Apple's hotly-anticipated smartwatch is expected to debut today as the trend-setting firm sets out to make stylish wrist-worn computers must-have accessories for modern lifestyles.
Apple announced its wearable at its media event in September last year, without disclosing a specific launch date or too many details.
Apple's chief executive,Tim Cook, has revealed little about the sophisticated wrist wear, but has said that he "can't live without it."
However, in the past six months, a string of rumours, speculations and ‘confirmed’ reports have surfaced.
Here’s a quick sum up of everything known about the Apple Watch, so far.
Design and display
The Apple Watch features a squarish screen and will be in three distinct collections and two different sizes.
The three editions are Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition, Apple Watch Edition is plated with 18 karat gold. The two different screen sizes are 38 mm and 42 mm.
The Watch is crafted from custom alloys of polished or space black stainless steel (Apple Watch), space gray or silver anodized aluminum (Apple Watch Sport) and 18-karat rose or yellow gold (Apple Watch Edition).
With two sizes and three different editions, Apple has also introduced six different straps, these are a sports band; the Milanese Loop as Apple has named which has a flexible magnetic stainless steel mesh; there’s the Leather Loop which has a magnet for quick fastening; the leather Modern Buckle, which closes with a solid metal clasp; the leather Classic Buckle; and the stainless steel Link Bracelet.
The Sports band will come in black, blue, green, pink and white, while the Classic Buckle comes in black and midnight blue. The leather Loop comes in bright blue, light brown and stone, while the Modern Buckle in midnight blue, brown, soft pink, rose gray and bright red.
The Milanese Loop is stainless steel and the Link Bracelet in brushed stainless steel and polished space black.
There are three input methods – direct touch inputs, navigation via the Digital Crown and voice input.
There is no keyboard input at all. “All forms of input are handled with pre-populated options and voice dictation,” adds the report further.
All voice control features are labeled ‘Voice Control’, instead of Siri.
This version of the Watch does not support replying to emails (no voice support either), and one has to send all replies from the iPhone.
The Clock faces in the Apple Watch are said to be ‘incredible’ and expected to come with ‘insane’ level of detailing and customizing.
Each face is supposedly like an app and the company won’t yet allow third-party faces.
The smart astronomy Watch Face will let you use the crown to scroll through time and watch planetary alignments for the complete solar system.
Notifications and storage
The Apple wearable will come with a notifications center, just like the iPhone. The notifications can be accessed by simply swiping down the screen.
Apple watch may most likely support 8GB storage, just like the prototype watches. It will let users store music and play even when unlinked to an iPhone.
Earlier, there were reports about how the company will not achieve the target it set for the battery life.
Now, Apple has reportedly improved the device’s battery life, and it spruced up to handle 5 hours of fairly heavy application usage.
The report further states that the wearable won’t run out of battery during a typical day of mixed active and passive usage.
The sources have now confirmed to the news site that the Apple Watch will require to be charged nightly, and definitely not last through a second full day.
Power Reserve mode
Apple is known to come with a Power Reserve Mode that will cut optional services and preserve the wearable’s core functionality.
A recent report by 9To5Mac adds that the Power Reserve Mode can be activated using ‘a Battery Glance that’s accessible at any time, or via the Apple Watch’s Settings application’.
The Reserve mode can be accessed even when the battery life shows 100 percent charge.
As soon as one activates the mode, it dims the display, slows down communication with the iPhone and even puts the display to sleep after about two seconds of inactivity.
“One unit tested allowed access to all Apple Watch functions while in Power Reserve mode, while another unit was limited to the Clock face.
We’re told that some test units took between four and five hours to charge up to 100% from 0% via the wall-attached MagSafe charger. This is a notable improvement, we’re told, from fall 2014 prototype,” adds the report.
Glances and yet-to-be-announced Heart Rate Glance
Glance is the quick view of Apple watch’s important app content.
Apple Watch comes pre-installed with Glances and reportedly default Glances include Fitness Stats, Activity, Clock, Weather, Music, Quick Settings, Calendar and Maps.
Heart Rate Glance is a new feature that will let users see their Beats/minute anytime.
