Apple Watch

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Apple Watch
Apple Watch official logo.svg
White AppleWatch with Screen.png
An Apple Watch with white Sport Band
Developer Apple Inc.
Manufacturer Quanta Computer[1]
(contract manufacturer)
Type Smartwatch
Release date April 24, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-04-24)
Introductory price Watch Sport
38 mm: US$299
42 mm: US$349

Watch
38 mm: US$549–US$1,049
42 mm: US$599–US$1,099

Watch Edition
38 mm & 42 mm: US$10,000–US$17,000[2]
Operating system watchOS[3][4]
System-on-chip used Apple S1 (32-bit ARMv7[5])
Memory 512 MB DRAM[6]
Storage GB
Display AMOLED[7]

38mm
33.96 mm (1.337 in) diagonal, 272×340 pixels, 326 dpi
42mm
38.96 mm (1.534 in) diagonal, 312×390 pixels, 326 dpi
Watch Sport
Strengthened Ion-X glass

Watch/Watch Edition
Sapphire glass
Graphics PowerVR SGX543[8]
Sound Speaker
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz only)
Diagnostics port
Power Built-in rechargable Li-Po battery

38mm
3.8 V 0.78 W·h (205 mA·h)[9][10]

42mm
3.78 V 0.93 W·h (246 mA·h)[10]
Dimensions 38 mm
38.6 mm × 33.3 mm × 10.5 mm
(1.52 in × 1.31 in × 0.41 in)
42 mm
42 mm × 35.9 mm × 10.5 mm
(1.65 in × 1.41 in × 0.41 in)
Backward
compatibility
iPhone 5 and later running iOS 8.2 or later, connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.0.
Website www.apple.com/watch

The Apple Watch (marketed stylized as Apple logo black.svgWATCH) is a smartwatch developed by Apple Inc. It incorporates fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities with integration with iOS and other Apple products and services. The device is available in four variants: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Hermès, and Apple Watch Edition. The Watch is distinguished by different combinations of cases and first or third party interchangeable bands. Apple Watch relies on a wirelessly connected iPhone to perform many of its default functions such as calling and texting. It is compatible with the iPhone 5 or later models running iOS 8.2 or later, through the use of Bluetooth. Announced by Tim Cook on September 9, 2014, the device was available for pre-order on April 10[11] and began shipping on April 24, 2015.[12][13] The Apple Watch quickly became the best-selling wearable device with the shipment of 4.2 million smartwatches in the second quarter of the 2015 fiscal year.[14][15]

Development

The goal of the Apple Watch was to free people from their phones.[16] Kevin Lynch was brought on by Apple to make wearable technology for the wrist. He said: “People are carrying their phones with them and looking at the screen so much. People want that level of engagement. But how do we provide it in a way that’s a little more human, a little more in the moment when you’re with somebody?”[16] The Apple Watch works by connecting via Bluetooth to the phone and accessing any Watch compatible apps stored on the mobile device. Apple's development process was held very much under wraps until a Wired article revealed how some internal design decisions were made.[17]

Unveiling and release

Rumors surrounded an Apple-developed wearable back as far as 2011, which conceptualized the device as a variation of the iPod that would curve around the user's wrist, and feature Siri integration.[18] On February 10, 2013, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was beginning to develop an iOS-based smartwatch with a curved display.[19] On February 12, 2013, Bloomberg reported that Apple's smartwatch project was "beyond the experimentation phase in its development", and had a team of at least 100 designers working on the project.[20] Further reports in March 2013 indicated that Apple planned to release the device by the end of the year.[21] In July 2013, Financial Times reported that Apple had begun hiring more employees to work on the smartwatch, and that it was targeting a possible retail release in late 2014.[22]

In April 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook told The Wall Street Journal that the company was planning to launch new product categories that year, but did not reveal any specifics.[23] In June 2014, Reuters reported that production was expected to begin in July for a release in October.[24]

