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Published on September 10th, 2014 | by The GC Team

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Apple Watch overshadows launch of iPhone 6

The launch of the Apple Watch last night totally eclipsed the introduction of two new iPhone 6 models. The device, which has been dubbed the iWatch by the media, claims “revolutionary” new technologies and a specially designed Digital Crown that provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate.

Speaking at the launch event, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, 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.”

Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design, said: “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. We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalisation.”

The demonstration units at the event basically rolled through lots of screenshots, so there is little comment on interaction with the device. Some were wowed by the design and others felt it to be a “bit bulky”. But Apple has done its utmost to appeal to fashion lovers, with a plethora of strap choices, a number of different metal enclosures, including 18 karat gold, and customisable faces.  See spec below.

Interface

iOS-based user interface created specifically for a smaller device. Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also serves as the Home button and a convenient way to access Siri®. The Retina® display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, a technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing a new way to quickly and easily access controls within apps. The Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. Apple custom designed its own S1 SiP (System in Package) to miniaturise an entire computer architecture onto a single chip. Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.

The look

The device comes in three distinct collections – Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition – available in two different sizes, 38mm and 42mm. The durable enclosures are crafted from custom alloys of polished or space black stainless steel, space gray or silver anodized aluminum and 18-karat rose or yellow gold. Apple has also created a range of watch straps: the high-performance elastomer Sport Band; the Milanese Loop in a flexible magnetic stainless steel mesh; the Leather Loop in a soft quilted leather that conceals magnets for quick fastening and adjustment; the leather Modern Buckle, which closes with a solid metal clasp; the leather Classic Buckle; and the stainless steel Link Bracelet. The device comes with a charging system that combines Apple’s MagSafe® technology with inductive charging for a quick connection that snaps into place. It comes with 11 watch faces ranging from traditional analogue faces to new ones such as the dynamic Timelapse face; the Astronomy face with its interactive, real-time 3D model of the earth, sun, moon and planets; and the Solar face, a contemporary sundial. It can be personalised in appearance and capability with additional information such as upcoming events, moon phases or your activity level, enabling millions of possible configurations.

AplWatch42-34R-HomeScreen-PRINTCommunication

Apple Watch provides timely information that can be viewed at a glance. Smart Replies and dictation let you respond quickly to messages, and with Handoff, you can start a message on your Apple Watch and continue where you left off on your iPhone. Swipe up from the watch face for Glances that quickly show information such as your current location, stocks or your next meeting. Pressing the side button brings up Friends, images of your contacts, so you can contact them quickly and easily. Digital Touch allows you to send a sketch, a gentle tap, or an audio message through Walkie Talkie. The device also lets you interact quickly and conveniently with the world around you, so you can pay for coffee using Apple Pay™ (US only), board a plane with a Passbook® boarding pass, control your Apple TV® or get directions.

Activity app

Apple’s Activity app is designed to help motivate people to be more active throughout the day, and an all-new Workout app provides the metrics you need during dedicated workout sessions. Apple Watch uses the accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone to provide a comprehensive picture of your daily activity. The Activity app measures three separate aspects of movement: calories burned, brisk activity and how often you stand up during the day. The Workout app provides goal-setting and pacing during popular session-based workouts, such as running and cycling. The companion Fitness app on iPhone collects your activity data so you can see your activity history in greater detail. Apple Watch uses this history to suggest personal, realistic goals, reward fitness milestones and keep you motivated.

Pricing & Availability

Apple Watch will be available in three collections. Apple Watch, with a polished or space black stainless steel case and a choice of straps; Apple Watch Sport, with a space gray or silver anodized aluminum case and Sport Band; and Apple Watch Edition, with an 18-karat rose or yellow gold case and a choice of straps exclusive to this collection. Apple Watch straps include the Sport Band in black, blue, green, pink and white; the Classic Buckle in black and midnight blue; the Leather Loop in bright blue, light brown and stone; the Modern Buckle in midnight blue, brown, soft pink, rose gray and bright red; the Milanese Loop in stainless steel; and the Link Bracelet in brushed stainless steel and polished space black. The device will be available early 2015 starting at $349 in the US. Information for the UK is not yet available. The unit is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8.

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