We’ve seen it all before and are yet to be convinced. So can Apple’s just-released contribution bring us around to the benefits of the smartwatch?
When Apple introduced the iPad there were understandably question marks over its necessity and how it would fit in and enhance our everyday lives. After all, we already had laptops and smartphones so why would we need something in between that lacked the power of one and the mobility of the other? The question was duly answered and the rest is history.
On its release, the Apple Watch is grappling with similar questions as it tries to blend its smartphone functionality with the well established criteria for a watch.
“Apple is doing something unusual here: It is trying to create an electronic device that matches the timeless appeal of a piece of jewellery,” wrote Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times.
The feedback from those that have been lucky enough to get their hands on one of the devices is that as a timepiece, the Apple Watch gets a big tick. The design is solid, the aesthetics pleasing and the customisable face means it can appeal to all tastes. The battery life is 18 hours so it can last the hours before being recharged overnight.
As a phone the Apple Watch also scores well. The watch is necessarily an extension of your iPhone, paired via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, which allows the wearer to use the network functions on the watch including calls, Siri and notifications. The watch allows you to make and receive calls from your wrist as well as read SMS, news articles, tweets and the like. All in all, it’s pretty cool stuff.
The biggest news on the app front is that the Apple Watch supports Apple Pay via NFC. You can simply hold your wrist to the NFC reader to initiate a payment, and the watch is authenticated to your phone for security. There are also all the usual apps available including Facebook and Twitter plus a useful sounding Uber app where you can request a car and track its journey directly from your wrist.
Pricing for the Apple Watch will range from $349 up to $17,000 for the 18-karat gold case edition.