The Apple Watch is finally here. Months after unveiling its first wearable, the Cupertino-based company at its Spring Forward event last night launched the Watch and revealed the pricing of all its different tiers. The Watch comes with a number of features and will be available for sale in nine countries starting April 10, and as per reports it will reach India only in June. Also Read - watchOS 8 announced: You Apple Watch gets lots of new health features and more
The Watch brings with it a number of features including a convenient payment system with a tap on your wrist, as well as hotel and car key replacements. Here are the 10 most important features you will get with the Apple watch. Also Read - Apple Watch can soon measure blood pressure, blood glucose and alcohol level: Report
The digital crown
One of the most interesting features on the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown. At this point, we have already seen a plenty of smartwatches, and most of them require — including and especially the Android Wear timepieces — to scroll and use the tiny screen to get most of the things done, which many find counterproductive. Apple is trying to address that with Digital Crown in the Watch. It is a knob on the watch’s right side which acts like a home button. Pressing on it returns you to the main screen and scrolling it lets you zoom into apps and explore through options in the interface Also Read - iOS 14.5 update: How to unlock your Apple iPhone with the face mask on
Fitness and health tracking
Besides being a companion gadget, Apple’s focus has been largely on fitness as far as the Watch is concerned. It comes with many sensors, offering a range of capabilities that are designed to work with apps to deliver health related features. There’s an Activity app which gleans information such as the wearer’s movement in the day and notifies them if he/she has been sitting for too long. To make things rewarding, the Watch gives away badges to give you a sense of achievement and progress towards the goal.
There is also a Workout app which gives athletes detailed information, such as time spent, calories burnt, pace and speed, and provides precise feedback.
Actionable Notifications and Glances
The Watch will deliver alerts in the form of Actionable Notifications and Glances. This will help users know what important things are going on without looking at their phone. Actionable Notifications will let users react to the alerts. Glances will pop up relevant information like heartbeat, weather, and appointments among others with just one swipe from the bottom of the display.
At the event, Apple even showcased a feature called ‘Digital Touch,’ which is essentially a platform for Watch users to communicate with each other right from the wearable. The USP is that instead of typing out long messages you can simply communicate through taps and doodles. You can tap the screen and the person you want to communicate with will be notified via a vibration. You can also sketch something on the screen or share your heartbeat with another person.
Tim Cook revealed a new feature on the Apple Watch, which lets you receive calls. You will not only be notified about an incoming call, but with the in-built speaker and microphone you will be able to receive calls too. Cook was pretty pleased about this feature saying, “I have been wanting to do this since I was five years old.”
Much like the iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch also uses the voice assistant service Siri to take voice input. The voice assistant feature makes the Watch even more useful, as it is able to dish out to our requests without the need to take out the phone. Users will be able to just say “Hey Siri” to trigger the voice assistant.
Promise to bring full-fledged apps
Apple announced that at some point “later this year,” the Watch will be able to support full-fledged apps. This is an interesting announcement and it addresses the flak many experts have had made in the past, which is that the Watch is only good for beaming content from the iPhone and can do nothing much without it.
The company also assured that in addition to its homegrown apps including Calendar, Music, Alarm, Weather, Stocks, Photos and Settings app, users will be able to download a number of other third-party apps in the months to come. These apps include Instagram, Uber, Nike+ Running, Shazam, Twitter, and WeChat among others.
At the sidelines of the iPhone 6 event last year, Apple announced Apple Pay, a new mode of payment with which the company wants to replace your credit cards. It is a secure payment system that works with iPhone 5 and later as well as the Apple Watch and requires users to tap on the screen to initiate and complete the transaction. On the Watch, the wearer will hear a beep and feel “a gentle pulse” confirming that the transaction has been completed. The only catch — Apple Pay is limited to few markets.
Hotel and Car Key Replacement
Apple also showcased a bunch of apps on the Apple Watch including Starwood Hotels’ preferred Guests app. The app not only allows users to see their reservation information, but also use the Watch as a room key and tap on it to open the door. While we assume this feature will only be available at select hotels, it is only a matter of time before more of them follow the suit.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Apple CEO Tim Cook had said that the Watch will also be able to unlock car doors with a tap on its screen. We however have to wait to see how it is implemented.
Gone are the days when you had to carry your tickets, or at least pull out your phone at the check-in counter to get clearance in airport. Thanks to Passbook on the Apple Watch, you can quickly pull up your plane tickets right on your Watch.