The Glance option will show a heart image and one has to tap a button that will start updating the screen with BPM reading.
Recently a Apple Watch hands- on report reveals that the reading were displayed instantly and ‘seemed accurate’.
Companion app and health features
As per 9To5Mac, the Watch will come with settings for individual Apple Watch applications that can be controlled by a Companion application on the iPhone.
The Companion app with a dark black user interface will allow to control the various settings, music storage and also with re-arranging the icons on the Apple Watch’s homescreen.
For Health, the smartwatch has two main apps, these are the Activity App and the Workout App.
The Activity app on Apple Watch provides a graphic of your daily activity, with three rings which show calories burnt, minutes of exercise done and how often a user takes a break from sitting.
The Workout App lets users set goals as far as fitness and exercise is concerned and you can monitor your progress on your iPhone as well.
Apple Watch uses the accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone for all of this.
Some of the earlier reports were hinting at an array of sensors for measuring blood pressure, heart activity and stress levels, however, looks like we may not see these features in the first iteration of the watch.
The Apple Watch features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair with your iPhone. The S1 chip that powers the Watch is comparable to the Apple A5 chip.
The Watch display will light up whenever the iPhone is locked for all of the phone’s notifications, but in case the iPhone is unlocked, the Watch will not light up for new alerts.
Apple watch does not come fitted with a ‘power off’ button and reportedly one can do so by long-pressing the ‘communications button’ seen on the right side.
It also gets the option to Force Quit an unstable app using the same shut down screen.
The Settings app brings the toggle option between Bluetooth and Airplane mode. Wi-Fi doesn’t get a dedicated settings panel and needs to be controlled on the iPhone.
Apple has indicated that the entry price would be $349 in the United States which is approximately 50,000 naira, and that two different sizes would be available in three collections, including the "Apple Watch Edition," featuring 18-karat gold cases in yellow or rose, sapphire crystal and finely crafted bands and closures.
It will mark Apple's first new product type since the iPad in 2010.
The watch is also expected to include map software that guides people to destinations with gentle "taps" on the wrist.
Fitness apps on the Apple Watch and its rivals could spell trouble for makers of fitness bands from companies like Jawbone, Fitbit and Nike.
"Apple is poised to once again show how computing platforms are won or lost on the one-two punch of eager consumers and hungry ecosystem partners," said Forrester Research analyst, James McQuivey.
It remains unclear whether Apple, a latecomer to the wearables segment would do for smartwatches what the iPod did for MP3 players and the iPad did for tablet computers as Apple enters a segment crowded with vendors ranging from South Korean giants,Samsung and LG, to Japan's Sony and startups such as Pebble.
Research firm Strategy Analytics predicts Apple will set fire to the market from the outset, projecting sales of 15.4 million units worldwide in 2015, to give Apple a 55 percent market share.
"The Apple Watch is the catalyst to ignite the global smartwatch market," said Strategy Analytics executive director,Neil Mawston.
"Apple's famous brand, loyal fan base, deep retail presence and extensive apps ecosystem will ensure healthy uptake for its watch."
Deutsche Bank analyst, Sherri Scribner, predicted an even bigger splash for the Apple Watch, with sales of 17.6 million units this year.
By 2018, Scribner said, one of every four iPhone users will also have an Apple Watch, making the segment worth some $26 billion (roughly Rs. 1,63,070 crores) for the company.
In a research note, Scribner said the Apple Watch should be a "catalyst" to expand the market, with wrist-worn devices gradually becoming a complement to smartphones.
Others say it's not yet clear if the smartwatch will become the must-have accessory for consumers, particularly if the pricing remains at current levels.
Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said Apple's loyal consumer base will deliver a certain number of sales but won't guarantee widespread adoption.
"There will be 10 million people who will buy it because it's from Apple," Kay said. "But the larger question is whether this category really has legs."
A key question is whether Apple can create the same kind of buzz and energy around a new product without its legendary leader, Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.
"Steve could distort reality and tell everyone it was the next big thing, and people would believe it," said Kay.
"They've never done it without Steve. So this is the challenge for Tim Cook."