On September 9th, 2014, Apple's long anticipated smartwatch finally went from rumor to reality. The Apple Watch was introduced at a high profile launch event — Apple's biggest in years — with CEO Tim Cook describing it as the company's "most personal device ever." Apple Watch features an all-new user interface optimized for its wrist-sized display. It will be available in three different "collections" beginning in early 2015 at a base price of $349. But other key questions (like battery life) currently remain unknown. This StoryStream gathers all Apple Watch-related news starting with its official unveiling.
May 6, 2015
First, Apple patented the rectangle with rounded corners, and now it's done something similar for the square with rounded corners. Well, sort of. The iPhone maker has been granted a design patent for the Apple Watch, preventing other manufacturers from copying the look of its first ever wearable. The patent is straightforward and simply consists of nine line drawings of the Apple Watch's body — a curved square shape with indentations for the watch bands to slot into, and prominences for the digital crown, single button, and sensor array on the rear.Read Article >
Two images from the patent showing the front and rear of the Apple Watch. (Apple/USPTO)
Apr 23, 2015
Apple's Watch companion app for iOS is what you'll need not only to set up an Apple Watch for the first time, but also how you'll discover new apps that work with it. Yet, up until now it was unclear just how exactly the second feature would work. That's changed today with Apple quietly flipping the switch in its app to open up the built-in App Store for WatchKit apps.Read Article >
Feb 17, 2015
Spend a few minutes on Indiegogo and you'll come across a series of extraordinarily ambitious wearable devices promising to detect everything from your sleep patterns, to your stress levels, to the number of calories you've burned in the past hour. They've incited plenty of skepticism and the latest report from The Wall Street Journal shows why: the Apple Watch was initially intended as exactly that sort of multifunctional health-monitoring device, but the sensors available just weren't good enough. Heart activity, blood pressure, and stress levels were among the things Apple wanted to track with the Watch, however issues of complexity and reliability — such as getting accurate readings on users with hairy arms or dry skin — forced Apple into changing its plans.Read Article >
That's not to say that the iPhone maker didn't try its hardest, with the WSJ's sources describing the four-year Watch project as a "black hole" that sucked in resources from elsewhere in the company. But in the end, not even the most advanced sensor technology that Apple could obtain or design was good enough to perform all those sophisticated health-monitoring functions. Additional regulatory hurdles could also arise if Apple were to try and interpret its data to suggest health advice, and all of these issues combined have compounded to produce the much more conventional Watch that is set to be released in April. Still, Apple appears confident that it will sell many Watches and has apparently ordered between five and six million units to be manufactured for the first three months of availability.
Jan 27, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook just announced that the Apple Watch will begin shipping in April. Cook revealed the shipping timeframe during Apple's quarterly earnings call with investors; the company enjoyed a blockbuster quarter backed by massive iPhone sales and huge growth in China. Now it will look to carry that success forward with the launch of Apple Watch, its first major new product since the debut of iPad in 2010. "We’re making great progress in the development of it," Cook said. He also revealed that Apple is encouraged by the response from developers and app makers so far, saying "We’re seeing some incredible innovation."Read Article >
Update: Read our review of Apple Watch.
