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Apple Watch - the specs review

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Apple Watch - the specs review

Introduction


The Apple Watch has all the qualities of a genuine new product category announcement. It's a new form factor with distinct functionality and innovative hardware. Just glancing at all the custom materials and hardware components Apple's specialists developed in partnership with the best in business, we can't help but feel the same excitement from way ago, when Apple brought out the iPod - the player that redefined portable players. Now, the Apple Watch is no iPod - from what we've seen, we don't think it will "reinvent" smartwatches. For all we know, both Apple and Google are still in the position of having awesome wearable hardware and figuring out what they can do with it. 

But just like Android Wear devices, the Apple Watch is a terrific piece of kit. It's a labor of love from an Apple which worked hard and strived to make an example of both a gadget and a watch. Now, without further ado, let's review the combination of design and hardware prowess that constitutes the Apple Watch.

Design


To make the Apple Watch stand out, the Apple team put aluminum, stainless steel, and 18k solid gold on a table and started thinking how to make them be the best aluminum, stainless steel, and solid gold incorporated in a smartwatch.

Aluminum was chosen for the Apple Watch Sport. Apple took the 7000 series aluminum, used in competition bicycles, and made a new alloy with it - 60% stronger, at one-third the density of stainless steel. Each aluminum case is machined, polished, and blasted with microscopic zirconia beads for a consistent satin texture. Finally, anodizing creates a hard, clear outer layer for protection against scratches and corrosion. That's not all there is, though. The Apple Watch Sport's watchface is covered in Ion-X glass. This type of glass is used in space shuttles and high-speed trains - it's five times stronger than regular glass. The construction is complete with fluoroelastomer - it's what the wristband is made of. The material is fire and water resistant, flexible and strong. It has a soft feel and drapes smoothly across your wrist.



Moving onto the Apple Watch - the regular one that's simply titled Apple Watch - we're starting to talk stainless steel. Apple loves stainless steel, but plain steel wasn't up to its maniacal standards. So its engineers made it up to 80% harder through a specialized cold-forging process. They also added a carbon layer to make the space black stainless steel case and matching steel band. What, you thought they painted it? The 'regular' edition's watchface is covered in sapphire that's cut using diamond-encrusted wire and polished with diamond-covered pellets. The wristband is made of the same steel alloy.



Finally, Apple brought out the gold for the obscenely expensive Apple Watch Edition. As gold is soft metal that nicks and scratches, Apple hardened it up, making it twice as hard as standard 18-karat solid gold. Make no mistake, though - this is still the real thing, and it's coming in authentic yellow and rose gold colors. The watchface is covered in sapphire as well. And for the wristbands, Apple shopped leather hides from "three of the world's best-known artisan tanneries", added magnets to the quilted Leather Loop (for an infinitely adjustable fit), and an inner layer of stretch-resistant polymer (stronger than Kevlar) to the Modern Buckle.



The Apple Watch is available in 38mm and 42mm sizes (height). The watch is water and dust-resistant too. Here are the exact case dimensions with different wristbands on:



Display


Heard of LG Display? Lately, plastic OLED screens are its business, and business is good! Exceptionally good at that, given that LG is producing millions of those p-OLED panels, which it also uses in its G Watch R. Laminated on the outside to sit flush with the body, the 1.5-inch flexible panel has a resolution of 340x272px for the 38mm version and the 1.7-inch screen for the 42mm version has a 390x312px resolution. With pixel densities of 290ppi and 293ppi respectively, the display does venture near Retina territory, although the original Retina display - the one on the iPhone 4 - had a pixel density of 326ppi. Even though the Apple Watch display doesn't look as flattering up close as the iPhone 4's screen did back in the day, it's certainly one of the most vivid, lively displays we've seen on a smartwatch. Animations seem to be running at a full 60 frames per second, which makes them seem very fluid. Hopefully, the display is also bright enough to be used in sunlight.

Around the flexible display, tiny electrodes are positioned that distinguish between a light tap and deep press, triggering specific commands. This is the so-called Force Touch tech that's poised to make an appearance in the next iPhone. Pressing firmly on the Apple Watch's screen brings up contextual controls in apps like Messages, Music, and Calendar. Beneath the display, a linear actuator produces haptic feedback, tapping you on the wrist whenever you receive an alert, a notification, or press down on the display. It's not the good old vibration motor, which uses a rotating mass - it's a linear resonant actuator, or a pizeoelectric actuator.


