Tech Editor Graham Harkness Takes A Look At Apple’s Latest Installment: The iWatch

So Jesus Cooke did his latest Keynote recently. To the rapturous applause of a million pre-screened disciples gazing into the screen of slow motion shots and emotionally epic music our lives are about to become that more closer to heaven. Jesus Cooke got his standing eventually after a number of false starts by the front row faithful. I watched a bit more of the launch but to be honest when people gasped and guffawed at the primary selling point of being “synchronised with universal time standard” … so it tells the time Tim?  Okay so perhaps I am being too cynical. I will point out from the offset that I am not an apple believer and I am put off by the growing emotional connection we have to our smartphones, tablets, smart watches, smart TV’s, smart kettles and smart toilet paper holders. The first thing I did when I got my Samsung S4 was to remove the header “life companion” from the main screen. So to return to the messiah’s keynote, I am immediately anti-smartwatch when I’m obviously being sold something very obviously on emotion rather than specifications and actual usability.

The watch is a small device that performs most of the functions of your smartphone without having to actually take your smartphone out of your pocket. Do you need to know the time? No more having to waste precious seconds getting that phone out of your pocket and spilling your Frappuccino? Now you only have to look at your wrist and away you go. If only someone had thought of this sooner!

Here is what we learned about the device at the latest press conference.

  • The watch comes in a number of models. One of which is the sport which is composed of customized aluminium alloy. Comes in Silver (aka white) or Space Grey aka (Grey). Colour bands are made of high-performance plastic (aka plastic). $349 for 38mm, $399 for 42mm sizes. Expect to pay about €400 for one over here when they are released.
  • The non-plastic version of the watch starts at $549 (38mm) and goes up to $1,049, depending on the type of band you chose.
  • As usual there is always the opportunity for sickening opulence with one version of the Watch with an 18-karat gold case starting at $10,000, with options ranging all the way to $17,000.
  • You will be able to pre-order all models starting April 10. You should have your watch by the end of that month.
  • The watch communicates with iPhone over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This means that you are not restricted to Bluetooth as long as both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network but remember that when you our out you will have the Bluetooth burning away on your iPhone and Watch drinking those precious battery bars on the already sub-par iPhone battery life.

There are some pretty cool activities you can perform with the watch especially when you are using it with a friends watch. You can send signals between devices such as send a drawing over and have it pop onto friends’ watches. Or tap to get a friend’s attention. Or event send your heartbeat.

This all sounds like a lot of fun but is it really necessary? The price may put people off. I certainly wouldn’t be mad on spending a few hundred on a device that duplicates the functionality of something already on my person. I predict that the watch will succeed but through its own momentum rather than its merit. Apple could release a toaster and if one a small portion of Apple’s devotees were to purchase it, Apple would make enough to buy a small series of tropical islands and call it a roaring success. The watch will be a lot of fun but I don’t see it making much of a splash.

Tech Editor

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