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Future Tech: 

What makes the Apple Watch so different?

Apple watch

Apple Watch has finally arrived!

The Apple iWatch is here at last! Except, Apple being Apple, it isn’t called the iWatch at all. So let’s start this again shall we?

The Apple Watch is here at last! Yesterday’s announcement pulls the plug on years’ worth of mounted speculation, as millions of words in accumulated ‘rumour’ articles become completely and emphatically redundant. So now the Apple Watch has a confirmed design, functionality, release date and price, what separates it from the smartwatches that got there first? Here are just five ways that Apple’s timepiece stands out from the pack.

1) It’s designed for everyone

In a rare interview, Apple’s senior vice president of design Jony Ive told ABC’s Nightline that he has been working on the Apple Watch for three years. That’s three years of plotting, tinkering and perfecting the product behind closed doors, hoping to achieve the same ubiquity as the iPod, iPhone and iPad before it.

Ive’s masterstroke, then, is the sheer variation in available styles. Unlike a phone or an MP3 player, a watch is a personal choice and its appeal deteriorates once everyone is walking around with the same device on their wrist. Apple have got around this by taking the Swatch approach, offering the Apple Watch in two sizes, with 11 different watch faces and a variety of straps and colours. There’s something for everyone, then, and choosing the right watch for you is all part of the fun.

2) A watch that puts fitness first

The wearable market continues to boom, but there’s only so much space on our wrists to accommodate the ever-growing number of gadgets. For a smart watch to be truly successful, then, it needs to take on the fitness trackers head-on and offer something else.

The Apple Watch appears to understand that, making a big deal of the Apple Healthkit app which will launch later this month with iOS 8. The Watch itself can measure your heart rates and also comes with an accelerometer which will count your steps and how many calories you’ve burned.

Apple watch 3

The Apple Watch comes in two sizes, with 11 different watch faces and a variety of straps and colours

3) The real jewel is in the crown

One of the neatest features of the Apple Watch is its crown – otherwise known as the knob on the side. While most smartwatches so far have removed this analogue throwback altogether, Apple have reinvented and updated it. Instead of twisting the crown to alter the time and date then, here you can use it to zoom in and out of certain screens and scroll up and down on others

The effect is to give Apple Watch the classic feel of a regular wristwatch, but keeping it up-to-date with modern technology. A ‘pinching’ zoom technique is too fiddly for a small watch screen, so utilising the crown is a smart solution.

4) It puts the ‘smart’ into smartwatch

Speaking of smart, the Apple Watch is packed full of clever little features that push at the limits of what wearables can do. For instance, the watch is capable of analysing the content of your incoming text messages and can suggest a reply based on what it finds. Of course, you might well want to word it yourself, which you can even do by dictation by simply talking into the device’s microphone.

As well as all its links to Apple TV, iTunes and your iPhone, the watch will also have other surprises. It’ll adjust its screen brightness according to the time of day, it’ll send animated emojis and then there’s Digital Touch – through which users can draw and send quick images to friends with minimal effort. With all of this technology in place, we can’t wait to see what its capable once third-party developers get involved.

5) It will have the best apps

Those developers will be champing at the bit to get their hand on WatchKit, which will be used for developing a wide range of dedicated watch apps. Apple has proven itself to be king in this field more than once with both the iPhone and iPad, and now it’ll look to complete the hat-trick.

Encouraging signs are there already, as well as the Facebook and Twitter apps you’d expect, it emerged that W Hotels is working on app that’ll unlock your room and even alter the thermostat. It’s not out until early 2015, but we’re liking the sound of the Apple Watch already.

Photos: Apple

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