While I'm still unsure on what wearables should actually do, I managed to get some photos of the Apple Watch. Unfortunately I wasn't really able to find any units available for a hands-on, and as far as I can tell it wasn't possible to actually try any of the software yet. However, based upon what I've seen Apple brings at least a few great ideas to the table. The digital dial/crown is definitely one of them, as it opens up the door to all kinds of new possibilities for navigation that are currently either impractical or impossible for wearables that don't have this hardware feature. In addition, Apple's strong emphasis on personalization with two sizes, three editions, and six watch bands is something that all OEMs should pay attention to. Finally, the dedicated SoC for the Apple Watch is something that is absolutely necessary to enable a good user experience as space is so critical on these wearables. There's also no question that Apple has done a great job of focusing on industrial and material design, as it looks like all three versions of the watch have premium materials and excellent fit and finish. While it isn't clear what display is used, it seems likely that it's an OLED display judging by the amount of black in some of the watchfaces, although ambient lighting in the demo area made it hard to tell whether this was the case.

However, my reservations are largely similar to concerns that I have with all wearables. Ultimately, the Apple Watch must provide utility that's strong enough to make me turn around and get it if I forget it. As-is, I don't really think that even the Apple Watch has that level of utility, even if it is excellently executed. Of course, this is also based upon a demo unit that I wasn't able to touch or use.

Of course, a few concerns remain, mostly in the area of battery life as it seems that only the Pebble line of wearables can really deliver enough battery life to not worry about charging a wearable on any sort of regular schedule. At any rate, I've attached a gallery of photos below for those interested in seeing all the various combinations of watches that Apple will make.

Gallery: Apple Watch

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  • milleron - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    It's amazing to me that so many folks are willing to stick their necks WAY out in predicting what a horrible idea the crown is without ever having touched one. One would have to be psychic to make the judgements you all are making, and one would also have to be able to refute in advance the thousands and thousands of hours of experience Apple engineers accumulated in designing this control. I don't see how people could be so close-minded. You just cannot make any statements about utility of the crown until the Apple Watch has been in general use for a few months. We knew for certain that Windows 8 was a travesty before it was sold because we had access to it. No one outside of Cupertino has any idea whatsoever about the functionality of the crown. Reply
  • rhangman - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    and it took me all of 5 seconds to come up with 2 alternatives that I think would work better. Personally I think a round smart watch with a rotating bezel for zooming/scrolling would be much better. Way less fiddly than the crown. Using one/two sides of the bezel as sliders (like on a laptop touchpad) I think would also work better than the crown for rectangular watches. Need to scroll through a list? Simply swipe along the edge. No fingers covering the tiny screen and also way less fiddly than using the crown.

    I agree that having such a small screen, touch gestures are perhaps not the best answer, but that doesn't make using a crown the best or even better.
    Reply
  • rhangman - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    Samsung could also use their curved screen edge tech to display notifications you can see without twisting your wrist to look at the face. Could then double as an extra touch control area for when you are looking at the face. Reply
  • keninct - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    I'd prefer not to have to reach over to the watch at all. Very awkward, especially for a big guy. So put the input into a ring on the opposite index finger. A couple of buttons, a mic, and a scroll wheel or something, reachable by the thumb.. Actually, I'd rather have HUD, so give me that ring and a version of Glass with no forward camera and miniaturized so it looks exactly like glasses. One could choose between the glasses or the watch for fitness reasons.

    Raising the ring toward your mouth to talk would reduce the "crazy person talking to himself" aspect of having the mic on the glasses.

    The crown is a non-starter to me for regular input. Maybe as an actual "winder" (mini-generator) for occasional use.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    The abundance of black could also be to mask the giant bezels. It was criticized a lot, but I actually like Motorolas tradeoff of a small black sliver at the bottom better than this all around fat bezel. Reply
  • savagemike - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    Very good point. And I agree about the Moto 360 making the right choice there. I don't mind the round one from LG with the timing bezel - except that apparently the timing bezel is completely fake. If it had turned and been a usable control it would have been brilliant. Reply
  • isa - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    So instead of just a phone I can use a watch as long as I also bring the phone? I think not. Call me interested when the watch can send and receive at least SMS independently and has independent GPS. So I can use a phone OR a watch. Reply
  • Gadgety - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    That's the Gear S, then. A semi-stand alone (it needs a Samsung phone/tablet to download the apps, which is contrived at best, pathetic at worst) that does what you ask. You can take and place calls with it, too. Reply
  • The Von Matrices - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    I'm happy they didn't call it the iWatch. The iWhatever name is getting stale. Reply
  • savagemike - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    It might be. But for the next couple years everyone and their brother will be calling it the iWatch regardless. And every pedant will gleefully be constantly informing that it isn't the correct name. And nobody will care. Reply

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