At an event today at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California, Apple unveiled two new iPhone 6 models and the Apple Watch, ushering the company into a new era of wearable devices.
There are three different designs for the Watch: Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition.
All three versions of the Watch will feature a shrunken-down version of iOS 8, and will show you all your apps in a tiny circle on the screen. You press each one to open it.
And as expected, it will have a huge focus on fitness. The Sport version is lighter than the stainless steel models, and comes with a fluoroelastomer band in white, blue, green, pink, and black.
"It's amazing what you can do from your wrist," Apple CEO Tim Cook said today during his keynote. "And I'd like to spend a moment talking about yet one more, and that is health and fitness. This is a very important area for me and a very important area for Apple."
The Apple Watch will use different sensors to track your movement and heart rate, and together with the iPhone, it will be able to track your location with GPS.
It will also come with two new apps to track your movement: Activity and Workout.Activity App
Activity will show your daily activity, using a colorful graphic of three rings: Move, Exercise, and Stand.
Move shows how many calories you've burned; Exercise shows your activity; and Stand gives you reminders to stand up if you've been sitting for too long.
Activity will suggest goals for how many calories you should burn per day, and it will remind you to stand up when you've been sitting too long.Workout App
The Workout app is what you use when you're actually working out. It shows you your stats, such as calories burned and distance traveled, for various workouts, including cycling and running. Your Workout stats are pulled into the Activity app.
Like with the Activity app, Workout will suggest goals based on your history. It will also give you encouragement while you're working out, and will celebrate when you hit personal milestones.
And all this pulls into a new iPhone app called Fitness, which tracks your activity over time.Third Parties Are Welcome
Along with the new watch, Apple announced WatchKit, which will allow third-party developers to create apps specifically for the Watch. That means that third-party apps, such as RunKeeper and MapMyFitness, can also be accessed through the Watch. And you can share your workout stats with third-party apps using Health, another new iOS 8 app.
That's good news for people who are already entrenched in those ecosystems.The Future Of Fitness
The Watch is set to release in early 2015, with a price point just starting at $349, which is way more than even the most expensive fitness trackers out there. It also needs to be paired with your iPhone in order to track your distance. There was no mention of what the battery life will be like. And we're still not sure if it's waterproof.
When it comes strictly to fitness tracking, the Apple Watch doesn't do anything that much differently than what other fitness trackers have already been doing for years. The LifeTrak Zone C410 tracks the same things and costs only $99. The Runtastic Orbit pairs up with Runtastic's slew of fitness apps, and it costs just $120.
But, as with most things Apple, it has found a way to do them just a little bit better, whether it be by displaying the information clearer (with the rings) or seamlessly integrating it with other apps (the way Activity and Workout and Health and Fitness all work together).
Of course, this is all in addition to the other things the Apple Watch can do, like send tweets and even unlock hotel room doors.
Just based on what we learned from Apple's presentation, it's poised to be way ahead of what other smartwatches, such as the Moto 360 and even Samsung's fitness-focused watch, the Gear Fit, are doing in terms of health tracking.
It'll be interesting to see how the device compares with others once we get a closer look at it when it's released next year.
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