An Apple Watch with white Sport Band
|Original: April 24, 2015; 2 years ago (2015-04-24)
Series 1 and Series 2: September 16, 2016; 11 months ago (2016-09-16)
38 mm & 42 mm: US$10,000–US$17,000
|512 MB DRAM|
|Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz only)
3.78 V 0.93 W·h (246 mA·h)
42 mm × 35.9 mm × 10.5 mm
(1.65 in × 1.41 in × 0.41 in)
|iPhone 5 and later running iOS 8.2 or later, connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.|
|Apple Watch Series 2
Apple Watch Series 1
Apple Watch is a line of smartwatches developed, designed, and marketed by Apple Inc. It incorporates fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities with integration with iOS and other Apple products and services. The original generation of the device was available in four variants: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Hermès, and Apple Watch Edition; each distinguished by different combinations of cases and first- or third-party interchangeable bands. Apple Watch relies on a wirelessly connected iPhone to perform many of its default functions such as calling and texting. It is compatible with the iPhone 5 or later models running iOS 8.2 or later, through the use of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Announced by Apple CEO Tim Cook in September 2014, the device was released in April 24, 2015. The Apple Watch quickly became the best-selling wearable device with the supply of 4.2 million smartwatches in the second quarter of the 2015 fiscal year. The second generation of Apple Watch, released in September 2016, includes two tiers: Apple Watch Series 2 and Apple Watch Series 1, which includes the S1P chip, but is otherwise identical to the original.
The goal of the Apple Watch was to enhance the uses of an iPhone by using a watch. Kevin Lynch was brought on by Apple to make wearable technology for the wrist. He said: "People are carrying their phones with them and looking at the screen so much. People want that level of engagement. But how do we provide it in a way that's a little more human, a little more in the moment when you’re with somebody?" The Apple Watch works by connecting via Bluetooth to the phone and accessing any Watch compatible apps stored on the mobile device. Apple's development process was held very much under wraps until a Wired article revealed how some internal design decisions were made.
Unveiling and release
Rumors surrounded an Apple-developed wearable device back as far as 2011, which conceptualized the device as a variation of the iPod that would curve around the user's wrist, and feature Siri integration. On February 10, 2013, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was beginning to develop an iOS-based smartwatch with a curved display. On February 12, 2013, Bloomberg reported that Apple's smartwatch project was "beyond the experimentation phase in its development", and had a team of at least 100 designers working on the project. Further reports in March 2013 indicated that Apple planned to release the device by the end of the year. In July 2013, Financial Times reported that Apple had begun hiring more employees to work on the smartwatch, and that it was targeting a possible retail release in late 2014.
In April 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook told The Wall Street Journal that the company was planning to launch new product categories that year, but did not reveal any specifics. In June 2014, Reuters reported that production was expected to begin in July for a release in October.
On September 9, 2014, during a press event where the iPhone 6 was also presented, the new product was introduced by Tim Cook as "the next chapter in Apple's story" with a video that focused on its design and the various combinations of bands and case styles that would be available to the consumers. After the reveal video, the auditorium was filled with prolonged applause and a standing ovation as Tim Cook reappeared onstage wearing an Apple Watch. Cook explained that Apple Watch was "a precise timepiece, a new intimate way to communicate from your wrist, and a comprehensive health and fitness device."
In comparison to other Apple products and competing smartwatches, marketing of Apple Watch focused more on advertising the device as a fashion accessory; a 12-page advertising spread for Apple Watch in an issue of Vogue focused primarily on the different combinations of body and band styles available, and downplayed the technological aspects of it. Apple has also, in particular, focused upon its health and fitness-oriented features, competing against dedicated activity trackers, and with WatchOS 3, has expanded on them with fitness tracking for wheelchair users, social sharing in the Activity app, and a new Breathe app to encourage mindfulness.
Pre-orders for the Apple Watch began on April 10, 2015, with the official release on April 24.
Initially, the Apple Watch was not available at the Apple Store; beginning on April 10, 2015, customers could receive appointments for demonstrations and fitting, but the device was not in-stock for walk-in purchases, and had to be reserved and ordered online (however, sales representatives were able to assist in the process). CNET felt that this distribution model was designed to prevent Apple Store locations from having long line-ups due to the high demand. Selected Apple Watch models were available in-store at certain luxury boutiques and authorized Apple resellers in limited quantities. On June 4, 2015, Apple announced that it did plan to stock Apple Watch models at its retail locations. On August 24, 2015, during an earnings call, Best Buy announced that it would begin stocking Apple Watch at its retail stores by the end of September. Both T-Mobile US and Sprint also announced plans to offer Apple Watch through its retail stores.
