Hands on with Apple Watch!

The Apple Watch doesn't ship until 2015 but I've already had a chance to try it on and see it in action. With 38mm and 42mm screen size options, standard, sport, and edition collections, you can customize both software and hardware to suit your own fashion sense, including up to solid 18K gold and rose hold bodies and dancing Mickey Mouse clock faces. So, what's it like?

It's new. The digital crown allows for zoom, scroll, and Home access without having to cover the small screen with big fingers. Water resistant but not waterproof — think rain or shower not swimming or diving — it can run both WatchKit actionable notifications and glance widgets and, coming later, native apps as well. There are dedicated fitness and workout apps, and pin-code and skin-contact secured Apple Pay integration as well. There's Siri for voice control, and you can even use the Apple Watch to control your Apple TV!

It's still very early. It works with — and requires — an iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus. (Think of Apple Watch as a shuttle craft to your iPhone's starship, capable of a few things but not everything on its own. At least not yet.) But that means it could work for hundreds of millions of people.

How many people who wear traditional watches will be willing to switch to an Apple Watch? How many people who don't wear watches will be willing to start? Will it be an Apple TV sized business? An iPad sized business? Will Apple update it yearly like the iPhone or every few years like the iPod touch or Apple TV?

So many questions! For now all I know is I want one. It's first generation but it's also first of a kind. Not an iPhone scaled down, not iOS on your wrist, but Watch OS specifically for you to wear. We'll have to charge it every night using a fancy new MagSafe inductive plug, but you get a bright screen and tethering to iPhone for Wi-Fi and cellular for your trouble.

Apple Watch starts at $349 but the gold plated version will likely be quite a bit more. We'll have to wait to find out how much exactly until next spring. But I know that I want one now. How about you?

