HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

On the 9th of Septem­ber, in the same hall where Steve Jobs un­veiled the orig­i­nal Mac­in­tosh and the first iMac, Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook in­tro­duced the world to the Ap­ple Watch.

Un­like the iPhone 6, which was also in­tro­duced at the same event, the Watch isn’t ready for launch yet. No­body will be able to get one un­til “early 2015”, and de­tails about the Watch are still scant. There’s a lot the world doesn’t know yet about Ap­ple’s first wear­able com­puter, but here’s what we do know to­day.

The Ap­ple Watch pairs with an iPhone (from iPhone 5 and up), and is billed as three things: a time­piece, a way to com­mu­ni­cate, and an ac­tiv­ity tracker. You can use it to do things like send and re­ceive mes­sages, track your daily phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, and check the time.

The Watch has a clever new in­ter­face that Ap­ple calls the dig­i­tal crown. In­stead of us­ing now-fa­mil­iar ges­tures like pinch to zoom on the Watch, which would crowd out the small screen, you turn the crown to zoom in and out as well as scroll up and down through­out the in­ter­face.

Press the dig­i­tal crown, and it works as a Home but­ton. The only other but­ton on the Watch lies be­low the dig­i­tal crown, and brings up a quick list of con­tacts. The Watch’s screen is not only touch, but also pres­sure sen­si­tive, so you can tap as well as press the screen to bring up dif­fer­ent con­trols.

In ad­di­tion to sen­sors on the back, which can mea­sure met­rics like your heart rate, the Watch also has a hap­tic en­gine, which uses vi­bra­tion for a va­ri­ety of ef­fects. You can tap on the Watch to ‘tap’ on a friend’s Watch, which will vi­brate ac­cord­ingly. When us­ing the Maps app, the Watch can also vi­brate in the di­rec­tion you’re sup­posed to turn.

The Ap­ple Watch has the most num­ber of SKUs in re­cent Ap­ple his­tory: it comes in two sizes (38mm and 42mm in height), and three edi­tions (Watch, Watch Sport, Watch Edi­tion), with six dif­fer­ent fin­ishes in to­tal, plus six dif­fer­ent in­ter­change­able bands. The Ap­ple Watch comes in stain­less steel or space-black stain­less steel cases, with sap­phire crys­tal screens. The Ap­ple Watch Sport comes in an­odized alu­minum cases in sil­ver or space-gray, with strength­ened Ion-X glass screens.

The Ap­ple Watch Edi­tion comes in 18-karat gold cases in yel­low or rose, with sap­phire crys­tal screens. CEO Tim Cook men­tioned that the Watch starts at US$349, which means there will be higher priced mod­els.

There are still two key unan­swered ques­tions about the Watch: Ap­ple didn’t re­veal its bat­tery life, so we have no idea how long the Ap­ple Watch lasts. We also have no idea how wa­ter­proof the Watch is.

As tech­nol­ogy im­proves, it’s in­evitable that we’ll soon be wear­ing them on our bod­ies, and the wrist is as good a place to start as any. While the Watch to­day might not ap­pear to be a ’must-have’ prod­uct, we re­mem­ber how the orig­i­nal iPhone looks prim­i­tive to­day in com­par­i­son to iPhone 6. With the Watch, we be­lieve Ap­ple is start­ing strong with a long play for the fu­ture of wear­able com­put­ers.

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