Processor and memory


The Apple Watch is powered by an Apple-designed, Samsung-made processor by the name of Apple S1. It is said to be nearly as powerful as the one in the iPhone 4s, and it's also an achievement in itself. The 28nm application processor, memory, storage, and support processors for wireless connectivity, sensors, and I/O are entirely contained in a single module, whose contents are encapsulated in resin to protect them from outside forces. Not much else is known about the CPU, but component suppliers have previously informed analysts that the CPU is paired with 512MB RAM and 8GB of storage. Seeing that the Apple Watch lets the iPhone deal with most of the heavy processing, we'd say the wearable isn't lacking in the important hardware regard.

Speaking of which, sensors are the second type of components that make or break a smartwatch. And as any self-respecting smart timepiece, the Apple Watch is full of 'em. Not only does it have an optical heart rate sensor, it uses a special flavor that looks at both visible and infrared light to determine your pulse. It's the most elaborate heart rate sensor in a wearable - it also includes photosensors that work together with the light and infrared ones. The device most likely has a single microphone, and it also features a pressure sensor, and an accelerometer. There's probably more to it, but as you can see, Apple has been very picky with the technology used in the Watch - it actually invented no small part of it!



Connectivity


The Apple Watch most likely uses a Broadcomm BCM4334 networking chip, which has seen use in devices such as the Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5. It supports Wi-Fi 8-2.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio, and there's also NFC for Apple Pay.

Apple Watch - the specs review


Battery Life


We don't know what battery cell powers the Apple Watch, but Apple strived for about 18 hours of battery life. The company conducted precise testing and ended up with the following estimates: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30 minute workout with music playback via Bluetooth over 18 hours (with standby mode, display usage, and occasional uses depleting additional battery life). As for charging times, the Apple Watches fills up to 80% for an hour and a half of charging. Charging from 0% to 100% takes 2.5 hours with the included MagSafe charging pad - and with Oppo announcing a smartwatch reportedly capable of five-minute charges, Apple certainly has its work cut out for improving the Watch's charging time. 

Apple Watch - the specs review

Expectations


The Apple Watch is stuffed with a lot of innovative materials and technology. But beautiful hardware means nothing if there's no compelling software to make users run to the store and hold onto it in the later stages of its life cycle. Hopefully, with over 100,000 apps available at launch, Apple has this base covered already. As for the widely critiqued pricing, here's our two cents - we think Apple priced the whole line-up very smartly. The basic Apple Watch Sport, which starts at $350 for the 38mm version, is an affordable smartwatch of high build and software quality. It's the one that will sell the most, and it's a no compromise experience - well, okay, the strap with the funny name does look a bit cheesy, but that's a minor gripe.  The regular Apple Watch is an enthusiast model for users who love their Apple gadgets and won't mind paying a premium for higher quality materials. And the lavish Apple Watch Edition is for the celebrities who love showing off - and by the way, $10 000 is actually very little to ask for from the truly wealthy types. Kanye and Kim will probably buy one each.You don't have to. Remember, the Apple Watch starts at $350, not at $10k. And for $350, it looks like you're getting an excellent smartwatch to pair with your iPhone!

60 Comments
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posted on 09 Mar 2015, 17:46 29

1. SIGPRO (Posts: 1379; Member since: 03 Oct 2012)


This Watch is a joke!

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 17:55 22

2. AnTuTu (Posts: 1578; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)


Biggest joke of 2015 in every aspect.

Apple thinks they can put an Apple logo on every crap and can sell it for hundreds of dollar which is just ridiculous and ain't going to work this time.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:18 5

14. nctx77 (Posts: 1720; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Your comment is the biggest joke of 2015! Dude the Apple watch sport will sell like hot cakes and watch enthusiast will eat up the stainless steel. Celeb and the rich will jump all over the gold! Jewelry is about status. Wearing even the cheapest version lets everyone know you paid $350-$400 instantly. $550-600 for the stainless. If you thought the iPhone was a status symbol, wait for this! You could have on a 30,000 Patek Phillipe and most people wouldn't know and think it was an ordinary watch. Throw on an Apple watch and even your grandma knows what you paid for it. This is the jewelry game, not the tech game! You ain't ready!

