We have some exciting news for all Apple lovers in India: Apple Watch is finally here!! The much awaited smartwatch will officially be launched on 6th November. However, pre-registrations are already open on websites of authorised Apple resellers like Imagine. The price starts at Rs. 30,900 for the 38mm Sport Model and goes up to a staggering 14.2 lacs for the Gold Edition!So what exactly is an Apple Watch?
It is Apple’s first wearable device – a smartwatch that pairs up with your iPhone and does things like access notifications, respond to messages and emails (using Siri), make calls, track activity, and use third party productivity and fun apps.
The watch has been available internationally for over 6 months and is now being released in India.
Look and Feel
There is no doubt that the Apple Watch has the typical Apple lust factor. Apart from being a sleek looking device, it has some cool innovations too.
Digital Crown: Apple has taken the standard component of old school watches – the crown – and given it a modern twist. The digital crown executes functions like scrolling through the screen and zooming in and out of photos.
Force Touch: Apple Watch was the first product to get the force touch experience. It works just like the 3D Touch on iPhone 6S wherein extra interactions can be done by pressing down hard on the screen.
Taptic Engine: A well thought of innovation, taptic engine gives you varied types of feedback (read: vibrations) for different actions. For example, you will get a very subtle buzz for messages and a slightly stronger feedback for calls. This tells you what’s happening without evening look at the Watch!
Here’s an in-depth look at what an Apple Watch does (apart from showing the time, of course).
Notifications: It hopes to provide a seamless connection between checking your phone and the natural habit of looking at your wrist watch from time to time. The Watch is capable of displaying most notifications your iPhone receives. These include, but are not limited to, iMessages, WhatsApp, Missed Calls, Calendar Events, email, and Twitter.
Siri: The Watch also lets you bring up Siri with just the press of a button. You can then speak/command Siri as you would normally do with your iPhone.
Health and Fitness: Buying the Apple Watch will most certainly eliminate the need to buy a health band or heart-rate monitor to track your daily workout sessions. The watch works round the clock and keeps tracking your activity in the background. The pre-loaded ‘Activity App’ gives you a basic picture of your daily progress via ‘calories burned’, ‘brisk activity’ and the frequency with which you stand / take rest. There are many third party fitness apps also available.
Customisation: This is where the Watch breaks Apple’s hallowed rule and allows for a lot of customisation in the look. Sure we have had various covers for iPhones and iPads; but this is different. You can change the look of the Watch by buying multiple bands from Apple or third party sellers. Along with physical customisation, there are many watch faces, editable on screen options etc. that allows for granular personalization.
OS and Apps: Like the iPhones and the Macs, Apple Watch also has its own OS (predictably) called WatchOS. The first version had a lot of kinks in it and people really weren’t all that happy. This new version (Watch OS 2.0) eliminates most of the problems and, more importantly, provides added support for standalone third party apps.
Other features: Apple watch has other features like digital touch, Apple pay, hand off, etc. Some of these are useful (like hand off allows you to seamlessly switch tasks between iPhone and Apple Watch), but others like sharing heartbeat or hand drawn sketches with other Apple Watch users feels gimmicky. And since Apple Pay isn’t available in India yet, it’s practically a non-existent feature for us.
If you wish to read in more details about the Apple Watch design, features and specifications, you can visit the Watch section on Apple’s website.
There is no doubt that this is a costly gadget, especially when you consider its dependence on the iPhone. The price varies greatly depending on the model you choose. Here’s the complete price list of Apple Watch in India
iPhone Dependant: The first generation Apple Watch is largely dependant on the iPhone. Right from setup to settings, many things are possible only after the watch is paired with the iPhone. So if you don’t have an iPhone, you can’t have an Apple Watch.
Unclear Purpose: For us, the biggest drawback of the Apple Watch is that its utility is not well defined. It basically does everything that an iPhone does, with the additional convenience of quick access. Does that justify the hefty price tag and the hassle of managing another gadget? Not for us at least.
Third Party Apps: The functionality of Apple Watch is also limited by the number of apps available for it. The numbers are growing very fast as developers are catching onto the trend; but the real challenge lies in how successfully they carry forward their app experience on a tiny screen.
There’s Android Wear and also a new (and very well designed) Microsoft Band. Just like Apple Watch, they both work best when connected to phones running their respective OS. So if you are a part of the Apple ecosystem, Apple Watch looks like the best bet.
Crux of the matter
- The Apple Watch is an interesting extension of the iPhone. Its main aim is to reduce the number of times you have to pull out the phone out of your pocket.
- The overall experience is patchy and the Apps limited. But there’s a lot of potential and the product does look promising.
- Like all other Apple products, the biggest concern definitely has to be the price constraint.
- Given the fact that the Watch is still in its infant years, we would suggest buying it only if you like being an early adopter of new technologies or want to show off your fancy new smart toy!