Apple has unveiled the Apple Watch, which will allow users to read and reply to messages, stay fit with the built-in accelerometer and heart rate monitor and even pay for purchases using Apple Pay.
Apple has announced that Apple Watch, the newest addition to Apple’s ecosystem, will be available on Friday, April 24 to customers in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US.
Apple describes the watch as “an incredibly accurate timepiece, an intimate and immediate communication device and a groundbreaking health and fitness companion”. It says that it is highly customisable for personal expression, and “brings an entirely new way to receive information at a glance and interact with the world through third-party app experiences designed specifically for the wrist”.
“Apple Watch begins a new chapter in the way we relate to technology and we think our customers are going to love it,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait for people to start wearing Apple Watch to easily access information that matters, to interact with the world, and to live a better day by being more aware of their daily activity than ever before.”
“Conceived, designed and developed as a singular product, Apple Watch merges hardware and software like never before,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “In Apple Watch, we’ve created three beautifully curated collections with a software architecture that together enable unparalleled personalisation in a wearable device.”
Apple Watch introduces new technologies, including the Digital Crown, an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly without obstructing the display. The Retina display with Force Touch on Apple Watch senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing a new way to quickly and easily access relevant controls. The new Taptic Engine discreetly delivers a gentle tap on your wrist whenever the user receives a notification or message.
Apple provided the following information on the Apple Watch:
An extremely precise timepiece, Apple Watch keeps time to within 50 milliseconds of UTC, the universal time standard. Apple Watch can be personalised with watch faces ranging from traditional analogue such as the Chronograph face, to the information-rich Modular face, or beautifully animated butterflies and jellyfish on the Motion face. Apple Watch goes beyond telling time with specialised functions on the watch face—known in watchmaking as complications—such as the sunrise/sunset, upcoming calendar events or daily activity level. With multiple customisable watch faces and complications, Apple Watch enables millions of possible configurations. Swipe up from the watch face for Glances that quickly show you information you care about, such as the weather forecast, your current location on a map or the music you’re listening to.
Intimate & Immediate Communication Device
Apple Watch enables you to send messages, read email and answer calls to your iPhone right from your wrist. The Taptic Engine alerts you with a gentle tap so you won’t miss important notifications. With Digital Touch, Apple Watch allows you to communicate in all-new ways by sending a sketch, a tap or even the rhythm of your own heartbeat. Interact quickly and conveniently with the world around you with Apple Watch by paying for coffee using Apple Pay, boarding a plane with a Passbook boarding pass, or raising your wrist to ask Siri for turn-by-turn directions in Maps.
Groundbreaking Health & Fitness Companion
Apple Watch encourages you to sit less, move more and get some exercise every day. The Activity app provides a simple visual snapshot of your daily activity with three rings that measure active calories burned, brisk activity and how often you’ve stood up to take a break from sitting during the day. Apple Watch provides the detailed metrics you need during dedicated workout sessions for the most popular activities, such as walking, running and cycling through the Workout app. With an accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone, Apple Watch smartly uses the best sensors for different types of motion and provides a comprehensive picture of your all-day activity and workouts. The Activity app on iPhone collects your activity and workout data from Apple Watch so you can see your history in greater detail. Apple Watch uses this history to suggest personalised activity goals, reward fitness milestones and keep you motivated.
Apple Watch is available in two different sizes, 38 mm and 42 mm, and in three distinct collections—Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. Apple Watch Sport features a lightweight anodised aluminium case in silver and space grey with a Retina display protected by strengthened Ion-X glass and matching high-performance fluoroelastomer Sport Band in five colours. The Apple Watch collection features highly polished stainless steel and space black stainless steel cases with a Retina display protected by sapphire crystal. The Apple Watch collection comes with a choice of three different leather straps, a stainless steel link bracelet and Milanese loop, and a black or white Sport Band. Apple Watch Edition features cases specially crafted from custom rose or yellow 18-carat gold alloys developed to be twice as hard as standard gold, a Retina display protected by polished sapphire crystal and a choice of uniquely designed straps and bands with 18-carat gold clasps, buckles or pins.
The world’s most vibrant and innovative developer community has been creating all-new experiences specifically designed for Apple Watch. From requesting an Uber, checking in to your American Airlines flight, booking a bike for your Equinox class to remotely controlling your Honeywell Lyric thermostat while away, the possibilities for Apple Watch apps are endless. These experiences extend the functionality of your favourite iPhone apps, while delivering an innovative way to interact—right from your wrist. Popular apps such as Instagram, MLB.com At Bat, Nike+ Running, OpenTable, Shazam, Twitter, WeChat and more will also be available on Apple Watch. The new Apple Watch app that comes with iOS 8.2 on iPhone lets you browse, buy and download apps from the Apple Watch App Store.