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:41 11

19. maherk (Posts: 3424; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


"Watch enthusiasts will eath up the stainless steel"
not gonna happen. Watch enthusiasts know the difference between a handcrafted luxury watch and an over price machine made in China one.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 21:33 1

42. nctx77 (Posts: 1720; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Amazon is running a great sale on that ointment. Use it and maybe you can sit down some where!

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 20:58

58. darkkjedii (Posts: 19814; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Lmao!

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:44 8

20. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 2716; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


While his comment is absolutely stupid, yours is right up there. Rich people don't care if you don't know the difference between a Patek Phillipe or a Hublot. If you don't know, your opinion doesn't matter anyway. They wouldn't wear jewelry the common people wear too. Nothing is exclusive to a watch that millions of people wear. Not even gold can change that.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 21:32 1

41. nctx77 (Posts: 1720; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Put your money where your mouth is! The gold version alone will outsell Android Wear first year sales within a year. I will put your watch of choice on it!

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 06:45

52. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 2716; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


Grow up!

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 21:03

60. darkkjedii (Posts: 19814; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Maherk earns it a lot though bro. He's a very disrespectful person on this site.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 23:06 2

46. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


+1. I don't see myself swapping my Rolex for an iWatch. My Rolex has increased in value over time, while the iWatch v. 1.0 is going to be worthless the moment it's battery fails. And, and, and.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 20:14 2

35. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)


yeah and people are a joke when they spend 10,000$ for as dumb smart watch when u can buy a Pebble watch that last 3 days or a 360 that actually looks like a watch or buy a ROLEX/SWISS watch that can last longer than a iwatch.

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 00:10 2

47. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1235; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


dude don't feel burned but this watch is fugly just like the first samsung gear watch. However other players learnt from thier mistakes and upped thier game. Apple being so late to the Watch game should have produced something way better.

Fugly is Fugly...aint no other way to look at it!

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 03:51

48. Shubham412302 (Posts: 430; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


yeah beacuse it has apple logo
but still its a joke

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 06:26

51. bittle (Posts: 7; Member since: 06 Mar 2015)


You are just a joke and your lost conclusion! People like you should pay a lot of money to get something what usually shouldn't be so expensive. Corporations love sheep's like you. Normal people don't bite this...

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:08 3

25. cheetah2k (Posts: 1508; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


So phonearena say its "dust and water resistant" - please clarify what IP rating it has because I understand this is all bu11shi7

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:01 1

5. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 11431; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Your comment is.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:10 7

26. cheetah2k (Posts: 1508; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


They copied the Sony SW3....

Who in their right mind going to pay for SS and Gold.. WTF? seriously

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:05 3

9. mistercarter (Posts: 360; Member since: 01 Sep 2011)


at least it's a functional smartwatch, unlike those Android Wear aka Google Now on 2nd screen watches you get for almost the same price from Sony, LG or the likes

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:08 10

10. AppleJuice (Posts: 145; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)


At least it has half the functionality of the Gear S.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:11 11

13. maherk (Posts: 3424; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


That's why Apple went ahead and stole all the features from Android Wear and Tizen ;)

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:37 1

32. sniper1087 (Posts: 501; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)


Stole? Really? Those features are on smartphones, so they are not stolen. The implementation is different, with the crown, force touch, sending taps,drawings and heartbeats to another watch. Those features are not found on any other watch, now not saying they aren't gimmicks, but they are there nonetheless and not from any other platforms.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:15 6

28. sgodsell (Posts: 3258; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


The vast majority of apps and functionality is already on Android Wear. Only Android Wear has more apps. Personally I think Android Wear is very easy to use, and the functionality works quite well.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 21:30

40. sniper1087 (Posts: 501; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)


Well not saying it is not, though I sold my moto 360 because it was quite buggy sometimes, you could reply to messages and sometimes you couldn't. And yeah normal SMS as well as whatsapp. The given is that in android wear you can send email by voice and that could be convenient.

