Apple Watch springs forward

The Apple Watch: details are finally released
The Apple Watch: details are finally released

Updated: The consumer electronics company has officially launched its smartwatch.

SAN FRANCISCO – Right on time, Apple unveiled the long-awaited details of its smartwatch on Monday.

Though the Watch was the most anticipated news of the day, the first hour of Apple's event was full of announcements about AppleTV and media partnerships, Mac updates, and software.

The early focus was on features, without explicitly mentioning the Apple Watch. There was a recap of Apple Pay, and Tim Cook, the company's chief executive, introduced medical research professionals around the world, who in turn expanded on Apple’s HealthKit and new (and open-source) ResearchKit.

The latter allows developers to design and build apps that can be "powerful diagnostics tools". Some might use the iPhone’s motion sensor to replicate a useful test for Parkinson’s symptoms or use the microphone for a diagnostic vocal test. Five of these apps are already available.

Apple was also explicit that users would have control over how their data is shared. In light of the sensitivity of medical data, Apple device users will have total control over their privacy settings and it was made clear that Apple would not be able to see this data – perhaps a dig at Google, which has also been making inroads in health and sensor technology.

After outlining new MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models, Cook came back on stage to talk about the Apple Watch, "the most personal device Apple has ever created."

Cook stressed that the Watch tells the time, tracks health and helps users communicate. "Apple Watch allows you to communicate much more immediately and much more intimately," said Cook, who demonstrated how to receive calls and read full emails right on your wrist.

Uniquely, users will be able to communicate Watch-to-Watch, through a feature called Digital Touch, which Cook described as "a new way to communicate." Users will even be able to send their heart rates to each other.

Kevin Lynch. Apple's vice president of technology, demonstrated how users can interact with news apps, social media, messages, calendars, by talking to Siri.

For health features, Cook recapped what we previously knew about the Watch – that it will track calories, distance, time as you exercise, and offer reports.

As Marketing's Shona Ghosh pointed out, "Apple is trying to push the idea of micro moments (Glances), meaning you never look at a single app for more than a few seconds at a time.

"That means partner brands and app makers need to pack in the most useful information in the most digestible way."

This story was first published on Campaign US.

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