Sep 30, 2014
When Apple debuted its watch earlier this month, it was keen to invite fashion bloggers and the press. Now it's letting anyone see it, as long as they're in Paris today and don't mind staring at it through glass. The company is showing off its watch at fashion store Colette in Paris, marking the first time it's being shown off to the public since an invite-only event Apple held in Cupertino a few weeks ago. The watches are behind window displays that went up overnight, though people can get a closer look at them on the inside of the store from 11 AM to 7 PM local time.Read Article >
Sep 23, 2014
The iPhone came first, but it was of secondary importance. Apple’s big event this month relegated the company’s best known and best selling product to the role of an opening act for "the next chapter in Apple’s history": the Watch. With a perfectly pitched tremor of emotion in his voice, CEO Tim Cook finally confirmed all the rumors of an Apple wearable device, while leaving some mystery about how it will work and everything it will do. The product itself was almost less important than the statement the company was making: the future of personal computing will be on your wrist and Apple has the time machine to transport you there.Read Article >
In spite of never once uttering the word ‘smartwatch,’ Apple is now one of the most committed participants in the nascent smartwatch business and has brought its halo of attention to the entire category. Because this company launches entirely new products so rarely and so successfully, the Apple Watch has already enjoyed more popular attention than any other device of its kind. Al Jazeera, Asahi Shimbun, the BBC, CNN, Reuters, Men’s Fitness, The Times of India, and Vogue have all covered the Watch extensively. Everyone from the stodgiest paper of record to freestyling fashion bloggers has dedicated a column of prose or a slot of time to mulling over what Apple’s Watch means for the collective future of humanity.
Sep 11, 2014
Apple has been quiet on its Watch's battery life, but it doesn't sound like you'll want to go more than a day off the charger. "We anticipate that people will charge nightly which is why we designed an innovative charging solution that combines our MagSafe technology and inductive charging," Apple spokesperson Nat Kerris told Recode, which quotes a separate source as saying that the Watch lasts "about a day right now."Read Article >
The Apple Watch won't see release until early next year, so there's still some time for Cupertino to tweak its power efficiency. And if it can reliably make it through a single day, that would still be an improvement on Motorola's Moto 360 — though other Android Wear watches like the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch have shown slightly better performance. Either way, you shouldn't expect any sort of breakthrough in this regard from the Apple Watch.
Sep 10, 2014
We're stood at the foothills of a very large and formidable mountain that has the perfect smartwatch at its peak. It's still very early, not everyone's sure of their footing or the right course to take, but we are all instinctively drawn toward that pinnacle. The thing is, even with all the months and maybe years standing between humanity and its ideal wrist gadget, the winners of the race are already known. Google and Apple won.Read Article >
Attempts at standalone smartwatches seem to resurface every few years. There was Microsoft's SPOT, the LG GD910 Watch Phone, and the Meta Watch — to name just three in the past decade — and none of them ever amounted to anything more than an intriguing bulletpoint in the history of personal electronics. Maybe you might have passed by one on your way to buying the latest and greatest new smartphone. It's actually the evolution of smartphones into the primary computer for many people that has now created the opportunity for smartwatches to flourish.
Sep 10, 2014
Typefaces are a funny thing: to the untrained eye, they can be difficult to tell apart, yet they can make a world of difference in the design and usability of a product. Apple recently swapped Helvetica for Helvetica Neue in iOS and Lucida Grande for Helvetica Neue in OS X Yosemite — but for the Apple Watch, it went a little deeper.Read Article >
The Watch features a new typeface that Apple designed in-house "to maximize legibility," it says — a noble and important goal when you're dealing with a particularly small display. Interestingly, Google's Roboto was designed with some of the same goals in mind when it rolled out with Android 4.0 almost three years ago.
Sep 9, 2014
The Moto 360 is too aggressive. It's too big. It's too shiny. Its face is too large in comparison to its bezel. Its strap flops out from the edge of its case like a dog's tongue on a hot day. That's my opinion. Many will disagree with me, but I don't care. I will never wear a Moto 360. I might wear an Apple Watch, though. I expect millions of others might too.Read Article >
Let's get one thing out of the way: the Apple Watch is not a pretty watch. A bulbous slab of metal, its case is a chunky blob with a square face and bulging sides. But while not conventionally attractive, it does achieve one extremely important goal: anonymity. However big it may be, the soft lines of the case seem to almost fade into insignificance, shifting focus to the strap and display. There will be 34 Apple Watch models across three "collections," and thanks to an ingenious design flourish in the form of a proprietary strap system, each looks distinct.
Sep 9, 2014
Apple unveiled its big attempt at defining what a smartwatch should look like today with the introduction of the Apple Watch. There are already quite a few competitors vying to define what should go on your wrist, however: Google beat Apple to the punch just a few months ago by releasing Android Wear, and watches powered by it have been hitting stores all summer.Read Article >
Update: Read our review of Apple Watch.
