Yesterday Apple announced the new iPhone and – “one more thing..” – Apple Watch. This is not really a surprise as everybody expected Apple to launch a smart watch with more and more Android Wear based smart watches popping up. So how does Apple’s compare to the competition?
Apple Watch, like most other smart watches, comes with many features such as displaying incoming messages, calls and emails to your wrist. You’re also able to navigate using Apple Maps or track fitness related information like your heartbeat or steps walked with it. So far so good – but honestly nothing new. So what advantage does Apple Watch have over it’s Android running competitors?
First, the smart watch features a haptic feedback which is able to send “touch” signals to your hand. Doing this, the smart watch is able to, for instance, send vibrating directions to your arm to guide you to a certain destination without looking at your phone or Apple Watch. Pretty cool. Second, Apple’s smart watch comes with physical input mechanism called “Digital Crown” which functions as some sort of home button. Doing this, you are able to scroll, zoom and navigate through the device without touching the display. You are obviously also able to navigate using the touch display.
Apple also included a few nice software features such as like smart replies and direct sharing to your friends. Smart replies basically offer predefined answers based on the content of a received message. If, for instance, you receive a message from a friend asking for lunch plans Apple Watch will offer you certain predefined answers to quickly reply without typing anything. You are also able to share quick drawings from your display with friends. You are also able to use the wearable for wireless NFC payments (as long as you are in the US).
Last but not least, Apple Watch will come in three different variants called Apple Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition. They all come with different sorts of materials and replaceable bands. The smart watch will be available in two different sizes.
Besides all the cool features of Apple Watch there are obviously some negative aspects. As of now, the battery life is unknown and the wearable is quite expensive in contrast to Android Wear devices already on the market. Apple Watch is said to start at $ 349 and I personally expect the Watch Edition to be priced much higher. As with many products, the smart watch will only work with iPhone 5 or newer. Apple did not announce a specific launch date and only mentioned that it will launch at the beginning of 2015.
Honestly, I don’t believe in smart watches yet and it feels like both Apple and Android-powered wearables still need some time to be actually useful. Although Apple includes cool features it, seems like other manufacturers such as LG, Motorola and Sony might be able to implement some of them in their next product cycle. Feature wise, all smart watches basically do the same and I really don’t see a big difference. Yes, materials and form factors are different, but in the end smart watches are yet another device to push notifications in your eyesight. What bothers me most is battery life because having yet another device to charge every night seems rather impractical. I’m also not sure if I really need another device sending me notifications next to my computer, phone and tablet.