On September 9, 2015, in Apple's Special Event, Apple launched a new collection of Apple Watch in collaboration with Hermès. This new collection, Apple Watch Hermès, comes in stainless steel body with finely crafted leather bands in distinctive styles from Hermès, including the Single Tour, Double Tour and Cuff models. Initially, Apple Watch Hermès was only available in selected retail stores of Apple and Hermès, but it became available for purchase at Apple's website on January 22, 2016. New colors for Apple-designed bands were also announced, along with a release date for watchOS 2 update.
The device was not branded as "iWatch" (which would put it in line with its pre-existing product lines such as iPod, iPhone, and iPad) due to trademark conflicts in certain territories; in the United States, the "iWatch" trademark is owned by OMG Electronics — who was crowdfunding a device under the same name, and is owned in the European Union by Irish firm Probendi. In July 2015, Probendi sued Apple Inc. for trademark infringement, arguing that through keyword advertising on the Google search engine, it caused advertising for the Apple Watch to appear on search results pages when users searched for the trademarked term "iWatch".
During the Apple Event on March 21, 2016, a refreshed color lineup of watch bands were announced along with a new nylon band. The price of the Sport models were also cut by $50.
The original Apple Watch comes in four collections (Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Edition, and Apple Watch Hermès) and features two case sizes: 38 mm (1.5 in) and 42 mm (1.7 in). The case of the watch includes a mechanism to enable the straps to be interchangeable. For input, the watch includes a "digital crown", which can be turned to scroll or zoom and pressed to return to the home screen, and a touchscreen that features Force Touch technology, which makes it pressure-sensitive and capable of distinguishing between a tap and a press. The watch also has a side button which can be used to display favorite contacts and access Apple Pay. Apple rates the device's battery for 18 hours of mixed usage. Apple Watch is charged by means of inductive charging, using a cable similar to the MagSafe cable from Apple's MacBook family of laptops. If the watch's battery depletes to less than 10 percent, the user is alerted and offered to enable a "power reserve" mode, which allows the user to continue to read the time for an additional 72 hours. The watch then reverts to its original mode when recharged.
Apple does not explicitly market the original Apple Watch as being waterproof, stating that it can withstand splashes of water (such as rain and hand washing), but does not recommend submersion (IPX7). However, external testing by The Iconfactory and others revealed that Apple Watch can function when submerged in various conditions (such as swimming), although its touchscreen experiences "erratic" behavior when submerged. Additionally, usage in water may void its warranty, constituting "damage caused by [use] outside Apple's published guidelines", and apps taking advantage of this may not be allowed per App Store policies which forbid the publishing of apps that encourage users to use devices in ways that may damage them.
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The first-generation Apple Watch uses the S1 system-on-chip. It does not have a built-in GPS chip, instead relying on a paired iPhone for location services. It uses a linear actuator called the "Taptic Engine" to provide haptic feedback when an alert or a notification is received, and is used for other purposes by certain apps. The watch is equipped with a built-in heart rate sensor, which uses both infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes. All versions of the Apple Watch have 8 GB of storage; the operating system allows the user to store up to 2 GB of music and 75 MB of photos. When the Apple Watch is paired with an iPhone, all music on that iPhone is also available to be controlled and accessed from the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch only turns on when you activate the watch (either by lifting your wrist, touching the screen, or pressing a button).
The hardware has a large number of proprietary and custom accessories available for a customized look. Third-party bands and cases can be switched at the user's discretion.
The second generation has two tiers. One, Series 1, has a dual-core variant of the Apple S1 processor, dubbed S1P, and has a lower starting price than first generation watches. The other, Series 2, has a dual-core Apple S2 processor, water resistance to 50 meters, a 2x brighter display (1000 nits vs 450 nits), as well as GPS.