On September 9, 2014, during a press event where the iPhone 6 was also presented, the new product was introduced by Tim Cook as "the next chapter in Apple's story" with a video that focused on its design and the various combinations of bands and case styles that would be available to the consumers. After the reveal video, the auditorium received, with prolonged applause and standing ovation, Tim Cook again, now wearing an Apple Watch. Apple CEO Tim Cook explained that Apple Watch was "a precise timepiece, a new intimate way to communicate from your wrist, and a comprehensive health and fitness device."[25][26]

In comparison to other Apple products and competing smartwatches, marketing of Apple Watch focused more on advertising the device as a fashion accessory; a 12-page advertising spread for Apple Watch in an issue of Vogue focused primarily on the different combinations of body and band styles available, and downplayed the technological aspects of it.[27][28] Apple has also, in particular, focused upon its health and fitness-oriented features, competing against dedicated activity trackers.[29]

Release

Pre-orders for Apple Watch began on April 10, 2015, with an official release on April 24.[30]

On launch, Apple Watch was not available at Apple Store; beginning on April 10, 2015, customers could receive appointments for demonstrations and fitting, but the device was not in-stock for walk-in purchase, and had to be reserved and ordered online (however, sales representatives are able to assist in the process). CNET felt that this distribution model was designed to prevent Apple Store locations from having long line-ups due to high demand.[31][32] Selected Apple Watch models were available in-store at certain luxury boutiques and authorized Apple resellers in limited quantities.[33] On June 4, 2015, Apple announced that it did plan to stock Apple Watch models at its retail locations.[32] On August 24, 2015, during an earnings call, Best Buy announced that it would begin stocking Apple Watch at its retail stores by the end of September.[34] Both T-Mobile US and Sprint also announced plans to offer Apple Watch through its retail stores.[35]

On September 9, 2015, in Apple's Special Event, Apple launched a new collection of Apple Watch in a collaboration with Hermès. This new collection of Apple Watch is named as Apple Watch Hermès, comes in stainless steel body with finely crafted leather bands in distinctive styles from Hermès, including the Single Tour, Double Tour and Cuff models. Initially, Apple Watch Hermès was available only in selected retail stores of Apple and Hermès, but it became available for purchase at Apple's website on January 22, 2016.[36] They also announced new Apple-designed bands in various colors, in addition to the watchOS 2 release date.

The device was not branded as "iWatch" (which would put it in line with its pre-existing product lines such as iPod, iPhone, and iPad) due to trademark conflicts in certain territories; in the United States, the "iWatch" trademark is owned by OMG Electronics — who was crowdfunding a device under the same name, and is owned in the European Union by Irish firm Probendi.[37][38] In July 2015, Probendi sued Apple Inc. for trademark infringement, arguing that through keyword advertising on the Google search engine, it caused advertising for the Apple Watch to appear on search results pages when users searched for the trademarked term "iWatch".[39]

Apple Watch went on sale in India on November 6.[40] The device has also launched in Chile, the Philippines, and South Africa.[41] Apple Watch became available in Indonesia on December 4.[42]

On the March 21, 2016 Apple Event, Apple announced its release of new band types and colors. Apple also announced a lowering in price of the Watch Sport by $50. [43]

Specifications

Design

The Apple Watch comes in four collections (Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Edition, and Apple Watch Hermès)[44] and features two case sizes: 38 mm (1.5 in) and 42 mm (1.7 in).[45] The case of the watch includes a mechanism to enable the straps to be interchangeable. For input, the watch includes a "digital crown", which can be turned to scroll or zoom and pressed to return to the home screen, and a touchscreen that features Force Touch technology, which makes it pressure-sensitive and capable of distinguishing between a tap and a press.[7] The watch also has a side button which can be used to display a list of contacts, or access Apple Pay.[46] Apple rates the device's battery for 18 hours of mixed usage.[7][47] Apple Watch is charged by means of inductive charging, using a cable similar to the MagSafe cable from Apple's MacBook family of laptops.[12] If the watch's battery depletes to less than 10 percent, the user is alerted and offered to enable a "power reserve" mode, which allows the user to continue to read the time for an additional 72 hours. The watch then reverts to its original mode when recharged.[48]