Designed to be worn throughout your day, Apple Watch delivers up to 18-hour all-day battery life*** and comes with a unique charging solution that combines Apple’s MagSafe technology with inductive charging for a quick connection that simply snaps into place.
By design, the shopping experience for Apple Watch will be the most personalized Apple has ever offered. When Apple Watch becomes available for pre-order from the Apple Online Store on Friday, April 10, Apple retail stores and department store shop-in-shops will begin offering customers the chance to preview their choice of Apple Watch and try it on in-store.
Beginning April 10 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US, Apple Watch will be available for preview, try-on by appointment at Apple’s retail stores, and available for pre-order through the Apple Online Store. On April 24, Apple Watch will be available online or by reservation in Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorised Resellers in China and Japan. Customers who purchase online or in-store from Apple will be offered Personal Setup to customise and pair Apple Watch with their iPhone.
Apple Watch is available in three collections, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, and Apple Watch Edition, crafted from custom rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys.
Apple Watch will also be available to preview or try on at Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Isetan in Tokyo and Selfridges in London on April 10. Apple Watch will be for sale on April 24 at these select department store shop-in-shops, and at boutiques in major cities across the world including colette in Paris, Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo, Maxfield in Los Angeles and The Corner in Berlin.
Starting today customers can explore and choose their favourite Apple Watch in the Apple Online Store or through the Apple Store app for iPhone and iPad.
Apple Watch requires iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 8.2. or later. iOS 8.2 will be available for download today.
* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA
Samsung S10 in lock-step with its rivals?
Tonight Samsung will kick off the next round in the smartphone wars with the S10 range, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
When Samsung unveils the new S10 smartphone at an event in San Francisco today, it will mark the beginning of the 2019 round of World War S. That stands for smartphone wars, although Samsung would like it to be all about the S.
Ever since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 2013, Samsung has held both technology and thought leadership in the handset world. Back then, Apple’s iPhone 5 was the last device from the American manufacturer that could lay claim to being the best smartphone in the world. With the 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple entered an era of incremental improvement, playing catch-up, and succumbing to market trends driven by its competitors.
Six years later, Samsung is fighting off the same threat. Its Chinese rival, Huawei, suddenly wrested away leadership in the past year, with the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro regarded as at last equal to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 – if not superior. Certainly, from a cost perspective, Huawei took the lead with its more competitive prices, and therefore more value for money.
Huawei also succeeded where Apple failed: introducing more economical versions of its flagship phones. The iPhone 5c, SE and XR have all been disappointments in the sales department, mainly because the price difference was not massive enough to attract lower-income users. In contrast, the Lite editions of the Huawei P9, P10 and P20 have been huge successes, especially in South Africa.
Today, for the first time in half a decade, Samsung goes into battle on a field laid out by its competitors. It is expected to launch the Galaxy S10 Plus, S10 and S10 e, with the latter being the Samsung answer to the strategy of the iPhone XR and Huawei P20 Lite.
Does this mean Samsung is now in lock-step with its rivals, focused on matching their strategies rather than running ahead of them?
It may seem that way, but Samsung has a few tricks up its electronic sleeve. For example, it is possible it will use the S10 launch to announce its coming range of foldable phones, expected to be called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Flex. It previewed the technology at a developer conference in San Francisco last November, and this will be the ideal moment to reclaim technology leadership by going into production with foldables – even if the S10 range itself does not shoot out the lights.
However, the S10 handsets will look very different to their predecessors. First, before switching on the phone, they will be notable by the introduction of what is being called the punch-hole display, which breaks away from the current trend of having a notch at the top of the phone to house front-facing cameras and speakers. Instead, the punch-hole is a single round cut-out that will contain the front camera. It is the key element of Samsung’s “Infinity O” display – the O represents the punchhole – which will be the first truly edge-to-edge display, on the sides and top.
The S10 range will use the new Samsung user interface, One UI, also unveiled at the developer conference. It replaces the previous “skin”, unimaginatively called the Samsung Experience, to introduce a strong new interface brand.
One UI went live on the Note 8 last month, giving us a foretaste, and giving Samsung a chance to iron out the bugs in the field. It is a less cluttered interface, addressing one of the biggest complaints about most manufacturer skins. Only Nokia and Google Pixel handsets offer pure Android in the local market, but One UI is Samsung’s best compromise yet.
