The new Apple Watch is finally here! We’ve been hearing rumors about this watch for about two years now and it’s finally a reality. Apple held an early this month where they answered some questions left over from last year’s unveiling announcement and announced that it will be available late April of 2015. The tech press has finally been able to get touchy-feely with it. Here’s my take of what I’ve been able to find out so far.
Opinions Range from Excellent to Really Good
So far what’s being written about the new Apple Watch is positive. Some are calling it the best smartwatch on the market. There’s consensus that the interface, which is cleverly designed, and the fact that there are multiple sizes help make it one of the best smartwatches you can buy right now. It’s also comfortable on the arm, which can’t be said for everything else. I don’t like that it ties me down to an iPhone, though.
Multiple Flavors of the New Apple Watch Are Available
The new Apple Watch isn’t just a single product it’s a three product lineup which ranges in price from about $350 to over $10,000. The Apple Sport Watch comes in at $350. One step up is the Apple Watch with a steel case with a starting price of about $549, depending on what band is chosen. At the upper end of the price range is the $10,000-plus Apple Watch Edition with an 18-karat gold case and options that can jack the price up to $17k. Each of these three versions also come in either large or small sizes.
Each of the three main models also comes with your choice of a variety of different bands. Some of these are leather. Others are various shades of stainless steel with different types of clasps and straps ranging from braids to links to loops and chains.
Control of the Watch Through the Face and Buttons
The new Apple Watch is controlled using three buttons and a combination of tapping and swiping gestures on the watch face. One of the buttons is a small button that is sleek and inconspicuous, one is a scrolling wheel, and the other is the Digital Crown. The Digital Crown is pretty cool, letting you zoom in and out of the interface.
The display is activated by tapping. Glances, which are like widgets that give you information like weather at a glance, are brought up by swiping across the watch face. Quick access to Apple Pay is granted by double clicking the smaller button.
The “Friend Wheel” is Probably the Cleverest Part of the Interface
Apple’s engineers made communicating with your friends and family easy using what they’ve called the “Friend Wheel.” Bringing this up allows you to quickly send messages to those on your contact list, although it does work best if recipients also have the Apple Watch. For example, you can send pictures that you drew on the watch to friends with one. You can also set up special notification codes that cause the watch to vibrate a certain way.
Wanna Get a Better Idea of How It Works?
The main interface is reminiscent of the overall feel of iOS with round icons with specific functions. Some of the people that have gotten hands on with it have said that it takes a little getting used to before you get to start seeing how it really is. Even if you spend hours watching videos of the presentations and looking at pictures like I have here, you’re not going to be able to get the familiarity to hit the ground running with the new Apple Watch once you can get your hands on one in late April. To this end an app maker has come out with a website that mimics the watch’s interface, giving you an almost hands-on experience with it.
Head on over to the site they’ve created and have some fun. The demo lets you virtually click the buttons, tap and swipe the screen to navigate through 19 different apps that will come with the watch. You can also check out integral parts of the interface like Glances and Notifications. They’ve also included a demo of how their app, Pipes, which is a news and information push notification service, will look on the Watch versus the iPhone’s app.
Photo Credit: Houang Stephane