Apple does not explicitly market Apple Watch as being waterproof, stating that it can withstand splashes of water (such as rain and hand washing), but does not recommend submersion (IPX7). However, external testing by The Iconfactory and others revealed that Apple Watch can function when submerged in various conditions (such as swimming), although its touchscreen experiences "erratic" behavior when submerged. Additionally, usage in water may void its warranty, constituting "damage caused by [use] outside Apple’s published guidelines", and apps taking advantage of this may not be allowed per App Store policies which forbid the publishing of apps that encourage users to use devices in ways that may damage them.[49][50]

Hardware

The Apple Watch uses the S1 system-on-chip. It does not have a built-in GPS chip. It uses a linear actuator called the "Taptic Engine" to provide haptic feedback when an alert or a notification is received, and is used for other purposes by certain apps.[7] The watch is equipped with a built-in heart rate sensor, which uses both infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes.[51] All versions of the Apple Watch have 8 GB of storage; the operating system allows the user to store up to 2 GB of music and 75 MB of photos. When the Apple Watch is paired with an iPhone, all music on that iPhone is also available from the Apple Watch.[52]

The Apple Watch only turns on when you activate the watch (either by lifting your wrist, touching the screen or pressing a button).[53]

The hardware has a large number of proprietary and custom accessories available for a customized look. Third party bands and cases can be switched at the user's discretion, allowing the owner to create a timepiece that is an extension of his or her self.

Software

Apple Watch runs watchOS, whose interface is based around a home screen with circular app icons. The OS can be navigated using the touchscreen or the crown on the side of the watch.[7] Apple Watch must be paired with an iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later; this version of iOS introduced the Apple Watch app, which is used to advertise Apple Watch, pair one with an iPhone, and customize settings and loaded apps.[7]

It is capable of receiving notifications, messages, and phone calls via a paired iPhone.[7] "Glances" allow users to swipe between pages containing widget-like displays of information. watchOS also supports Handoff to send content from Apple Watch to an iOS or OS X device,[7] and act as a viewfinder for an iPhone camera,[46] Siri is also available for voice commands, although it is not capable of responding with voice prompts.[7] Apple Watch also supports Apple Pay, and enables its use with older iPhone models that do not contain near-field communication (NFC) support.[7]

Apple Watch's default apps are designed to interact with their iOS counterparts, such as e-mail, phone, Calendar, Messages, Maps, Music, Photos, Reminders, Remote (which can control iTunes and Apple TV), Stocks, and Wallet.[7] Via the Fitness app, a user can track their physical activity and send data back to the iPhone for use in its Health app and other HealthKit-enabled software.[7]

Version history

watchOS 1.0.1 featured performance improvements and support for additional emoji and languages,[54] and was released on May 29, 2015. At WWDC 2015, Tim Cook announced watchOS 2.0; described by CNET as a "significant revamp", it included a new software development kit that allows more direct access to the device's hardware, new watch faces, the ability to reply to e-mail, and other features.[55] watchOS 2.0 was set to be released on September 16, 2015, but was delayed due to a bug fix taking longer than expected;[56] it was instead released on September 21, 2015.[57]

watchOS 2.0 was released as a way to bring new features and more improvements to Apple Watch. Although enhancements were seen through this software update, many users pointed out that their apps are almost universally useless due to lag and that touches don't register immediately.[58] However, there are ways to speed up the Apple Watch by turning off several options from the Settings app.[59]

Third-party apps

watchOS supports third-party applications; a WatchKit app runs in the background on the iPhone as an application extension while a set of native user interface resources are installed on Apple Watch.[60] Thus, watchOS apps must be bundled within their respective iOS app, and are synced to the watch either manually, or automatically upon installation of the phone app.[7]

Starting June 1, 2016, the only new watch apps allowed on the Apple Store will be those developed with the watchOS 2 SDK (or later); no third-party languages or SDKs can be used to develop apps.[61]

Models

An Apple Store display showcasing various Apple Watch models.

