Rumors of the “iWatch” are true. During the September 9th keynote, Apple announced Apple Watch, the event’s most anticipated feature.
Apple Watch is touted as Apple’s most personal device yet. It’s not just a fitness tracker or wearable phone. It sets the bar a little higher for smartwatches.
Some highlights of Apple Watch:
Apple Watch runs all the usual apps, such as weather and music. As a plus, it also contains features from Apple partnerships, like BMW and Starwood Hotels, so users can locate their car (assuming it’s a Bimmer) or unlock their hotel room.
The watch enables users to access their iPhones to make calls, respond to texts and communicate via doodles. Since it doesn’t feature a keyboard, the watch tries to analyze text to offer users quick replies and speed up typing.
It wouldn’t be a wearable if it didn’t track your physical activity. Apple Watch tells you how many calories you’ve burned, the number of steps you’ve taken and your heartbeat – which you can send to another Apple Watch user.
The voice-activated assistant Siri comes standard on the Apple Watch, so you can pull up all your apps without resorting to touch.
Lastly, the watch features Apple Pay, Apple’s NFC technology, so users can ditch their wallets at home. That is, assuming the battery life – which wasn’t mentioned during the keynote – is optimal enough that the watch doesn’t die before the checkout stand.
As Apple made clear at the event, this isn’t a phone – it’s a watch. Apple thoroughly considered the UI’s design, with new functionalities for the smaller screen.
When users lift their arm, the watch activates. The display here is fully customizable so users can access the information they want immediately. There are 11 pre-set faces that can all be tailored by color, element and functionality.
As for functionality, Apple knows that smaller screens aren’t always compatible with fingers. Apple designed a digital crown, a dial on the watch’s side, to zoom, take users to the home screen and other navigational properties.
The watch also communicates via subtle vibrations, meaning users will have to learn a Morse Code-esque language for actions like driving directions (an attempt to keep users’ eyes on the road).
For now, an iPhone 5 or 6 is required to use Apple Watch.
Apple Watch fits Apple’s typical design standards: simple and sleek.
To start, the display on each watch is protected by sapphire crystal for a scratch-resistant face.
There are several design styles, in two sizes and three collections: Watch, Watch Edition and Sport. The Watch comes in stainless steel or space black stainless steel; the Watch Edition comes in 18k yellow gold or 18k rose gold; and the Sport comes in silver aluminum or space gray aluminum.
There are six band styles constructed from stainless steel, leather and fluoroelastomer, which is more flexible than rubber.
If you’re excited to buy an Apple Watch, it will be on the market in early 2015.
For developers designing Apple Watch apps, be on the lookout for a post showing off what rewards on the smartwatch could look like.
Rewards lead to higher engagement among users and better monetization for developers. 84 percent of mobile users say they prefer mobile rewards vs. ads, and over 3,000 games and apps already use Kiip to monetize. Learn more about Kiip at kiip.me/developers.