Apple Watch: Everything You Need To Know

By Gizmodo UK on at

The release of the Apple Watch approaches. In the intervening time between the device's announcement last September, lots of information has graced our newsfeed.

From the Watch's appearance, to how its apps will work, read on to find out what you can expect from the device when it goes on sale.

What Will the Apple Watch Look Like?

Available in two watch sizes with six strap choices, the hardware itself comes in an 18-carat gold version, or silver option. The straps come in a soft quilted leather option, a supple leather strap with an actual clasp, plus a stainless steel strap.

Apple has added a sapphire display, which is great news as it also features inbuilt NFC for mobile payments, so will minimise scratches. But more interesting than that is the fact that the screen can detect force, differentiating between a tap and a press.

There are 22 combinations of strap and face for the Apple Watch, all of which are shown off here.

How Does the Apple Watch Work?

Raising your wrist activates the screen, and messages can be replied to audibly, by dictation. Swipe up on the touchscreen, which is called a "glance" for customisable info similar to what you see on an iPhone currently, such as calendar and music details. If you swipe down, that brings you back to the homescreen.

As an alternative to pinch and zoom on the screen, the Watch a "crown" which is located on the side of the watch, containing infrared LEDs and photoiodes that translate rotary movement into digital data. In short, it's a way to control the Watch – press it and you go back to the homescreen.

That small button under the crown? That's for the digital touch app, which will display a friends list where you can communicate with small sketches able to be sent to one another or even – get this – a glance at your heartbeat. If you do the latter, the receiver will feel the heartbeat in vibrations.

Apple commissioned a new font for the Watch, to help increase legibility on a small screen. That new font is called San Francisco; it adds visibility to punctuation and has bigger spacing to certain letters.

Notifications can be felt rather than spied, with a 'taptic' engine giving off subtle vibrations on your wrist. From there, you can accept, decline or dismiss from the Watch, or do the aforementioned dictation to reply to messages. If someone asks a question in a message, like the above shots show, you can respond with bespoke replies. Or, you can respond with emoji. Dictation, message replies, or emoji. No keyboard. Wow.

Check out those large, disembodied emoji faces below:

Charging is done by MagSafe, to a wireless inductive charger, and Tim Cook has said it will require charging every night. Apple have expressed that they are unhappy with the idea of a one-day battery life, and has reportedly been tinkering with the design to increase its power-saving.

The Watch will be compatible with iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5, 5S, 5C. Any models before those will not be able to have connectivity between the Watch and their iPhone.

Tim Cook revealed that the Watch will be able to send music to wireless Bluetooth headphones, without a need for an iPhone to complete the function.

We were also given a glimpse of five ways the Watch is intended be used, with of Apple's Watch Human Interface Guidelines.

What are the Apple Watch Apps Like?

Developers can get in on the Watch action with WatchKit, creating apps purely suited for the smartwatch. Twitter is already included, plus an airline app, and even a hotel room door-unlocking option. And, um, Pinterest. And Nike! BMW totally has an app which will tell you where you parked your car.

Siri is embedded in the Watch, with Apple showing a demo where they're searching for a nearby movie, with cinema details displayed as well as Rotten Tomatoes scores.

A photos app uses the crown to zoom, so whatever photos you've favourited on another device, will appear on the Watch and be easily viewable.

Maps can also be displayed on the Watch, with zooming again undertaken with the crown, and panning by swiping on the touchscreen. Turn-by-turn directions are naturally included (hi, cyclists!) with different vibrations depending on whether the command is to turn left or right.

But on to the fitness-related apps: Fitness and Workout. The first app monitors all activity and movement, whereas Workout is the app with which you set your fitness goals, and measure calories.

Three coloured rings (above) display different details regarding your movement. The Move ring will inform you if you've done a normal amount of activity for the day, while the Exercise ring tells you when you've done a workout. The Stand ring measures how sedentary you were during the day.

On the fitness front, there's actually a Sport version, which comes with an alloy case that's 60 per cent stronger than the regular version.

Here's the day's first mention of Apple TV -- the Watch can control Apple TV. Or the iPhone camera viewfinder.

The Watch will be integrated with Apple Pay, the company's NFC contactless payment solution. Apple Pay is already up and running in the US, with people using their iPhones to complete a transaction. Reports have suggested that Apple Pay may be expanding internationally by March 2015, coincidentally the same time as when we expect the Watch to launch.

How Much Will the Apple Watch Cost, and When is it Released?

We definitely know that the Watch will cost $349 in the US. That translates, on a straight USD to GBP conversion, to around £216. However, it is far more likely that the Watch will be closer to the figure of £300, once all the VAT, duties and what-have-you are slapped onto it. That figure would align with how other Apple products have been priced in the UK, in comparison to what they cost in the US.

Our latest reports would have the Watch being released in March. A March launch would just about slip in to Apple's "early 2015" launch-window promise for the connected timepiece -- though the source behind that assertion stresses that these are only the Cupertino company's current plans, and could be subject to change.

We also know that factories reportedly starting producing the Watch in January of this year, which would presumably leave enough time to get the units sale-ready by March.

Read all Apple announced at the iPhone and Watch event, plus Giz readers' reactions