Apple Watch models are divided into four "collections"; Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Hermès and Apple Watch Edition. They are differentiated by the materials each use; Sport features aluminum, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Hermès uses stainless steel, and Apple Watch Edition uses 18-karat gold.[62] Each model has versions with 38 and 42 mm bodies; the 42 mm models have a slightly larger screen and battery.[7] Each model has various color and band options. Featured bands include colored Sport bands, the Milanese Loop, Classic Buckle, Leather Loop, Modern Buckle, Link Bracelet, and Woven Nylon. [7]

Apple Watch Hermès is the newest collection of Apple Watch, available with Single Tour, Double Tour and Cuff bands, with Hermès brand engraved stainless steel. The Single Tour with the 38 mm stainless steel case comes in fauve Barenia leather, noir box leather and capucine Swift leather, while the Single Tour with 42 mm stainless steel case comes in fauve Barenia leather and noir box leather. The Double Tour pairs with the 38 mm stainless steel case and is available in fauve Barenia leather and bleu jean, capucine and etain Swift leather. The Cuff pairs with the 42 mm stainless steel case and is available in fauve Barenia leather only.

Reception

An Apple Store opens its doors on the first day of the sale of Apple Watch

Following the announcement, initial impressions from technology and watch industry observers were varied; the watch was praised by some for its "design, potential capabilities and eventual usefulness",[63] while others offered criticism of these same aspects.[63] Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said he "can't wait" to try it,[64] and Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson described it as "extremely cool" and an example of future technology that is "much more embedded into our lives".[65] However, Evan Dashevsky of PC Magazine said it offered nothing new in terms of functionality compared to the Moto 360, except the customizable vibration notifications.[66] In November 2014, Apple Watch was listed by Time as one of the 25 Best Inventions of 2014.[67]

One of the apps pre-announced as part of the launch, Belle Gibson's Whole Pantry, was withdrawn prior to launch following accusations against its creator of fraud and faking cancer diagnosis.[68][69][70][71]

Initial reviews for the device have been generally positive with some caveats.[72] Reviewers praised the watch's potential ability to integrate into everyday life and the overall design of the product, but noted issues of speed and price. Many reviewers described the watch as functional and convenient, while also noting failure to offer as much potential functionality as preceding smartphones. Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times mentioned the device's steep learning curve, stating it took him "three long, often confusing and frustrating days" to become accustomed to it.[73] Some reviewers also compared it to competing products, such as Android Wear devices, and claimed "The Smartwatch Finally Makes Sense".[74] Reviewers had mixed opinions on battery life though, with Geoffrey Fowler of The Wall Street Journal saying "the battery lives up to its all-day billing, but sometimes just barely,"[74] and others compared it to the Samsung Gear 2, which "strolls through three days of moderate usage."[75] Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times used several applications over a period of days. He concluded that there is no "killer application" so far besides telling the time, which is the basic function of a wristwatch anyhow.[76]

When using the Apple Watch, some users have reported issues using the heart monitoring feature due to permanent change of the skin, such as tattoos. To monitor the heartbeat, the watch flashes green light at the skin and records the amount of this light the blood absorbs. However, due to disfigurement of the skin, the monitoring feature may not record the absorption readings correctly, thus providing inaccurate results.[77]

Some users have complained that the logo and text on the back of the Apple Watch Sport model, primarily the space gray version,[78] can easily scratch off.[79]

Sales

Financial analysts offered early sales estimates from a few million to as many as 34.7 million in the first year.[80] Time's Tim Bajarin summarized the breadth of reactions, writing that "there is not enough information yet to determine how this product will fare when it finally reaches the market next year".[63]

Due to inadequate materials, the Apple Watch was delayed in shipping from their pre-order release date of April 10, 2015.[81] As a result, only 22 percent of the pre-ordered Apple Watches were shipped out in the US during the weekend after the release date.[82] It is estimated Apple received almost one million Apple Watch pre-orders in the US during the initial six hours of the pre-order period on April 10, 2015, after which it sold out and further orders would start shipping in June.[83]

See also

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