It introduces a new interaction area, in the bottom half, reachable with the thumb, with a viewing area at the top, allowing the user to work one-handed on the bottom area while still having apps or related content visible above. One UI also improves gesture navigation – the phone picks up hand movements without being touched – and notification management.
The S10 range will be the first phones to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, at least for the South African and American markets. That makes it 5G compatible, for when this next generation of mobile broadband becomes available in these markets.
They will also be the first phones to feature Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of the Wi-Fi mobile wireless standard. It will perform better in congested areas, and data transfer will be up to 40% faster than the previous generation.
The phones will be the first to use ultrasound for fingerprint detection. If Samsung gets it right, this will make it the fastest in-screen fingerprint sensor on the market, and allows for a little leeway if one pushes the finger down slightly outside the fingerprint reader surface. It does mean, however, that screen protectors will have to be redesigned to avoid blocking the detection.
Not enough firsts? There are a few more.
Most notably, it will be the first phone range to feature 1 Terabyte (TB) storage – that’s a thousand Gigabytes (GB) – at least for the top-of-the-range devices. Samsung last month announced that it would be the first manufacturer to make 1TB built-in onboard flash storage. Today, it will deploy this massive advantage as it once again weaponises its technology in the fight for smartphone domination.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
IoT set to improve authentication
By Sherry Zameer, Senior Vice President, Internet of Things Solutions for CISMEA region at Gemalto
As it rapidly approaches maturity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to continue a transformational trajectory, introducing new efficiencies in multiple fields by allowing measurement and analysis on a scale that has never been possible before. From agriculture to logistics, from retail to hospitality, from traffic to health, from the home to the office, the applications for monitoring ”things” are limited only by the imagination.
And South African (and African) businesses are showing abundant imagination in their practical deployments of IoT solutions in multiple settings, creating a better tomorrow through almost universal measurement and the introduction of new levels of convenience – including how to access locations, devices and services securely.
Any company, whether South African or international, should bear in mind that understanding consumer expectations can be the key to unlocking the full potential of IoT devices and related smart services.
According to Gemalto’s latest Connected Living study, improving the way consumers authenticate themselves to services is one of the most anticipated benefits of IoT, highlighting a desire for a more seamless and secure IoT experience.
Consumers are interested in advanced ways of authenticating themselves through automatic (based on behavioral patterns) or biometric techniques, lessening the need to have to intervene manually, all in the name of a much more streamlined authentication process. Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have already placed fingerprint and facial recognition high on the agenda. There is also a widespread positive sentiment towards IoT’s potential for improving the quality of home life through connected, smart appliances.
Personalised services is something else that wins consumers over. In fact, a fluid, personalised and unified experience with continuity of services, together with security and privacy, is critical for the successful implementation of any technology.
And those types of services are today quite possible. With everything being connected – from small gadgets to digital solutions for large enterprises – IoT is no longer just a buzzword. That much is clear in a piece from Vodacom IoT managing executive Deon Liebenberg. Writing for IOL Online, Liebenberg provides insight into the sheer range of applications for IoT: the 20 use cases he cites range from the obvious, like transport and logistics, to the connected home and wearables; he even suggests tagging pets with IoT transmitters, for those who always need to know the whereabouts of the family cat.
Low-cost tags fitted to cats, dogs, lamp posts, shipping containers or other items are just one part of the puzzle, however. There are other two pieces; arguably the most complex part is the availability of communication networks in areas where there aren’t any WiFi networks, or indeed, anything else.
And that’s where the bigger takeaway from Liebenberg’s piece and other IoT trends articles becomes apparent. The communication networks are there, as are those tags: dedicated IoT networks (like LoraWAN, SigFox and narrowband IoT) are all available in South Africa.
So, too, is the third and final essential component. Software which is able to process the data generated by the tag and transmitted over the IoT network and into the internet. In this regard, there’s no shortage of solutions available from cloud providers like AWS and Azure; electronics giant Siemens, too, is in on the action, having recently launched a new cloud-based IoT operating system to develop applications and services for process industries, including oil and gas and water management.
This combination means it is quite possible right now to enable just about any use case. Business owners, who will know best how IoT can add value in their organisation, can now see their ideas becoming reality. Most crucial of all, IoT solutions delivering new levels of efficiency and convenience are not only possible, they are able to be offered with the simple and effective security that will drive consumer acceptance.