Apple Watch runs watchOS, whose interface is based around a home screen with circular app icons. The OS can be navigated using the touchscreen or the crown on the side of the watch. Apple Watch must be paired with an iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later; this version of iOS introduced the Apple Watch app, which is used to advertise Apple Watch, pairing with an iPhone, customize settings and loaded apps, and highlight compatible apps from the App Store.
It is capable of receiving notifications, messages, and phone calls via a paired iPhone. "Glances" allowed users to swipe between pages containing widget-like displays of information; however, this feature was replaced by a new Control Center. WatchOS also supports Handoff to send content from Apple Watch to an iOS or OS X device, and act as a viewfinder for an iPhone camera, Siri is also available for voice commands, although it is not capable of responding with voice prompts. Apple Watch also supports Apple Pay, and enables its use with older iPhone models that do not contain near-field communication (NFC) support.
Apple Watch's default apps are designed to interact with their iOS counterparts, such as e-mail, phone, Calendar, Messages, Maps, Music, Photos, Reminders, Remote (which can control iTunes and Apple TV), Stocks, and Wallet. Using the Activity and Workout apps, a user can track their physical activity and send data back to the iPhone for use in its Health app and other HealthKit-enabled software. With WatchOS 3, Reminders, Home, Find My Friends, Heart Rate, and Breathe were added to the many stock apps.
watchOS 1.0.1 featured performance improvements and support for additional emoji and languages, and was released on May 29, 2015. At WWDC 2015, Tim Cook announced watchOS 2.0; described by CNET as a "significant revamp", it included a new software development kit that allows more direct access to the device's hardware, new watch faces, the ability to reply to an e-mail, and other features. watchOS 2.0 was set to be released on September 16, 2015, but was delayed due to a bug fix taking longer than expected; it was instead released on September 21, 2015.
watchOS 2.0 was released as a way to bring new features and more improvements to Apple Watch. Although enhancements were seen through this software update, many users pointed out that their apps are almost universally useless due to lag and touches that don't register immediately. However, there are ways to speed up the Apple Watch by turning off several options from the Settings app.
watchOS 3.0 was announced at WWDC 2016, with a priority on performance. Users are able to keep apps running in memory as well as receive background updates and refreshed information. Other updates include a new Dock invoked with the side button to replace the performance-laden Glances, an updated Control Center, and new reply options on Messages. Several new watch faces have also been added, including Minnie Mouse, along with the ability to switch watch faces from the lock screen simply by swiping. A new feature called SOS allows users to hold the dock button to make a call to the local emergency line and pull up the user's Medical ID. Another feature is Activity Sharing, which allows sharing of workouts with friends and even sending their heartbeats to one another. A new app called Breathe guides users through breathing exercises throughout the day, with visuals and haptic feedback. watchOS 3.0 was released to developers on June 13, 2016 and was made available to the public on September 13, 2016.
WatchOS 3.1 was released to the public on October 24, and watchOS 3.2 was released near the end of March, 2017. Both updates added minor improvements and bug fixes.
watchOS supports third-party applications; a WatchKit app runs in the background on the iPhone as an application extension while a set of native user interface resources are installed on Apple Watch. Thus, watchOS apps must be bundled within their respective iOS app, and are synced to the watch either manually, or automatically upon installation of the phone app.
Starting June 1, 2016, the only new watch apps allowed on the App Store will be those developed with the watchOS 2 (or later) SDK; no third-party languages or SDKs can be used to develop apps.
As of October 2016, two generations and three series of Apple Watch have been released. The series in bold are the current generation of the device:
- Apple Watch (2015–2016)
- Apple Watch Series 1 (2016–present)
- Apple Watch Series 2 (2016–present)
Apple Watch Series 2 models are divided into four "collections": Apple Watch, Apple Watch Nike+, Apple Watch Hermès and Apple Watch Edition. They are differentiated by combinations of cases, bands, and exclusive watch faces; Apple Watch comes with either aluminum or stainless steel cases, and various watch bands; Apple Watch Nike+ uses aluminum cases and special variants of sport band; Apple Watch Hermès uses stainless steel cases and Hermès watch bands; and Apple Watch Edition comes with ceramic cases (the original generation Apple Watch Edition used 18-karat gold).
Apple Watch Series 1 models are only available in aluminum cases and sport bands.