Sep 9, 2014
Apple unveiled its new smartwatch today, and CEO Tim Cook spent a lot of time onstage talking about the two major selling points of the device. "It's a new, intimate way to communicate from your wrist, and a comprehensive health and fitness device." The Apple Watch is being pushed as an accessory to help the average person lead a more active life and for professional athletes to take their training to the next level. There are already a lot of wearable fitness trackers on the market, but none have managed to become mainstream best sellers. If it works as promised, the Apple Watch is poised to change all that.Read Article >
Sep 9, 2014
Apple announced its first wearable today, the new Apple Watch. It's packed with a lot of features, including voice controls, tight integration with the iPhone, custom notifications, and support for Apple Pay, the company's new payments platform. It's going to be available next year starting at $349.Read Article >
Update: Read our Apple Watch review.
One of the unanswered questions of the just announced Apple Watch was this: How would people communicate with such a small screen? Now we have the answer: with "digital touch," a program that encourages communication without words.Read Article >
Rather than attempting to, say, text a message on the watch, you can tap a message: the watch can detect when you push its pressure sensors, then buzz the device of the person you're talking to accordingly.
Apple now has an entirely new category of device on its hands with the Apple Watch, meaning it'll need a robust group of third-party developers working to power it. Apple's always been the best at roping in high-profile teams, and now the first round of its new partnerships is here, powered by the company's special developer program for the watch: WatchKit.Read Article >
The company reeled off a long list of third-party partnerships as part of the announcement. The third-party apps include social: you can check your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest in a watch-optimized format using the system. Those were expected; some others were less so. You'll also be able to find your car using a BMW app, check out scores with the MLB app, and even control the temperature in your home with a Honeywell app.If you're heading out on a run, you can tell friends with a Nike app. If you'd rather fly, there's an American Airlines app that works by touch.
Sep 9, 2014
Apple is giving a demo of the Apple Watch right now, and we're seeing a whole slew of new custom UI interactions to control such a small-screened device.Read Article >
From a hardware perspective the most notable elements are an iPhone-like touch screen and the so-called "digital crown" — a dial on the right side of the device that you can spin and push like a button. Its most basic function is to zoom in and out of the interface. As Apple noted, the pinch-and-zoom gesture doesn't make a lot of sense on the small screen, but using the digital crown keeps you from obscuring the screen. Pressing the digital crown as a button quickly returns you to the home screen.
Sep 9, 2014Read Article >
Apple just unveiled its Apple Watch and the company's digital assistant, Siri, will be one key feature. Pressing down on the crown of the Apple Watch will activate Siri, and you'll get the usual Siri results like nearby movie theatres, restaurants, and the like. Just like Siri on iPhone, Siri on the Apple Watch is voice activated for searches.
Sep 9, 2014
Apple just announced that its new Watch will sport a high-quality sapphire Retina display that serves as a touchscreen and can detect force, a new paradigm for interfaces on wearables that pervades the entire UI. Apple touted the capabilities of the new screen during the announcement, saying the device can determine between a tap and a press.Read Article >
Apple VP Kevin Lynch demoed the device onstage, explaining the new Force Touch feature. Force touches are essentially new gestures that allow the user to better customize the device and dive deeper into the interface. It's a new idea, and we're curious how intuitive it is in practice.
Sep 9, 2014Read Article >
We can finally lay months of rumors and speculation to rest. The iWatch is real and it's called the Apple Watch. Tim Cook describes it as the next chapter in Apple's history. It's a "comprehensive health and fitness device," says Cook, much as it was expected, but it's also "an extremely precise and customizable timepiece." It is the most personal device that Apple's ever created. The key innovation that Apple is touting is a breakthrough in input mechanics, using a Digital Crown on the Watch that can scroll, zoom, and navigate the user interface without obstructing the display.