The iWatch from Apple is real. Apple went no-holds-barred in the announcement of its Apple Watch, a new wearable computer that is packs more features and functions than anybody could have rightfully predicted before it was announced.
Apps, dials, touch, voice, Siri, health, fitness, communications, drawing, emoji … Apple had the mother of all gee-whiz on stage demos during the Apple Watch announcement yesterday. From a 1,000-foot view, it is very impressive.
Until you realize that we actually don’t know anything about the Apple Watch.
Outside of the announcement and stage demonstration, Apple didn’t let anybody actually try out the watch during the hands-on period after the announcement. Apple had models wearing it running on treadmills, some fancy setups with a looping video and likely plenty of “look but don’t touch” Apple employees hovering over the available demonstrations.
We don’t yet know how apps will be made for the Apple Watch. We don’t know if they will be a form of app extension or custom-built apps through the WatchKit framework that Apple announced. The developer documentation and outlines for WatchKit has not yet been published to Apple’s iOS Developer Portal, so we do not yet know anything specific about the Apple Watch and how its apps will work. Apple has promised that developers will be able to make native apps for the Apple Watch starting in 2015.
Apple’s approach to the smartwatch market is directly opposite from that of Google. In Android Wear, Google announced its design guidelines and released a design primer in March, well before the official announcement of Android Wear at the Google I/O developer conference in late June. The software came before the devices, which we are now waiting to be released and iterated upon by manufacturers like LG, Samsung and Motorola.
Apple has a device, but no software … yet. The early 2015 release of the Apple Watch will effectively serve as the beta period for iOS developers to build Watch apps, when Apple does release the WatchKit documentation. We also know little about the internal components of the Apple Watch or what the battery life will be.
What do we know about the Apple Watch? Mostly, just the features that Apple announced which, on surface level, are quite impressive for a smartwatch. Let’s take a look.
Not One Watch, But Six
Really, Apple didn’t just announce one watch, it announced six. The Apple Watch comes in three varieties, each of which will come in two different sizes— 38 mm and 42 mm. The standard Apple Watch is scheduled to come out in early 2015. Apple also announced the Watch Sport and the Watch Edition built specifically for activity and style, respectively.