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 06:06 1

50. faddi (Posts: 29; Member since: 11 Feb 2015)


Apple paying you well for your comments there buddy?

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 17:58 4

3. AppleJuice (Posts: 145; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)


The Sport one looks like plastic.

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 06:02

49. drunkenjay (Posts: 860; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)


copied ol sammie XD lawsuits incoming.

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 14:48

55. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8496; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Because it is.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:00 7

4. phljcnth (Posts: 481; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Funny to see Apple trying so hard to put something that could set them apart from the competition and ending up failing. Really? All I've read is how the watch is made which is the last thing I'd care to know. It lacks substance to say the least. This watch isn't making any sense for its price tag.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:01 5

6. HugoBarraCyanogenmod (Posts: 1013; Member since: 06 Jul 2014)


This site turns into watcharena because of Apple

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:01 11

7. Kakarotto (Posts: 253; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)


LOL 28nm processor! 5 years old tech hahaha

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:09 2

11. UglyFrank (Posts: 1584; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


All android wear smartwatches use the S400 which is a..... Don't worry I'll wait

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:23 9

16. wando77 (Posts: 808; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


Yes but nobody is claiming them to be innovative

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:50 2

21. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 2142; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


The Moto 360 uses some old-ass processor from the junk bin of a company that no longer makes consumer SoC's. A TI OMAP 3 shouldn't be in anything.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:30 1

30. sgodsell (Posts: 3258; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Its a 1 GHz processor. How much CPU/GPU power do you need in a smart watch? Remember the apps and the display is a fraction of what you would find on a smart phone. There is no camera, no gsm/LTE. Look at the original iPhone (412 MHz) or the first android HTC G1 (528 MHz), both devices had a 480x320 display. So the watches have lower resolutions. These are smart watches which don't need the same processing as a smart phone. Its not like your going to have multiple windows running multiple apps simultaneously. The TI runs fine on my Moto 360.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 20:13

34. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 2142; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


It's a 2009 45nm SoC, and that's enough said.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 22:00

43. nctx77 (Posts: 1720; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Annnnd the Moto 360 is 1mm thicker than the Apple Watch!

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:03 3

8. darkkjedii (Posts: 19814; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I'm hella curious about it. Lotsa things I wanna try out.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:10 6

12. maherk (Posts: 3424; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Lots of**

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:51 4

23. AnTuTu (Posts: 1578; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)


He has English problem please don't judge him :(

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 08:52 2

53. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 2716; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


There is a difference in incorrect use of the language and slang.

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 21:01

59. darkkjedii (Posts: 19814; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Exactly bro. Lotsa slang for lots of, some just don't get it. +1

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 22:04

44. Furbal (Posts: 925; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


software/function i think its going to be a win (long term), i'd still wait for next generation, this one is lacking on hardware.

It'll be interesting as apple/android wear/pebble evolve (i have two pebble times on order, going to be selling our two pebble steels).

I swap phones to much to be locked into a single watch platform...

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:19 9

15. WackJobs (banned) (Posts: 30; Member since: 04 Mar 2015)


Not sure about all other features & specs but Samsung Gear S does have better screen than this.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:24 3

17. Neo_Huang (Posts: 1067; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)


This is actually pretty high quality, but it is still overpriced.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:26 9

18. TMach (Posts: 452; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


It is a watch people! For that money, I will go and purchase a proper one, Rolex, Cartier Omega or whatever.....Fools and their money are so easily parted! Thank God my obsession stops with phones......! As for blind fan boys, to defend Apple's pricing proves the point of your slavish following of the brand and whatever nickname you've earned as a consequence seems appropriate and truly deserved but do feel free to flame away!

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 18:50 3

22. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1524; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


Android and Microsoft smart watch's have more built in functionality than this one does. it's too tied to the iphone to do certain things.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:36

31. sgodsell (Posts: 3258; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


The Microsoft band is only using a MCU which isn't even a full fledge CPU. The MS band is running at 120 MHz with 2 MB of ram and 64 MB of storage. The Android Wear Smartwatch's and the Apple Watches have 512 MB of ram, and 4 GB of storage. So the MS band is not a Smartwatch. Its a fitness band that has some smart features and lots of heath and fitness features.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:07 6

24. orielwindow (Posts: 107; Member since: 23 Sep 2010)


Man, Android fans SURE do get riled up over Apple products. Sometimes I wonder why they care so much. It's like those Atheist who won't stop talking about God. Don't want an Apple watch? Who cares!?!?! Skip the article and go read something else.

