It looks kind of boxy, in a rounded kind of way. Gorgeous screen, but not curved, as rumors had it. Innovative UI. Two sizes, three editions, six interchangeable bands. Starts at $349. Available early 2015. Requires an iPhone 5 or iPhone 6.
About those editions: The base Apple Watch has a case made of steel alloy. The Apple Sport has an aluminum case, and the Apple edition has a case made of 18 karat gold. The six bands are made of materials ranging from plastic to leather and steel. several with magnetic closures. The smaller size is 38mm long; the larger 42mm long. Width and thickness were not specified.
The watch’s UI is really new. It’s based around a rotating crown and a button, both on the right side of the case. The crown acts as a Home button and as zoom and scroll. The screen is touch sensitive, both to gesture and to force. There’s haptic feedback (and Apple demonstrated how haptics can direct you with Apple Maps, and how you can send another watch wearer your heartbeat). There’s a mic, which can be used for dictation and as a recording device.
Watchfaces are highly customizable. Presumably, third-party watchfaces will be available, as will apps, developed with a WatchKit SDK.
There’s a heartrate monitor on the back, and built-in accelerometer. GPS and wifi location information for activity monitors reside on the iPhone. Also on the back are the charging contacts — sorry, not wireless — which are held on and aligned magnetically.
The watch has an NFC chip, enabling ApplePay, the Apple payment system that was also unveiled today. The chip can be used, said VP Kevin Lynch, in a Starwood hotels app to unlock your hotel door.
No word about battery life, which is a big open question.
The Verge got to the Net first with a hands-on. They like it, but they’re not wild about it. Keep in mind, though — this is not nearly finished hardware or software. 9to5Mac talks about the notification UI, called Glances, Engadget talks about the activity apps, and TechCrunch talks about the person-to-person gesture and haptic messaging.