In the wee hours of the Australian morning, Apple finally announced its entry into the smartwatch field – the, drum roll… no, don’t bother, ‘Apple Watch’. To paraphrase one of our former PMs, it’s the smartwatch we had to have.
But rather than focus on the iOS, the battery life (clue – it’ll be terrible), the vaguely creepy Apple emoji, or any of the other technical aspects that you can read about on your favourite tech blog, we’re going to try and look at it as a watch. Compare ‘apples with apples’ if you will.
So my first reaction upon seeing the Apple Watch seconds after I woke this morning was “I’ve seen that before.” While the Apple Watch certainly looks a lot like an iPad or any other Apple product it also bears a suspicious resemblance to the designs of Dieter Rams, famous for his work with Braun. It also reminds me of some more recent Braun designs as well as little known mechanical/digital hybrid watches from Ventura.
These associations shouldn’t be taken as negatives, it means that the Apple Watch fits comfortably into the existing watch design canon – making it something more of a recognizable and familiar object. This is echoed through Apple’s inclusion of a traditional looking crown (the main, non-touch way you interact with the watches software) and a range of familiar straps and bracelets.
Apple have also made clear their use of 316L steel, sapphire crystals and DLC coatings on the black version – in fact their whole language and framing around the description of the watch is very familiar to anyone who’s every read the tech specs of a watch. It’s also good that they’re offering it in 38mm and 42mm sizes.
But for us as watch lovers, the most interesting thing Apple are doing is offering a very wide range of strap and bracelet options. Apple have made a range of quite good looking bracelets, including a one size fits all Milanese mesh and a very ‘70s looking link bracelet, and a pull through vaguely NATO style single piece leather number. They’ve also made an absolutely horrible leather loop bracelet, but that’s beside the point. Many of their straps use magnetic closures, and while this provides an elegent visual solution I’m unconvinced as to how effective they’ll be in the real world. I personally would not trust my fancy new watch to a magnet that can come undone if it catches on something.
The other element that I suspect will be a deal-breaker for many die-hard watch fans is the ability to put the watch on your own strap. And while the promo pics don’t show how the straps are fastened – it doesn’t immediately look like it’ll be possible without a bit of work. Another thing to consider for all you guys wanting to whack this on a NATO is that there is a lot of tech at the back of the watch that might be interfered with by a strap.
Apple Watch- Australian Prices and Availability
No firm date has been set for the Australian launch, but history says that Australia will be one of the first global markets to see if the Apple Watch can deliver on the hype- expect it to miss your Christmas list and come into stores in January/ February 2015. In the US, prices start at US$349, and expect to pay a lot more than that for the solid (but alloyed, in much the same fashion as patented Rolex Everose, or Omega Sedna gold) Rose Gold models.
For more features of the Apple Watch, see here.