Earlier this month, Apple launched the latest version of the iPhone. Alongside the new iPhone, Apple also
launched the newest of their products, the highly anticipated Apple Watch.
Will the latest Apple gadget follow in the footsteps of it's
world-changing ancestors: break the competition and dominate the market?
A week after the launch (but months before it actually hits the streets)
and the Jury is still out.
Forgetting and dismissing all of the rumours of what the Apple Watch
would come with, lets look at the base specs, and then find the nearest
competitor to compare against.
To begin with, the Apple Watch comes in 3 versions - The Apple Watch, the
Apple Watch Sport, and the Apple Watch Edition.
The difference between the 3 models is: The material of the casing, the
material protecting the display, and the band (which is interchangeable
on the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition).
The Apple Watch is cased in polished stainless steel or space black
stainless steel, with sapphire crystal over the display.
The Apple Watch Sport case is made from anodized aluminium in silver and
space grey (think Mac Book look), making this model much lighter than the
other two, and has Ion-X glass over the display.
The Apple Watch Edition case is crafted from 18-carat gold (available in
yellow or rose gold), and the display is protected by sapphire crystal as
While the Apple Watch Sport lucks out with choice of bands (only the
sports bands is available, but in a range of colours), the other two
models have a selection of different bands to choose from that will suit
Apart from this, the 3 models are identical in features and technology.
The Apple Watch will allow you to receive notifications, as well as send
and receive messages, phone calls and e-mail all through the device's
User Interface. A new level of communication is added through the new
Digital Touch feature, which allows you to share a sketch, a tap, or a
heart-beat with another Apple Watch user - which they can view or feel
(as is the case for a tap or heart-beat). The Apple Watch also features
an integrated fitness tracker to monitor your movements and activity (or
lack thereof), and can help you to set and achieve your fitness goals.
The Apple Watch, as we've come to expect from Apple, has been designed to
be intuitive and easy to use. The face of the watch is touch-screen that
functions just like touch-navigation on other Apple devices, but also has
new ways to get around. On the side is the "Digital Crown", which allows
you to control the zoom of the display and doubles as the home button. On
the bottom of the watch is the recharge contact point, as well as sensors
that can detect your pulse, and a vibration unit that allows the watch to
let you know when something needs your attention...and you can use
Apple's voice command platform: Siri.
From our perspective one of the most exciting features of the Apple Watch
is Apple Pay, a new generation of tap-and-go payment
technology. Apple Pay is part of iOS 8, and is also on the iPhone 6, but having an
Apple Watch will not only save you the need to carry credit cards, it
will also save you having to even get your phone out! The system launches
in the US first and we expect it here in Australia some time later in
2015 - as one of Australia's leading providers of e-commerce and
m-commerce systems, here at Hub Com Digital we can't wait for it!
Perhaps what lets the Apple Watch down however is that the device must
apparently be tethered to an iPhone 5 or 6. Everything the Apple Watch
requires from GPS or Internet is provided by the iPhone, which apparently
improves the battery life. This might seem trivial now, since every smart
watch available at the moment has this same requirement; but the Samsung
Gear S, which was unveiled in Berlin recently and is set for release
shortly after Apple Watch, will come with its own SIM
Card to remove this dependence. When you take into account everything
that both devices offer and had to sacrifice, only time will tell how
damaging this exclusion will be.
The Apple Watch also drew criticism from some who claimed it could not be
used by Left Handers. As has since been found however, the watch does
have a left-handed mode, and the crown does flip the User Interface
around; so "Mollydookers" need not despair!
The only competitor that is markedly comparable to the Apple Watch at
present seems to be the Samsung Gear 2
, however Samsung will be releasing the
latest version of the Gear - the Gear S
- very soon. For the sake of the argument,
we'll only compare the latest from Apple with the latest from Samsung,
keeping in mind that both will become available to buy around about the
same time, and both are keeping very mum about the finer details.
The Samsung Galaxy S has a 2" (51mm) curved AMOLED screen, a dual core
1.0GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory, and comes
with WiFi, BlueTooth and USB 2.0 connectivity. Compared to the Apple
Watch, with a screen that is 42mm or 38mm (give or take a millimetre) and
an industry first computer-on-a-chip. Processor speed, RAM and internal
memory are not mentioned anywhere yet, but the S1 chip in the Apple Watch
is said to be comparable to the new A8 chip in the iPhone 6.
Both smart watches come with a heart-rate sensor, and accelerometer. The
Samsung Gear S kicks it up a notch by also coming with a gyroscope, a
compass, light and UV sensors and a barometer (for when you're outside
and want to know if a storm is coming).
Both smart watches go at lengths to show how customisable their device
is, allowing you to change this part and that part to suit your style. On
both, you can change the band of the watch, the clock face, probably even
more. So no real notable differences on that front.
The only notable exclusion with the Samsung Gear S is an Apple Pay
equivalent, but it is safe to assume that there'll be an app for that
It seems that what the Apple Watch lacks, the Samsung Gear S makes up
for; and what the Samsung Gear S lacks, the Apple Watch makes up for. The
final decision is really going to come down to what smart phone you
already use (or are willing to change to). Despite being able to use the
Samsung Gear S on the go without needing to be within cooee of your
phone, chances are that you're going to have your phone with you most
times anyway to cover the gap between what the phone provides and what
the watch doesn't (games, apps, video, etc). But it would be nice to duck
out for a walk or a run without needing to have your phone strapped to
If you have an iPhone, you'll love the Apple Watch and won't miss the
features that the Samsung range will offer. If you have a Samsung Galaxy,
you'll love the Samsung Gear S, and will be willing to overlook the
clunkiness that Apple seems to remove from their products.
Having said all of this, rumour has it that Microsoft are working on their own
smart watch, that will be compatible with Windows, Android
and Apple devices, just to make the choice even more
What are your thoughts? Watch the (very impressive) films of the Apple Watch. Let me know if you found
it just as difficult to not be swept up in the awe. What is your first
impression of the Apple Watch? Does it compare to the Samsung Gear? Let
us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.