Apple's Big Reveal: 5 Key Apple Watch Features | NECN

Apple's Big Reveal: 5 Key Apple Watch Features

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rumors of the Apple Watch have been swirling since 2012, and while Apple is not the first to debut a smartwatch, it has arguably designed the most elegant wearable yet.

    Why isn't it called iWatch? Apple may have been unable to license the name as it is owned by Swatch.

    Name aside, here are the top features to know about the Apple Watch.

    Requires an iPhone, Old or New

    The watches require an iPhone: either the new 6 and 6 Plus, or the older iPhone 5, 5S and 5C, meaning 200 million people can already use the device, Cook said.

    The Handoff iOS 8 feature will let you start composing an email on the Apple Watch and finish it on your phone, iPad or Mac.

    The Apple Watch will start at $349 and will be available in early 2015. In addition, the newly introduced payment system Apple Pay will work with the watch.

    A New User Interface: The Digital Crown

    The Apple Watch is displayed after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Apple Inc.
    Photo credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

    As CEO Tim Cook pointed out, with each new product category Apple created a new UI: the Mac's mouse, the iPod's clickwheel, the iPhone's multi-touch. For the Apple Watch, there is the Digital Crown.

    The Digital Crown, a souped-up dial on the right side, provides a way to scroll, zoom and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display. A wearer can scroll through lists and messages, make selections and more without obstructing the screen.

    From CEO Tim Cook: "What we DIDN'T do is shrink down the iPhone interface and put it on your wrist. That'd be a horrible experience!"

    Interactivity and Communication

    The watch will have Siri, Maps and Photos apps, among others. The Maps app shows the way and guides wearers to go left or right with a tap. From a feature called Friends, wearers can make a call, send a message, customize emojis or a sketch made with their finger.

    There's also a feature called "Glances," which you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see stocks, meetings, weather and world time.

    Wearers can also send their friends a "gentle tap on the wrist" through haptic feedback (or tiny vibrations), even if they are thousands of miles away. They can also capture and send their heartbeat by pressing two fingers on the screen.

    More than a Health Tracking Device

    Apple is pushing the watch heavily toward fitness-savy consumers. A "Workout" app will monitor calories burned and miles run, and an "Activity" app will show the same metrics over the course of a day.

    The watch measures three aspects of movement inside "rings": Move, Exercise and Stand. The Move ring gives an overview of how active the wearer is, while the Exercise ring measures brisk activity, and the Stand ring shows how often the wearer has stood up to take a break from sitting.

    An accelerometer measures body movement while a custom sensor measures intensity by tracking the wearer's heart rate.

    Customizable Faces, Bands

    The new Apple Watch will be highly customizable.
    Photo credit: AP

    There are three watch collections: the Apple Watch, made with stainless steel; the Apple Watch Sport, inside an aluminum casing; and the Apple Watch Edition, made of 18k gold. There is also a smaller-sized watch for smaller wrists.

    For the bands, there are six different versions, made of leather, polymer, metal mesh and stainless steel, and each has a mechanism that makes the straps interchangeable.

    The screen is made of ultra-durable sapphire, resistant to cracks. Wearers can personalize the capabilities and appearance of the faces.