Invitees greeted Apple’s long-awaited unveiling of its smartwatch line with a standing ovation at an industry event in Cupertino, California on September 9. At a press conference, CEO Tim Cook went on to say, “Apple Watch is the most personal device we ever created. It works seamlessly with iPhone and is also a comprehensive health and fitness device.”
Elements of the flatscreen Apple Watch include a throwback-style manual twist control which allows users to rapidly cycle through the device’s features, as well as a “digital touch” communication button to let users send data to other smartwatches. The customizable display also supports a built-in gyrometer and accelerometer, and the watch is capable of storing and sharing a comprehensive range of health, fitness, and personal data.
During a live onstage demo, Apple vice-president Kevin Lynch also showed further features to the crowd, including music apps, astronomical tracking features, and haptic capabilities including the ability to program walking or driving directions. The Apple Watch is also fully compatible with social media, allowing users to instantly receive notifications from Facebook and other sites.
As expected, the Apple Watch also has built-in near field communications (NFC) capabilities. The NFC-enabled smartwatch will facilitate digital payments at points of sale and instant bill payments, among other features.
The company also confirmed that it will soon release the SDK to Apple Watch app developers, enabling them to design and develop their own apps for the device. Industry observers note that the Apple Watch will be faced with heavy competition in the smartwatch segment, and that app developers will play a key role in determining the future success of the new device. Apple also revealed that the Apple Watch line will go on sale in early 2015, with retail prices starting at $349.
That’s good news for San Francisco app development companies, who are likely to be able to market Apple Watch apps in a dedicated section of the Apple App Store. One key design motif is that users will have access to a long list of personal health and fitness data, in keeping with trends already emerging in the wearables industry.Tags: apple payments, apple product launch, apple watch, connected devices, driving directions app, fitness device, haptic, heath and fitness apps, iwatch, kevin lynch, medical apps, medical device, mobile commerce, music apps, nfc, nfc payments, sapphire screen, smartwatch launch, tim cook, walking directions