Apple finally announced the much anticipated Apple Watch, at a special event held in San Francisco. The watch, having three models, tHE Sport made out of aluminum, the stainless steel collection model, and the solid gold Edition will be available for pre-order on April 10 and released to the public on April 24. They come in two sizes, the 38 mm and the 42 mm with a variety of different bands. Prices very greatly depending on the band for the watch chosen by the wearer, but the Sport starts at $349 US, the stainless steel collection starts at $549 US and the solid gold Edition starts at a whopping $10000 US. The keynote presented by Apple was already the most talked about thing in technology, but now that the Apple Watch has been shown off to the public, the hype surrounding the product has only increased, and will most likely continue to until the watch is released. One cause for excitement is the feature set of the Apple Watch.
Along with being the first and only Smart Watch to have a digital crown, it comes packed with features such as Siri, the ability to reply to text messages via dictation, turn by turn directions sent to you via a tap on your wrist and the ability to answer and talk over the phone, without having to take out your iPhone. Along with these things, the Apple Watch is capable of doing many things with health info, including but not limited to checking your heart rate. In addition to the brilliant features packed into the Smart Watch, we were able to learn a little about some of the specs of the watch. It will have a battery that lasts for 18 hours, a screen with a retina display, and a brand new feature called force touch which will also be used on the new Macs as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t learn for sure what kind of processor the watch would be packing, or the storage or ram content.
The app selection available on the watch will make using it an even more pleasurable experience. Highlights of the keynote related to apps include being able to order an Uber ride directly from your wrist, open your garage door with the device and the ability to unlock the door of a hotel room directly from your wrist, no key needed. All these features are great for everyone using the watch, but what about the features that blind people should care about?
The first major thing to note is this. Apple hasn’t officially confirmed that the Apple Watch will have VoiceOver on it’s website or in the keynote. That being said, in an interview, released to the public last week, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the watch will have VoiceOver. The file system of the watch was also leaked and supports Cook’s claim. VoiceOver on the Apple Watch could work wonders for people with visual impairments. Instead of using a debit card or credit card, or even having to take your iPhone out of your pocket, Apple Pay would be usable on the watch. We don’t know how VoiceOver will work with third party apps, but we do know one other thing. VoiceOver and other accessibility features can be activated by a triple press of the digital crown, not unlike how VoiceOver would be activated on the iPhone. Over all, a lot is still unknown about the accessibility features of the Apple Watch, or even how well they’ll function, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated if any new developments arise.
It will be interesting to see how the Apple Watch does, not just in the mainstream market, but with blind or low vision users as well. On one hand, the watch could be a massive success but on the other, it could flop like most other Smart Watches before it. Will you be purchasing an Apple Watch?