The 10 most important things to know about the Apple Watch

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Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Apple finally showed the world today what the media has been calling an “iWatch” for months. Apple Watch is the first new product category to come out of the company since the original iPad. It marks a “new era” for Apple, according to Tim Cook, and introducing it was even worthy of the “One more thing” tease made famous by Steve Jobs.

There’s a lot to digest about Apple’s first wearable, so we’ve made it easy for you. Here are the 10 most important things you need to know about the Apple Watch:

Designed to be super-personal

Apple Watches

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, the Apple Watch comes in a variety of colors and options. There are three collections: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. Every model is available in a 38 mm or larger 42 mm display size. Apple has also designed a lot of custom watch faces, ala the old iPod nano days.

The entry-level collection comes in “polished” or “space black” stainless steel with a choice of six wrist straps. Each strap serves a different purpose and aesthetic. There’s a more durable Sports Band for athletics, Classic Buckle, Leather Loop, Modern Buckle, Milanese Loop and Link Bracelet. All come in different colors.

Apple Watch Sport is for those who want to primarily use the wearable as a fitness device. It’s a more lightweight aluminum design with a reinforced Ion-X glass display, although Apple hasn’t gone into detail about just how durable it will be. With the two device colors and band options, there are 10 possible configurations in the Sport collection.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.00.46 PM
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

The Apple Watch Edition is more suited for a night out on the town. It comes with a sapphire display like the regular Apple Watch, but the exterior is made of 18-karat yellow or rose gold. When Jony Ive said that Switzerland was fu*ked, this watch is what he was talking about.

The Digital Crown

Digital Crown

Instead of gestures like pinch-to-zoom, the navigational linchpin of the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown, a traditional-looking dial on the side of the device. The Digital Crown is used to scroll, zoom and move between apps.

The screen is also touch-responsive, but it’s mainly used for simple swipe gestures to navigate through information. Most of the interacting you’ll do will be using Siri and the Digital Crown.

Sensors galore

A special sensor on the back uses infrared, visible-light LEDs and photodiodes to detect your heart rate. Photo: Robert Baldwin/The Next Web
A special sensor on the back uses infrared, visible-light LEDs and photodiodes to detect your heart rate. Photo: Robert Baldwin/The Next Web

You’ll be able to track your movement, heart rate, calories burned and more. The device’s accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS knows your location, and Bluetooth 4.0 keeps the Apple Watch synced up with your iPhone.

The device’s “Taptic Engine” provides haptic feedback for notifications and stuff like turn-by-turn directions. It can be as detailed as buzzing the appropriate side of your wrist when it’s time to take a left or right turn.

Focus on health and fitness

Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

A big part of the Apple Watch is health and fitness. It has two apps dedicated to keeping you active: “Activity” for tracking your daily health/activity and “Workout,” a personal trainer of sorts for exercising. Apple hasn’t shown these apps in-depth yet, but the company has brought on former Nike execs to make sure everything is top-notch.

Rings on the devices will fill up as you reach your goals for calories burned, time on your feet, etc. When you get ready to work out, you’ll be able to set goals for how far you want to go and how many calories you want to burn. Everything you do health-related on the Apple Watch is synced back to the Health app on iOS. From there, it can be accessed by third-party fitness apps and healthcare providers.

Will work with third-party apps

Control your thermostat from your wrist. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/ The Next Web
Control your thermostat from your wrist. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

WatchKit is a new API developers will be able to use to make apps for Apple Watch. Apple demoed apps like Twitter and Facebook with actionable notifications, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Airlines will have apps that get you through the entire airport process with just your wrist, and you’ll be able to unlock your door at certain fancy hotels with Apple Watch. Pinterest, Major League Baseball, BMW and others are working on apps right now, and other devs will have plenty of time to get their apps ready for when Apple Watch ships in early 2015.

Supports Apple Pay

Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Alongside the new iPhones, Apple Watch will let you wirelessly pay for things using Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payments platform.

Only works with iPhone

Phone 6 and Apple Watch

Apple Watch will work with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, 5s, 5c and iPhone 5 over Bluetooth. The device is designed to work closely with the rest of the Apple ecosystem. It can act as a remote for the Apple TV and a remote camera for the iPhone. Thanks to iOS 8’s Continuity feature, you’ll be able to start something like an email on your iPhone and pick it up on your Apple Watch.

No word yet on battery life

Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

One of the biggest disappointments of today is that Apple failed to provide any information about battery life. A magnetic inductive charger attaches to the rear of the watch face, but who knows how often you’ll have to use it.