Each model comes in a 38- or 42-millimeter body, with the 42 mm size having a slightly larger screen and battery. Each model has various color and band options. Featured Apple-made bands include colored Sport bands, Woven Nylon Band, Classic Buckle, Modern Buckle, Leather Loop, Milanese Loop, and a Link Bracelet.
Following the announcement, initial impressions from technology and watch industry observers were varied; the watch was praised by some for its "design, potential capabilities and eventual usefulness", while others offered criticism of these same aspects. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said he "can't wait" to try it, and Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson described it as "extremely cool" and an example of future technology that is "much more embedded into our lives". However, Evan Dashevsky of PC Magazine said it offered nothing new in terms of functionality compared to the Moto 360, except the customizable vibration notifications. In November 2014, Apple Watch was listed by Time as one of the 25 Best Inventions of 2014.
Initial reviews for the device have been generally positive with some caveats. Reviewers praised the watch's potential ability to integrate into everyday life and the overall design of the product, but noted issues of speed and price. Many reviewers described the watch as functional and convenient, while also noting failure to offer as much potential functionality as preceding smartphones. Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times mentioned the device's steep learning curve, stating it took him "three long, often confusing and frustrating days" to become accustomed to it. Some reviewers also compared it to competing products, such as Android Wear devices, and claimed "The Smartwatch Finally Makes Sense". Reviewers had mixed opinions on battery life though, with Geoffrey Fowler of The Wall Street Journal saying "the battery lives up to its all-day billing, but sometimes just barely," and others compared it to the Samsung Gear 2, which "strolls through three days of moderate usage." Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times used several applications over a period of days. He concluded that there is no "killer application" so far besides telling the time, which is the basic function of a wristwatch anyhow.
When using the Apple Watch, some users have reported issues using the heart monitoring feature due to permanent skin conditions including tattoos. The Watch uses photoplethysmography technology (PPG) which utilizes the green LED lights to measure heart rates. To gauge a user's heart rate, the watch flashes green light from the LEDs at the skin and records the amount of this light that is absorbed by the red pigment of the blood. However, under certain circumstances the skin may not allow for the light absorption to be read properly and thus provide inaccurate results.
Some users have complained that the logo and text on the back of the Apple Watch Sport model, primarily the space gray version, can be easily worn off.
The first generation Apple Watch Edition, where models could retail from $10,000 USD to $17,000 USD (the latter being 18k gold), has received a lukewarm reception as the Apple brand "hasn’t established its value yet in gold" compared to similar-priced timepieces from Rolex and Patek Philippe. These Swiss luxury manufacturers were known for their "products’ intricate craftsmanship [that] justifies that high price tag". An analyst suggested “What makes a high-end watch? It’s the Swiss movements, the inner workings. That’s why collectors buy them. This [Apple Watch Edition] has none of that. It’s inserting a high-end case on a piece of electronics” which was not endlessly upgradable and would become obsolete in a couple years like other tech gadgets. In addition, Apple Retail Stores that carry the Apple Watch Edition would be “totally antithetical to their current retail model”, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, since “You can’t have people touching it. You can’t have it out on counters. You have the same problems that retail jewelers have, in terms of distraction thefts, in terms of switching, in terms of grab and runs". Apple has apparently given up on competing in the luxury watch market after failing to make much headway, as the second-generation Apple Watch Edition is made of ceramic and sells for $1,249 USD.
Financial analysts offered early sales estimates from a few million to as many as 34.7 million in the first year. Time's Tim Bajarin summarized the breadth of reactions, writing that "there is not enough information yet to determine how this product will fare when it finally reaches the market next year".
Owing to the inadequacy of materials, the Apple Watch's delivery was delayed from its initial pre-order release date of April 10, 2015. As a result, only 22 percent of the pre-ordered Apple Watches were despatched in the US during the weekend after the release date. It is estimated Apple received almost one million Apple Watch pre-orders in the US during the initial six hours of the pre-order period on April 10, 2015, after which it sold out and further orders would start delivering in June. A report later on by an analyst stated that Apple Watch was already a $10 billion business during its first year.
Although the Apple Watch was launched to much fanfare, Apple has not disclosed any sales figures of its Watch. According to an estimate by IDC, Apple shipped over 12 million units in 2015. In late 2016, a veteran of the Swiss watch industry said Apple sold about 20 million watches and had a market share of about 50 percent.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Apple Watch.|
- Apple Watch – official site