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Tech Time: The new Apple Watch features and preview

apple-watchIf you have been paying any attention to recent tech news, you have noticed a slight focus on the new Apple Watch.  Now I have to be firm in saying that this article is showing the new features and is not a review.  I promise the review will come after the release.

Apple started taking pre-orders for the new watch and is set to release later this month on April 24th.  There are 3 models of the watch coming out, The Watch Sport, the Watch, and the Watch Edition (high end).  Each have customizable bands that may alter the price a bit, but we will dive into pricing later in the article.

The watch has an 18 hour battery life that has a low battery state in which the only function is telling time for a couple more hours until fully depleted.  Apple is using iOS 8.2 which can work really nicely with your iPhone.

Now what does this watch actually do?! Think if it as a small version of your phone, minus, well, the phone part.  Unfortunately no camera, but we can expect Apple to release a watch that may have one in the future.  Receiving notifications from social media sites, talking to Siri, and feeling taptic feedback seem to be the obvious features of the watch.  It can also work with select apps without the iPhone including Apple Pay, Passbook flight check-ins, and listening to music during a workout.  It does have an 8GB of storage with some limitations on the amount of photos and music you can have directly on the device.  As of right now, you can answer or decline calls from the watch, but have to use your iPhone to continue the conversation.  Apple may release an update later to allow us to talk to our wrists, but for now, were stuck with talking on our phones.

Apple Watch built in apps are Activity, Messages, Workout, Weather, Calendar, Mail, Photos, Camera Remote (for those long range selfies), Music, Passbook, and Apple Maps.  Already over 1,000 third-party apps have been released to the App Store and it’s impossible to name the best as the list grows every hour.  The Apple Watch heart rate monitor and Activity app tracks exercise minutes, movement and how long you actually stand.  With the taptic feedback function, the watch will vibrate to tell you you’ve been sitting for too long.  The Workout app gives real-time stats for your total exercise time, calories, distance and pace while reminding you your goals and overall achievements.  Without GPS, using this as a strict coaching tool isn’t the best yet.

The Apple Watch battery is supposed to last all day, but Tim Cook promised a solid 18 hours out of the unit.  The Power Reserve mode starts when the battery is critically low leaving you with only the time on display.  The watch can use the magnetic charger that sticks to the back of the housing.  Right now there’s no information on the charge time to a full battery, but we will find out after release.

The watches will come in two different sizes: 38mm (1.5in) and a 42mm (1.65in).  The 38mm will have a resolution of 272 x 340, while the 42mm uses a 312 x 390 display.  The case around the display is made up of custom stainless steel, aluminum, or gold, depending on the model you choose.  The Apple Watch Edition features an 18-karat yellow or rose gold for that high end look.

Worrying about the watch in the shower?  Don’t worry.  Tim Cook stated that he wears his in the shower with no issues.  The device is water resistant and has been certified at IPX7 meaning it can last up to 30 min in about 1 meter of water.

The watches casing uses a circular knob called the “digital crown.”  Though the watch has touch screen capabilities, using the pinch-to-zoom mechanic wont work on the unit itself.  According to Apple, the display is too small for a classic feature to work properly.  Simply twisting the knob zooms into app selection, pictures, and zooms in on Apple Maps.  Pushing the button acts as the home button.  Apple Watch doesn’t use the Touch ID, but uses an anti-theft pass code whenever it’s taken off.

One of the most interesting features the watch has to offer is the taptic feedback.  Lets make a scenario.  You and your friends are at a party.  Lame music, no food, and you feel the night just dragging on.  Pulling out your phone to text your friends “Lets bail,” may be too awkward.  Want to leave the party discretely? Simply tap the button under the Digital Crown, select your friends contact information and tap your display.  Your friends receive the tapping and rather than checking their phone, they get the sign you want to leave the party.  The vibration is unique the watch that no other watch has ever had before.  You can also share your heartbeat with your friends, but I don’t see any use in this at all.

The Apple Watch is only compatible with the iPhone 5 or later.  Unfortunately if your an Android user, the watch will not link up with your phone, even with the new Samsung Galaxy S6.

All_Watches

To make things easier to explain price, here is a list of the model of the watch with the bands:

  • Apple Watch Sport is $349 for the 38mm and $399 for the 42mm.  Buying the band alone is $49.
  • Apple Watch is $549 for the 38mm and $599 for the 42mm.  Difference is it replaces aluminum with stainless steel case and sapphire glass.  Buying the band alone costs $49
  • Apple Watch with no-frills Classic Buckle costs $649 for the 38mm and $699 for the 42mm.  By itself, the buckle costs $149 and is claimed to be made in a famous tannery in the Netherlands.
  • Apple Watch with Milanese Loop is $649 for 38mm and $699 for the 42mm.  Granted its the same price as the no-frills buckle, it definitely looks better than the leather.  The Milanese Loop is woven stainless steel mesh with a magnetic adjustable clasp.
  • Apple Watch with Leather Loop is $700 for only the 42mm size.  The band alone is $149 and claims its leather to be milled in Italy.
  • Apple Watch with Modern Buckle is $749 for only the 38mm.  The top grain leather band uses magnetic enclosures and runs $249 alone.
  • Apple Watch with stainless steel Link Bracelet is $949 for the 38mm and $999 for the 42mm.  You can get the Link Bracelet in space gray for $1,049 in a 39mm size or $1,099 in a 42mm size.  The bracelet by itself costs $449 from the store, more money than the entry level watch alone.
  • Apple Watch Edition (low end) comes in 18-karat gold.  The 38mm is going for $10,000 while the 42mm goes for $12,000.  Price varies with the band used with the watch, but for anyone that can afford this puppy, they can get whatever band they want.
  • Apple Watch Edition (high end) starts at $15,000 for yellow gold with the classic buckle is only made in the 42mm size.  For $17,000 you can get the 18-karat rose gold case with the buckle.

So for anyone who is buying the $17,000 version of the watch, PLEASE SEND US PICTURES! I do hope this article gave you more information about the Apple Watch and maybe helped you decide with watch model to buy.  Unlike camping out for new Apple products, stores are setting up appointments to set the devices up with new customers.

Happy Tech Tuesday Collectors and have a great rest of your week!

#Apple #Applewatch #Tech #TechTuesday

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