Starts at $349, coming in 2015

Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Another thing we don’t know is exact storage or upgrade pricing. Apple said that the cheapest watch will cost $349, so the gold edition will probably be a couple hundred dollars more at least.

You won’t be able to get your hands on an Apple Watch until early 2015.

Every other wearable better watch out

Photo: CNET
Photo: CNET

Whether it’s everything you hoped for or not, the Apple Watch can do more than any other wearable on the market right now. It also looks better than its competition, which is crucial for winning over normal consumers who want something to look good on their wrists.

Tim Cook wore a Nike FuelBand for years in public, but today he switched it out for an Apple Watch. The future is here.

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  • TeeJay1100

    The most important thing to know is it’s overpriced and the battery will suck!!

    • Tallest Skil

      Thanks for pretending you know anything about unreleased features.

    • Jamie G

      Overpriced? It costs less than half of today’s mid-range luxury market watches (£800-£2,500).

      • TeeJay1100

        That’s the thing it isn’t a luxury watch!! Stop comparing Apples to oranges!!

      • Christine

        You’re right, it’s not a luxury watch. This watch can do hundreds of more things than a luxury watch can do. Can a luxury watch measure your heart rate? Can a luxury watch pay for your coffee or other purchases? No. Exactly.

      • TeeJay1100

        A lot of those features on this Apple watch are gimmicks, point blank. It is a device that is dependent on their iphone, which makes it useless. Measure your heart rate, Lol. Are you serious? I can use my phone now to pay for coffee and other purchases! Apple’s presentation resembled Samsung’s presentation in which they both offered gimmicks for their watches!! The difference is Apple is deeming this stuff as new, when it’s really not!

      • jorra

        Well is this watch gonna be worth anything in let’s say 2 years? The answer is no, you’re gonna have to buy a new one every time they come out and your old one is worthless. A luxury watch still is. Do you constantly need to measure your heart rate? If you want to measure your heart rate you’re probably better off with a pulse watch. It’s not even waterproof and I question it’s durability. Battery life? So far it doesn’t look like the battery will be great. Luxury watch no problem. No I can’t pay with it but the majority of the people who buy this watch will buy the iphone 6, that have the same feature. And guess what? I still have my wallet & credit card that can do the same thing without paying 350$ + for a pretty useless watch, to go and buy a coffee.

      • Opinion

        Well, a luxury watch usually works every day simply by wearing it (automatic vs. presumably everyday charging) – reliably. A luxury watch you will be proud of and wear it on everyday and exclusive situations for probably tens of years. You might even want to pass it on to your son. An apple watch you probably will pass it on to eBay after 2 years or are embarrassed to wear it after 4 years.
        Comparing a luxury watch with an apple watch is like comparing a trendy overall with tool belt with a smoking and claiming, you cannot do heavy work with a smoking, thus your overall is better.

  • Julian Velasquez

    Apple did allude to the battery life of the Apple Watch. Tim Cook mentioned charging it nightly…

    • I expect it’s because the battery hasn’t been perfected yet, also might be why it’s not available til next year

    • Frans Albertus Hanekom

      It will probably charge wirelessly in a way while you are sleeping. Which will be pretty neat to avoid the whole short battery life problem. Don’t know, lets wait and hear what Apple has to say about that in a later stage. For now I REALY want one! Even if I have to charge it every-day

  • Steven

    So if I am on the treadmill at the Y, will I need my iPhone next to me for the Apple Watch to keep track of my data and communicate with me? Or if I’m out on a run?

    Lots of questions, but no doubt: aesthetically, it’s a knock-out.

    • Yeah kinda kills the whole workout machine aspect of it, if you’ve still gotta bring your increasingly large iPhone out on a run with you. I’m sure it’ll have some limited use without the phone that cuts out the GPS.

    • No doubt in future OS versions, it’ll have a way of storing the data on the Watch for you to sync over to the phone later on

      • Steven

        I think that might even be a software update before it’s released. Once people learn they’ll need their phone to take on a run or hike or ride that will make the watch a little less appealing. But syncing up wirelessly when back together? Perfect.

      • rockcitygrl8

        yeah, I’m guessing they wanted to release to create interest (and a bit of drool!) over it; then when it’s released it will have an updated battery and connectivity; these folks are not dumb

    • Frans Albertus Hanekom

      Don’t think you will need your iPhone. This is the solution for carrying around your phone to gym. It will probably have the latest M8 chip in tracking all of your moves and then sends the data to you phone once connected or something.

  • Palto

    It’s basically a pebble in color.

    • robogobo

      Except that it’s not.