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 15:00

56. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8496; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Man, Apple fans SURE do get riled up over Android products. Sometimes I wonder why they care so much. It's like those Atheist who won't stop talking about God. Don't want an Android watch? Who cares?!?!?! Skip the article and go read something else.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:11 3

27. Evan_C (Posts: 145; Member since: 15 Dec 2014)


can it be April already!?

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 19:20

29. Nikash (Posts: 9; Member since: 09 Mar 2015)


Too expensive never buying one.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 20:01 1

33. Nathillien (Posts: 208; Member since: 05 Oct 2014)


No matter how much gold they are putting in there it still looks like a kids toy. The design of it is just plain and boring. Only hype and stupidity will make this thing fly but even then not for long.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 20:21

36. cripton805 (Posts: 1422; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


How is this worth almost twice as much as an iPod touch?

oh..... because you can wear it.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 20:27 1

37. insanity99 (Posts: 31; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


Still prefer G-Shock.

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 20:29

38. javy108 (Posts: 1004; Member since: 27 Jul 2014)


O: 10K Watch?.... Damn!

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 21:23

39. sw9056 (Posts: 11; Member since: 26 Dec 2012)


I am waiting for ms band 2 :-)
it will be better than all the rest !

posted on 09 Mar 2015, 22:34 1

45. phantom28 (Posts: 13; Member since: 23 Feb 2015)


useless like all other smart watches ....a smart band for the sport activities will do the job , for the rest like cals , emails , sms , games when i get bored i use my phone , thats why i payed 600 euro for it TO USE IT

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 14:45

54. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 8496; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


"Its not a display, its the focal point of your experience."
HAH!

I have a better way - "Its not an ad, its a piece of marketing BS".

Apple - It is a display and if you don't look at it, you wont even be able to use the device. Any device that has a display, it is obviously the focal point because it is the only want to see what is going on.

What experience? Its a glorified watch. Checking the time, date, calendar or what have you isn't an experience.

It's these kind of lame tactics that the fans go googoo gaga over.
Apple Fan - Looks how Apple markets their stuff, its so amazing. Its not a watch, it an experience.

I don't hear Six Flags saying, its not just a roller coaster, its an adventure.

I now Apple will sell millions of them, I am sure they will outsell Android Wear and all the others combined. Just like McDonald's outsells hamburgers compared to all the combine hamburger joints on the planet. Doesn't mean they make the best hamburger. But of course, to a McDonald's junkie, more sales must mean it the best. lol

The device can only handle a splash. It is not IP certified against water or dust. If you don't own an iPhone the device can't even be used as the phone is required to setup most of the features, while this is not true of the Galaxy Gear S.

Another store will 1000's of repeat apps.

I guess I will post some watch faces for $.99 and see how many I sell.

Wow! 2.5hours to charge up a battery that is smaller than a quarter? HAH! My Note 4 has a 3220mah battery and it charges from 0% to full in just 90 mins, without using fast charging. I get 50% in just 30 mins using fast charging and is still more power than this.

My Gear S also takes less than 2 hours to fully charge, but it rarely has ever died. Usually when I do charge it after 2 days of usage, its at 20% or more.

Well if its from Apple it must be good. I wish all the buyer the best. Just remember the first 1000 buyers are the guinea pigs and will be the first to report problems.

Also, I am sure Apple will create a replacement plan specifically for those who get the watch damaged from water when they start sweating on it and it bricks or stops responding.

If it was priced at $199 I'd get one. But 349 and it doesn't even have 3G capability, no water resistance, is a fail for me. Sorry Apple. No Can do. Oh and my Gear S, even though it was designed to work with a Galaxy device, many f the features work with any phone over BT, including making and receiving calls.

posted on 10 Mar 2015, 20:57

57. darkkjedii (Posts: 19814; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Great!

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