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

38 Comments
  • A whole new category of computing. Similar first impressions to the first iPhone. I can't wait to try one. Definite want. Sent from the iMore App
  • Are you sure it is $249? I watched the event and it says starting at $349. Kindly clarify the price please, I want to start saving for it. Thanks.
  • It's starts at 350.
  • The difference between $250 and $350 is pretty big. At $350 it really is bit of a tough sell for many. But at $250 it becomes closer to a no-brainer - for those in the market for such a device.
  • It appears to be feature-complete for a 1st-gen product. I'm hoping future versions will be much thinner, as it looks rather chunky.
  • People keep saying to me: "Why do you need a watch when you have a phone?" but this is missing the point. The question for the future should be: "Why would you need a phone when you have a watch?" Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple Watch pricing is appropriate. Look at Polar, Garmin and Suunto's best line's starting prices: $519, $400 and $500, respectively. These are fitness watches with little customization, little or no smartphone integration, mostly closed ecosystems with proprietary hardware accessories and little or no app market for developers. Yet, they sell well. An Apple Watch has the potential to obsolete what Polar, Garmin and Suunto offer on its facet of fitness tech alone, with a great many non-fitness facets of potential left to explore and exploit for added value.
  • I need to see one of these but I'm not as impressed as I hoped I'd be. Think it looks a little clunky to use and I'm not liking the design that much either. Maybe that'll change when I actually try one out.
  • the apple watch is very organic looking - rounded - smooth. The moto 360 is very traditional watch looking. From a watch design pov i don't think the moto does anything new. I'm curious what Europeans think of the apple watch- their taste is very different than Americans ( I have one European friend who thinks its fantastic). I also wonder if you need to see the apple watch in person to appreciate it. Personally, I think the UI is fantastic!!! the best out there. The shape of the watch - meh. I do like the watch with the mesh band - i think that band is very cool.
  • I'm intrigued by the possibilities here. I think this has the potential to be a nice product. However, I think I'll hold off for a while and see what others think after they hit the market. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'd have to see one in person, but to me the style looks very feminine. I'm not ready to jump in just yet. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm getting a very unisex vibe from the watch. I'm also getting the sense that there will be a lot of his and hers purchases. I'm already eyeballing a pair for me and my wife. As for the price and design, it's very original iPhone. The price will definitely come down or they will introduce new lower cost models a years from now. It will also get thinner which is the only disappointment from visual standpoint. It looks chunky which is exactly what all the other smart watch competitors are doing too. I think I just set the bar a little too high in the hopes that Apple would introduce something sexy, useful and sleek. 2 out of 3 ain't bad for 1st gen.
  • I am sure I will end up getting one, but I have yet to find out any technical details, like how much storage space will there be? They say the Apple Watch can play music from your iPhone but then disconnect and you can go for a run and I'm assuming listen with Bluetooth headphones because I didn't see an auxiliary port. Does it connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth? Can you iMessage over wifi while not connected to an iPhone? Does it sync to iTunes? Sorry, I'm a details guy!
  • Crazy the watch isn't waterproof for at least pool depths.
  • That seems to be a bubblegum dial!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Going into the keynote, I was uninterested in a watch--superfluous. But then I saw it. And feel like its use cases connected with me. Quick updates, messaging, OmniFocus task list, mailbox management--quick and on the go. And I think it is beautiful enough :). Now, I want one. And I want to convince my wife to want one. That will be a hard sell. Can't always get what you want, I guess.
  • Not being waterproof sucks. This would have been great when at the pool as a remote extension of your phone...
  • Not so keen on the Sport models but goodness the Edition watches are nice. I do hope Apple allows freely changing bands. The descriptions I've read of the Edition jewelry box/charger are seductive too :)
  • Will Apple Watch allow iPhone 5/5s users to use Apple Pay, even though their PHONE doesn't have NFC?
  • Does the apple watch have NFC? I yes without a fingerprint scanner? Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes. According to what I've heard, as long as the watch is connected to the iPhone and doesn't leave contact with the users skin, NFC transactions can be completed.
  • I stopped wearing a watch 10 years ago I don't see enough to change this practice. After all I was waiting for the 5.5 iPhone + (6) since iPhone 4 so not sure I want a postage stamp screen now. Sent from the iMore App
  • I think I'll wait for the next batch.
  • From the limited stuff I have seen. You can change the bands. I believe it has NFC. I want to know if I connect it to my iPhone 5S and it uses cellular data do I have to pay more to verizon? I would not like that and could be a no go. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yeah I'm wondering about the data too. At least it connects to the iPhone otherwise you'd have to get a whole new data plan which would make it a no go. No one would pay $60+ per month just so a watch has data access Sent from the iMore App
  • Rene,
    Did you find out anything about accessibility, at all?
    It would be really awesome if it is as accessible as the rest of Apple's products, as I can see alot of uses for both me as a blind person, and for people with other disabilities, as well.
    I, too, didn't think I wanted an AppleWatch, but after watching the keynote it seems alot more desirable. :) Sent from the iMore App
  • I was hoping for a lower price point but it does look good, also just wondering about using This on my right wrist because I'm left handed.
  • I want one really bad. I'm an early adopter, so this is like candy to me. One of the features that really hooked me in was the ability to send little sketches to another Apple Watch user. I know its hokey, but for me and my wife it would be great. And the heartbeat thing was just pretty neat. Of course I love all of the other features as well. Its kind of a no-brainer for someone like me. Good thing I have some time to save up!
  • I'd prefer waterproof, but it's not a deal breaker. Must have one. I didn't buy a pebble cause I was waiting for this bad boy., Sent from the iMore App
  • Is it dust and water proof at all? If not I'll have to stick with my traditional Swiss and Gshock watch for when I'm in the field or out hiking.
  • I was somewhat disappointed with the watch... because it looks like a watch (something I stopped wearing because it was bothersome and not necessary anymore), plus it requires tethering to a nearby iPhone, has poor battery life that makes it useless if you forget to bring the charger with you when it starts to die, and it's $349 minimum. For once, one of the concept iWatches was much more appealing than the real thing. THIS would make me want to buy an Apple "watch". Toddham.com/blog/iWatch-concept/ Sent from the iMore App
  • Its so feminine, Just like all apple products. So unfair
  • I've seen a couple " it SHOULD work for left handed people." But would it have killed Apple to show that on the video? ;)
  • Yes AppleInsider states it will work for lefties. They add a caveat though, that the 'digital crown' will be at the bottom instead of the top of the watch. Not sure if this is true. It is early yet maybe Apple will offer customers both options. Sent from the iMore App
  • I don't wear a watch. Haven't for 20+ years. I am getting one. Done deal. Sent from the iMore App
  • For now I'm going to have to say no to the Apple watch issue expensive and I don't have an iPhone that is the only disappointment that I have on it is a beautiful design and a beautiful idea to use the digital crown for it to work too bad I don't only work with the iPhone I was hoping that it would not only work for the iPhone as well as the iPod touch and iPad that is the only disappointment that I have with this product maybe I should wait for it for them to make an advance on the technology Sent from the iMore App
  • Naa, you can keep the apple watch. For $350, I'll take my iPhone out of my pocket. Thank you very much. Only reason I c for buying one is the health monitoring features. But again, I have better things to use my $350 for, like getting an iPhone 6.
  • What is there to say? I want one. I'll buy one as a resell, worth more money down the road and one just for little ole' me.