    • a pebble lasts longer than a human life

      • Palto

        So does Cher.

      • Eric

        OMG Rolling!!

    • Neroon

      The difference is that the Apple is actually useful…

  • Aannddyy

    Looks like the paid Samsung whiny bitch squad is flooding the forums with negative comments. They are obviously very worried.

    • steven taylor

      calm down Cartman.

  • Eseel Borlasa

    iono.. it kinda looks like the vibes when the nano was on a watch strap. remember that? http://www.bestbuy.com/site/ipod-mp3-cases-clips/watchbands/pcmcat272900050010.c?id=pcmcat272900050010

  • Michael Superczynski

    I like it. For some reason I keep thinking of how fat the original iPad was. In a couple of years, the Apple Watch will become thinner in a similar manner. It does seem rather fat but as a man’s watch, that’s not a big deal; a lady might want a smaller, thinner version.

    • rockcitygrl8

      as a woman I can say that i prefer chunky larger watches…

  • kizaw

    Such negative and angry rhetoric from noncreative and unproductive keyboard cowboys. Just don’t buy it. Who cares if you think their are better products out there. Go buy them. Or go create something better than Apple since your so disappointed with what they create.

    • You are sad because a lot of people see useless trash hyped beyond reason and want to comment on the foolishness of it all? I am sure you will buy one for each hand and wait up all night for it. Good for you. You can have the one I won’t buy. A sad fellow all alone among the bitter people. You need this.

    • jorra

      So you can’t voice your opinion if you can’t create something beter yourself? Okay good luck in life. No i won’t buy it. Well you obviously care that some people doesn’t like the watch, otherwise you would be quiet. And last but not least, this is a comment section not North Korea what are people supposed to do?

  • EKIMMMMM

    lets all remember that apple doesn’t announce something at a keynote they cannot deliver. one of the reasons people were skeptical apple would even show the watch today. i’m sure they realize they can’t disappoint on battery life, and that they have to offer the best possible. let’s all relax and wait till next year…

  • ken

    Future versions will surely ad GPS to the device itself, instead of needing the phone. If it can effectively track HR; with no other device does well without a chest cord, incorporating GPS with their Nike+ partners already using as an existing technology partnered with Tom Tom – likely just needs a little more room in the device

  • bigcityguy

    Wonder how much nickel is in the watch/metal bands….

  • Fail. This may be the most overhyped product in history. Justin Beiber AND U2? You have got to be kidding. Maybe, if it would integrate with the macbook, maybe. This is just sad. All this talent and money and it is in fact very clever, but an absolute waste of human talent. I predict a major fail on this one. Flop. Flop. And what is up with Mr Coo’s hand-raising? Who is this guy? Pathetic, but well-hyped. Yes, Apple has absolutely lost its way. Mediocrity is the new innovation.

    • Jamie G

      If Apple releases anything less than a time machine, people will always be disappointed. With every successful iProduct launch, someone always says they’re disappointed and yet they end up being hugely successful products.

      Not sure what you wanted from a watch tbh. Would you prefer it to fly and make you dinner?

    • Bet you right now it outsells every other SmartWatch combined.. What would integrating with a MacBook do? That does nothing for the SmartWatch experience. Your phone is the center of communication and media now. That is why the SmartWatches all work in tandem with SmartPhones.

      Lost its way? #1 Selling SmartPhone. #1 Selling tablet.. even with being the top end of the price category. It will now be #1 in SmartWatches.. you obviously just hate Apple and cannot have any rational contribution to this topic.

  • Its a winner. The software is excellent. Its personalized. Its the worlds first REAL SmartWatch. Its user interface is elegant. We will all wonder how we lived without it.

  • An OD Apple G

    I think it would be worth well over $1000 if they were able to use solar and gyroscopes to have the battery last 3-5 days (on) and 30 days on standby. They should also offer white gold, and platinum and silver finishes. wonder what the screen will be made out of… maybe this is the reason they were recently invested so heavily in the sapphire glass… if so it would have much higher value than my favorite quartz Movados

  • An OD Apple G

    I would love to see future updates that have the watch come with a nice bluetooth headset and it’s own sim slot. They should pair the sim slot with the iPhones in a two-for-one split sim that shares the data contract so one could use the watch independently of the phone, and access all the music from the cloud, if the storage isn’t up to snuff with our new 128gb phones.

  • Sapientum

    Unless you can flip the watch upside down, that crown and button are going to be a bugger for Left-Handers like me.

    • MacAdvisor

      I agree, but my guess is a sensor figures out what is “top” and you can flip it around. If one can’t, an app that did that would sell.