Apple Watch: The time has finally come.

If you think it's worth the wrist, then prepare to shell outfrom Dh1,282 to Dh62,439 for the Apple WatchDubai -- It was only a matter of time.
After months of hype and speculation, Apple has formally revealed
arguably the most anticipated gadget in recent memory -- and its arrival
could be, well, perfectly timed.
The world's most valuable company unveiled the Apple Watch,
which is widely expected to cause another seismic shift in consumer
electronics, this time in the burgeoning wearable-device segment, where
several players have tried to carve their own niche yet unable to fully
claim some sort of dominance.
"The Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever
created. It's not just with you; it's on you," Tim Cook,
chief executive officer of Apple, said at the launch event in San
Francisco, which began at 9PM Dubai time on Monday.
As previously reported, the Apple Watch -- which was given a sneak
peek last September 9 -- comes in three models: the Apple Watch Sport,
Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition, with prices ranging from $349
(Dh1,282) to a whopping $17,000 (Dh62,439) for the 18k gold-cased
version. The watches come in 38mm and 42mm sizes.
All watches in the line-up are designed to reflect one's
personality, according to Cook, since "what you wear is an
expression of what you are".
"We designed the Apple Watch to appeal to a whole variety of
people with different tastes and preferences. But the one thing that is
consistent is that we crafted each one of them with the care you would
expect from Apple and used incredibly beautiful materials," he
added.
Cook wasn't understating when he mentioned varieties andpreferences; there are a total of 38 models to choose from -- 10 for theApple Watch Sport, 20 for the Apple Watch and eight for the Apple WatchEdition. All versions have a certain number of models in both sizesmentioned above.Apple, in an e-mailed statement, said that orders will be taken
starting April 10, with shipping to commence on April 24 to nine
countries -- Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong,
Japan, the UK and the US.
Khaleej Times attempted to learn the official release dates and
prices for the UAE and Middle East from Apple, but no information was
available. Also as at posting time, Apple's online store in the UAE
-- store.apple.com/ae -- has "Available in 2015" on the Web
page.
However -- given the one-week gap between the US and UAE launches
of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last September -- it won't be a
surprise if the Apple Watch follows the same path.
Wow
The Apple Watch, it must be stressed, needs an iPhone to be fully
utilised. It is compatible with the iPhone 5 or later iterations running
on iOS 8.2.
Among the key features of the Apple Watch is Apple Pay, the
company's mobile payment and digital wallet service. Apple Pay,
which was announced in September's iPhone 6 event, allows users to
pay for purchases using near field communication. However, this service
will be initially available in the US and only with selected banks.
You can also use the watch for several other tasks such as
requesting a ride from Uber, checking in for your flight to remotely
controlling a home-automation device.
And since the watch is connected to the phone via Wi-Fi and
Bluetooth, a user should not be within the range of the latter to
perform tasks such as taking calls or sending/receiving messages. It
also supports Siri.
There are only two buttons on the Apple Watch: the Digital Crown
home button and another to display contacts. It also has a battery that
lasts up to 18 hours and charges using Apple's MagSafe technology
and inductive charging, using a connection that snaps into place at the
base of the watch.
Another feature of the Apple Watch -- which was earlier reported to
have been scrapped -- is its fitness tracker. The Activity app -- which
shows calories burned, brisk activity made and how often you've
stood up to take a break from sitting -- along with its accelerometer
and heart rate sensor may be another key selling point in swaying
customers to choose the device.
Not wow?Not everyone, though, is that upbeat on the Apple Watch's
success.
In an interview on the Reuters website, James McQuivey, principal
analyst at Forrester Research, says that Apple's new device
"may not be the runaway hit that the iPad was, or the hit Cook
really wanted".
"The real problem is that Apple is used to surpassing
expectations and usually keeping a little bit of a secret aside to make
everyone go 'wow'," he said.
"But we didn't see any 'wow' today; we saw what
we expected to see -- a watch that will last all day, that will have
some innovative features and some innovative experiences. Some of those
were innovative -- but they were expected."
McQuivey went on to point out that while they expect Apple to sell
10 million of its watches by year-end -- "everything we learned
today [at the event] confirms that -- those 10 million are already
Apple customers who may have pledged to buy a watch, and that the
challenge is how could Apple grab 20, 30 or even 40 million new
customers.
"It's not necessarily enough to conclude that the apple
watch is going to blow past to the upper end of expectations," he
added.
There is also a debate on whether the Apple Watch -- especially the
Edition series -- can challenge established high-end brands such as
Rolex, Montblanc and Longines. Fashion houses have apparently dismissed
the Apple Watch as what it is -- a gadget, not a fashion statement.
New MacBook, ResearchKit
Along with the Apple Watch's launch, the company also unveiled
the all-new MacBook, which are the thinnest and lightest Macs ever --
it's 24 per cent thinner than the 11-inch MacBook Air.
"Can you even see it? I can't even feel it," Cook
said at the event.
The new MacBook features a 12-inch Retina display that is the
thinnest ever on a Mac; an Apple-designed full-sized keyboard that is
dramatically thinner and highly responsive; the all-new Force Touch
trackpad that has built-in sensors that allow you to click anywhere; a
compact USB-C port for data transfer, video out and charging in a single
connector; and a new battery design that maximises every millimetre of
space to deliver all-day power. Also for the first time, the MacBook is
available at three aluminium finishes -- gold, silver and space grey.
The new MacBooks will begin shipping on April 10 and the priceswould range from Dh5,199 to Dh6,299.The company also announced updates to the 13-inch MacBook Pro with
Retina display with the Force Touch trackpad, fifth-generation Intel
Core processors and Intel Iris Graphics 6100, two times faster flash and
longer battery life. Furthermore, the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air also
received upgrades -- fifth-generation Intel Core processors, Intel HD
Graphics 6000 and Thunderbolt 2, with up to two times faster flash for
the 13-inch MacBook Air.
Prices for the updated 13-inch MacBook Pro start at Dh5,199 to
Dh7,199, while the MacBook Air devices will range from Dh3,599 to
Dh4,799. All of these are now available on Apple's online store and
select Apple Authorised Resellers.
Apple also announced ResearchKit, an open-source software framework
designed for medical and health research, helping doctors and scientists
gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using
iPhone apps. World-class research institutions have already developed
apps with ResearchKit for studies on asthma, breast cancer,
cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson's disease. Users
decide if they want to participate in a study and how their data is
shared.
-- alvin@khaleejtimes.com
Copyright 2015 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by
SyndiGate Media Inc. ( Syndigate.info ).
COPYRIGHT 2015 SyndiGate Media Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.