lawrence Fishbourne utters the phrase “what if I told you …” and before more was an infinite number of possibilities, even in filmmaking, for this new Apple Product. And it’s going to be one of this moments in techno-history, where you can’t remember your life before it. And I’m not kidding.
"We set out to make the best watch in the world. ?It's as much about personal technology, as it is about style and taste."
When I first heard about the expectations of Apple producing what people came to call the “iWatch,” I pretty much rolled by eyes. Big deal. An expensive time piece that kept your calendar and could keep track of your steps and heart rate. Great for fitness freaks, to be sure, but it seemed more like a product in search of a market, not the other way around. Then Cook came on stage and told the crowd that the new Apple Watch was not only years in the making, but required a lot of deep thought to get it right. And what I realized was, this is exactly the same moment in history as Steve Jobs stood and told the world about the Mac, iPhone, and iPad before it. Products that literally changed everything and have transformed the face of technology in our daily lives. And I think the Apple Watch is going to do the same thing.
Again. What if I told you …
What if I told you that perhaps you could control your GoPro from your wrist while sailing down a hill for a good action shot? What if I told you that perhaps you could control your DJI Phantom from your wrist? Some of these things are possible down the road, and the watch isn’t even here yet (it won’t be ready until “early 2015″). And those are filmmaking applications. Let’s talk about the announced capabilities…
We've been working a long time on a product we believe will change expectations for this category. ?With every product Apple has created, a breakthrough user interface is required.
The Apple Watch Crown, the ‘new home button’
The Apple Watch has a brand new user interface that uses what Apple calls a “digital crown” to navigate the touch screen with so you aren’t occluding the watch face. You’ll have access to dozens, if not hundreds of different apps including health and fitness apps for Nike, command of Siri?at the touch of a button, and even be able to respond to text messages with either voice or text replies thanks to the Watch’s voice dictation feature.
Siri will be able to give you show times, and tell you directions to where you’re going, with taptic notifications of left and right turns without having to take your eyes off the road. Apple says you’ll literally know a city you’ve never been to like the back of your hand. And you can change the watch face and customize the look to give you all the information you’re looking for, from a simple digital Mickey Mouse display to access to streaming stock prices and times. And you can?take selfies and difficult shots with your iPhone and watch the live view on your watch. Slick!
The Apple Watch will also support Apple’s new digital wallet pay feature Apple Pay, which will store all your payment information in a secure elements chip on the iPhone and generate temporary payment numbers to keep your information secure and unknown to the cashier. And you will be able to access it from your watch and make payments thanks to near field communications (NFC). And since the payment information is tied to your phone, and can be suspended via Find My iPhone, you won’t be able to have your credit card information stolen if your watch or phone is. And you won’t have to cancel your credit cards anymore. It’s well thought out and will be available to use in over 220 thousand retail outlets including Disney, Target, Panera Bread, and yes, the Apple Store. All the big three, American Express, Visa and Master Card all support it.
There’s also a?”locket” of your favorite images updated directly from your iPhone or computer. Users will even be able to control their iTunes music on their phone or computer, and even use your phone as remote control with the AppleTV. And travelers will be able to get gate information, check-in times, and even unlock your hotel door. And Apple has also introduced a digital communication feature called Digital Touch Communication which will allow you to draw icons on the screen and send them as shorthand to your favorite friends. Or you can choose preset replies. All very cool.
Health and fitness wise, the Apple Watch has four sensors that monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, step count, and more. There are two modes that include every day fitness for those seeking to make subtle exercise changes, and a workout mode for setting more high performance fitness and athletic goals. And paired with the GPS in your iPhone, the Apple Watch can tell you exactly where you are on planet earth. Users will also be able to see the phases of the moon on any day of the month simply by swiping from one side of the screen to another. ?And you know this is going to be a drain on the battery life, which explains why the Apple Watch is rather thick, half it’s girth has to be a battery. And Apple will charge it with a wireless induction charger.
The Apple Watch comes in both small and large sizes and is available in three different options – the Watch, the Watch Sport, and the Watch Edition. It also comes with the option of six different stylish and functional wrist bands that are easy to swap out with a simple slide and lock, and most are kept in place with a magnet. ?Users also have to have an iPhone 5 and above to use in tandem with the watch, so don’t think you can get all that without your iPhone. It won’t work that way. Prices will start at $349 and will be available early 2015.
In other news during the event, Apple featured the rock band U2, and front man Bono and Cook both announced that, until mid-October, their new Album “Songs of Innocence” would be available as a free download to all iTunes users. It’s already in your purchased tab, so all you need to do is download it. I just listened to it while I was writing and it’s a fantastic new album and a hell of a gift from Apple, and U2 to all iTunes users.
If I had to have a complaint on the Apple Watch, it’s that it doesn’t have a FaceTime camera. Apple had the opportunity to bring the world a true Dick Tracy style phone, but I guess you have to save features for future versions after you’ve shaken out the bugs, right? (Editor’s note: Imagine holding your wrist up for extended periods of time… )
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