What we don’t know about Apple Watch
We know it’s beautiful. We know you want one. Apple’s told us a lot about its new category-clobbering product — but here are some things we don’t know…
Topping the laundry list of first-world problems is battery life, that bane of modern existence. Despite committing an entire slide to power requirements on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at the recent 9/9 launch event, Apple said nothing about how long the Watch will last on a charge. CEO Tim Cook did mention the handy induction-charging attachment that makes it easy to charge “at night”, but it’s unclear how Apple Watch will stack up against Android Wear and other competitors in this regard. There are two possible reasons why the company chose not to reveal this; battery life on the Apple Watch is either really bad, or they don’t want competitors to know how good it is yet.
Apple has revealed that the Watch has to be paired to an iPhone, but we don’t know the extent of that requirement yet. Can I track my runs without having to take my iPhone along? Will third party developers be able to create apps for the Watch without a partner app for iPhone? It’s unclear just how useful the Apple Watch will be when you don’t have your iPhone nearby, or what app developers will be allowed to do with it.
The Apple Watch comes in two sizes — 38mm and 42mm in height. It’s available in six different alloys including rose gold, silver and, my personal favourite, ‘space gray’ aluminium. There are six different bands in many different colours and the Apple Watch comes in three versions — Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition. You’ll really be able to get something that feels unique and will probably spend a long time in an Apple store making it so. What isn’t clear is the differences between models. Is the standard Watch as good for tracking activities as the Watch Sport? Does the 38mm Watch have all the same features, especially battery life, as the 42mm version?
Apple’s answer to interactivity on a tiny touch screen is its digital crown. Paying homage to the protruding dials on analogue watches, the digital crown is both a button and a wheel for interacting with the Watch. Thing is, it’s on the top right of the Watch, which becomes the bottom-left if you wear it on the wrist of your right arm. I’m guessing the screen will flip, so that won’t be a problem, but it’s unclear how friendly the Apple Watch will be for left-handed customers. It’s impossible that Apple overlooked this, so it’ll be interesting to see how they’ve solved it.
The Apple Watch will be available from around March 2015, but it’s unclear what the global rollout strategy is. When will the rest of the world officially see the Watch? This will depend on demand in primary markets and resulting stock levels, so it’s impossible to estimate right now. Apple must have a plan, but they haven’t shared it yet. My guess it’ll be some time before we see Apple Watch outside of the USA — probably in time for the festive season, but not before.
There have already been some comparative reviews of the Apple Watch versus its Android Wear competitors, but I’ve been wondering whether we’d have Android watches in the first place without rumours that Apple was working on one? Samsung kicked things off with the Galaxy Gear last year that, at the time, seemed to be a ploy to get to market before Apple did. Android Wear came next and we now have the Moto 360 and some other solid options — but is it fair to say that Apple sparked this market even though they weren’t first with products on shelves? The Apple rumours came first, competitors second.