The New Apple Watch Has Arrived If You Can Afford It
Yesterday at Apples’ Spring forward event in San Francisco, the US tech company officially launched their new Smart Watch, which comes in a range of models and two different sizes, a 1.7 inch screen or a 1.5 inch screen aimed to suite all… well most…. many people.
Now to be fair prices do start at an affordable(ish) $349 US or £299 if you’re buying one in the UK. This is still more than most smart watches and unlike many competitors you don’t get a SIM card slot or a SD card slot.
If you have a pile of cash burning a hole in your pocket then you could always splash out for the more expensive Edition version of the smart watch that will set you back an eye watering $10000 or £8000, with options ranging up to $17000 or £13500.
Although I can’t see why you would as besides the 18 karat gold and different wrist band options there appears to be very little extra on offer. Indeed as the higher models appear to just offer a different set of materials more than one commentator has said, “There is no justification for a higher price.”
So lets take a look at what you get for your hard earned cash. Well for starters if you don’t have an iPhone 5 or later the watch is all but useless, however it will still tell the time and will look fairly nice on your wrist.
Chief executive at Apple Tim Cook said that you can, “Expect about 18 hours of usage between charges”, so with a recharge time of about 2.5 hours, (according to Apples website) it’s going to easily last you the day and recharge fairly quickly. One nice feature listed is the “Power Reserve” facility; this will enable the watch to show the time for up to 72 hours, after the other features have been disabled.
With NFC built-in, you can even use the Apple Pay system on this device but whether that’s a good thing or bad, I’m not sure. The smart watch like many others on the market can track your movements but the Apple one can apparently tell the difference between you walking up stairs, going for a jog or just walking around the office. Unfortunately there is no GPS on the device itself so it won’t be that much use as a true sports watch and especially not for those who take their fitness gadgets seriously. Also the basic models while splash proof are not waterproof so no jumping in the pool with it.
When connected to your iPhone it can be used to answer calls, send messages, receive and send mail but there is no SIM card slot so it needs a phone synced to it for all these functions to work making its more a complimentary device to be used in conjunction with your Apple phone rather than a stand-alone that can replace a phone.
There are thousands of apps already available for these new watches and these include the favorite social media ones for sites like Facebook as well as the lesser known Chinese messaging app WeChat and taxi ride service Uber. There are also apps for all the familiar things such as weather, maps and camera remote for snapping selfies so you won’t need to wait for new apps to make it functional as there’s lots to choose from.
Overall the watch appears well made and you have to hand it to Apple as they do deliver some good looking devices. The nice interface with the crown zooming and scrolling wheel as well as availability in two sizes are a big plus for the Apple watch but the need to own an iPhone and the price will surely put many people off when you can get so much more from the wide range of Smart watches that are already available.
Ben Wood from the tech advisory firm CCS Insight was quoted by BBC as saying, “Apple will unquestionably sell millions of these watches because there’s pent-up demand from the loyal super-fans who will buy almost any Apple product”. However, as Chinese manufactures like Huawei released their own smart-watch at the Mobile World Congress trade fair last week, the competition is certainly heating up and many people will be checking out this more affordable and competition between now and April 24th when the device goes on sale.
While I’m sure the loyal fans will be clamoring to get their hands on one I’m not sure that the Apple Watch will revolutionize the market, especial given the fact you need to have an iPhone before you can use most features and also because Apple prices itself for larger margins rather than selling large numbers.
I for one would rather spend my money on a device like the iMacwear SPARTA M7, which running Android 4.4 can do pretty much everything the Apple watch can do and a few things extra as it has a micro SIM card slot and micro SD card slot, two things which the Apple and even the Samsung Gear 2 smart watches are sorely missing in my opinion.
We will have to wait until the latter half of this year to see just how well these watches from Apple have been received.