Apple’s new product launches are known for keeping the world curious about what it is going to unveil. From the personal computer to the mp3 player to the smartphone and then to the tablet, the company has innovated in one form or the other. The latest in this trend is Apple’s take on the smartwatch, the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch features a rectangular sapphire screen, comes in 2 sizes, 3 finishes including 18 carat gold and has a range of interchangeable straps. It has a ‘digital crown’ on the side for scrolling and zooming, an additional button dedication to a new ‘Friends’ app and charges wirelessly.
Apple has also completely redesigned the UI, featuring a home screen full of apps represented as little dots, customizable watch-faces, a ‘glance’ feature that is similar to widgets, a new ‘Force Touch’ (kind of a hard press) input that works as a ‘right-click’, the ‘Friends’ app that lets to send doodles and your heartbeat to you Apple Watch friends, impressive fitness and workout apps supported by an array of sensors and a lot of cool interlinks with the iPhone. Apple has not commented on the Apple Watch’s battery life.
Apple really has packed a lot into a neat little watch. But is it really as ground-breaking as the consumers have come to expect from Apple? That isn’t so clear. Simplicity, of usage and design, is really what differentiates Apple products the most. The Apple Watch doesn’t seem so simple.
There are 5 distinct input methods: tap, ‘Force Touch’, pressing the digital crown, rotating the digital crown, and the separate button. Taking the example of the Maps app, you’d have to swipe to move around, then move your hand to the digital crown to zoom in, then move back to pan some more and select a desired point, then ‘Force Touch’ to pull up the context menu and select, say, walking and finally move back to the digital crown and press it to return to home when done.
Compare that with what the first iPhone introduced simple buttons for home, lock, and volume and various simple touch-based inputs for everything else. Moreover, given that you’ll be doing all this on wrist, it seems a little too complex. As for the hardware design, the rectangular display looks bulkier than typical Apple products and is beaten by the neat round Moto 360.
On the other hand, the Apple Watch does have a lot of cool features including the Friends app where you can send people doodles and your heartbeat, integration with Apple Pay, a lot of customizability with watchfaces, glances and straps and good updates to basic apps making them better for a smartwatch interface. It comes with Apple’s AI Siri and extensive fitness features
The Apple Watch goes on sale early next year, starting from USD 349 and it will be interesting to see if Apple yet again manages to ‘know what customers want more than the customers themselves’.