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After months of waiting, Apple has finally announced its wearable, the Apple Watch. Fanboys and girls everywhere have been waiting for the tech giant to get into the wearable space and it seems that the wait was well worth it, or was it?
Apple argues that its watch represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology. Everyone’s favourite tech company has really put some thought into the tech of this device. It is a square face, tough sapphire glass smartwatch with inductive charging. It comes with swappable bands, a heartbeat sensor and a rotating digital Crown, which doubles as a home button and only works in conjunction with a recent iPhone (6, 6 Plus, 5s, 5c, 5).
The Watch will also come in two different sizes and three different collections: Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition. Users are able to choose between six different straps. Users have the option of a sport band, a leather loop, a classic leather buckle and the easily adjustable stainless steel strap.
During the launch event Apple CEO Tim Cook stressed that the company didn’t just take the iPhone and shrink it into a watch, but designed something completely new.
“We love to make new products that improve people’s lives. We love to make things that allow our users to make things that they could never have imagined,” Cook said today. “We think it will redefine what people expect from its category.”
This Retina Display device comes with some choice Apple apps such as the “Activity” app, which tracks your movement throughout the day and the “Workout” app that focuses on specific sports. Apple is also adding something it calls “digital touch”, which will allow users to quickly share a sketch they draw on the watch face. With no keyboard, these sketches make for easy communication.
The Watch’s purpose (aside from telling time), will largely focus on notifications from the iPhone but Apple will look at the text messages and analyse them to automatically select a few possible replies. Apple is also allowing developers to build custom apps for the device. Some app makers already slated for the device’s early 2015 launch include: American Airlines, BMW, Nike and Starwood Hotels.
Reinventing the wheel
Apple is known for being on the cutting edge of technology and with this it seems to have taken the analog watch and reinvented it. There are many great features that this devices offers that makes it a unique entry into the market, but Apple’s reworking of the Crown is quite impressive.
“We reimagined it as a versatile tool that answers the fundamental challenge of how to magnify content on a small display. Pinching to zoom, as you do on iPhone, is impractical,” says the company.
The rotating on the digital Crown allows users to zoom and scroll “nimbly and precisely”, with no view obstruction. It also doubles as the home screen when pushed like a button, which according to Apple makes it an integral part of the Apple Watch experience.
Fashion statement in the age of tech
For it to work in true Apple fashion, the device actually needs to be really cool and fashionable for its cult following to want it. In many ways it is currently more appealing than any of the other smartwatches we have seen on the market thus far. It’s quite cool in an old-fashioned kind of way.
Though some argue that as a stylist device, it’s more masculine than sexy.
Roseanne Morrison, fashion director for The Doneger Group, an industry consultant, told Reuters that from a design perspective it fell short of her expectations.
“It’s not pretty,” she said. “It’s very future techno as opposed to feminine sexy.”
It could be argued that Apple went for the old classic timepiece coupled with the fashion world’s penchant for big and bold. It’s most definitely thinking about the fashion of the device as well as its tech opportunities. We have seen this with the hire of Patrick Pruniaux — former vice president of Tag Heuer’s global sales and retail, Angela Ahrendts — former chief executive of Burberry Inc., and former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, who also joined as vice president of special projects.
This is the first generation of the Watch and whether or not it makes money is irrelevant, it needs to be a fashion statement more than anything else. There are features on the device that hint at its potential. Apple has made photo viewing on the device pretty cool. You begin with all of your photos showing as minuscule thumbnails, then you use the Crown to zoom in. This same gesture is also used to zoom in and out of Apple Maps as well.
“This is just the beginning. How long before there is a partnership with Marc Jacobs and Valentino to do more sophisticated faces?” said Lea Goldman, features and special projects reporter for Marie Claire to Reuters.
Perhaps the next generation will come with thinner straps, but it cannot be denied that there is a touch of luxurious elegance to the smartwatch. If Apple makes it an independent product of the iPhone (after all, it has dropped its signature “i”) there is a possibility it could become a staple in high fashion watches.
In a world where icons rank tops, it will be great to see the Apple Watch intersect the world of fashion and tech.