“One more thing…” Those words are music to an Apple fan’s ears. In years past they’ve brought us some of our favorite Apple launches and today’s no different, as the company introduces us to its brand new wearable, the Apple Watch; no “iWatch” here.
The Apple Watch features a flexible Retina-quality sapphire display, sensing not just touch, but force as well. Navigation is also possible by means of the Digital Crown on the side, for convenient scrolling. Tapping in on the crown will bring up your list of apps to launch.
Underneath, the Apple Watch features an array of LEDs and photodetectors for measuring pulse rate. These will be tied to the new iOS 8 Health app, providing users with data for monitoring their physical condition over time.
The Apple Watch is constructed from a variety of materials, and depending on the finish you go for, you’ll find alloys including stainless steel, aluminum, and 18-karat gold.
Those customization options extend, unsurprisingly to band selection, and the Apple Watch is set to sell with leather, metal, and plastic bands available.
On the software side, look for your favorite iOS apps to make an appearance, including Siri, Photos, and Maps, all available with just a tap of the watch’s crown.
That selection is bound to grow as third-party devs start getting involved, which they’ll be able to do through Apple’s release of its WatchKit SDK.
Fitness tracking will be accomplished on the Apple Watch with the help of its Activity and Workout apps – the former tracking general physical motion all day long, with the latter focusing on specific periods of planned exercise. Accelerometers in the watch gather motion data, while it connects to your iPhone to pull GPS data for longer-range distance measurements.
The data Activity gathers is presented as a simple series of rings (as you can see to the right), letting you visualize at a glance the time you’re spending standing still, moving around, and outright exercising. Workout will generate finer-grained analysis, including info on calories burned. All this can also be accessed on the iPhone itself, by means of Apple’s Fitness app.
There are three Apple Watch configurations being introduced today: the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition. The 18-karat gold version is Edition, Sport gets a lightweight aluminum body, and the plain old Watch is the steel option.
In addition to that choice of materials, we’ll also see two sizes of Apple Watch, one with a 38mm case and one with a 42mm case.
Sales will start at about $350, and as we heard suggested, they won’t get underway until early next year. Phone compatibility extends down to 2012′s iPhone 5.