On Tuesday, September 09, Apple announced the release of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, two of the biggest products to ever be released by Apple. But it was the once fabled and now highly anticipated Apple watch that caused the biggest buzz on the day. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, told the excited audience in Cupertino, California that with the new iPhone, they continue to strive to make products more personal for the user.
Hobbyists agree that wearable tech is the future of our technologically integrated lives. Google Glass started the trend, and Kickstarter-funded project the Pebble smartwatch was the first to bring mobile messaging to our wrists. Apple’s announcement of the Apple Watch has set a new standard in wearable tech, but they’re not the only ones attempting to make products that connect with users in a way that’s more intimate than a smartphone allows. Other tech giants like Sony and Motorola are looking beyond hand-held devices to smart watches – as these companies begin to exhaust the potential of the phone, they’re looking to products that will change how people connect with each other and on what scale.
Of course, any new product can crash and burn in the consumer market despite fancy advancements or updated features. Nonetheless, the following list demonstrates just how widespread the smartwatch phenomenon is predicted to be – these seven smartwatches set for release in the next year are some of the most highly anticipated in the world. In many ways, they’re heralding a new era in how people interact with technology, but only time will tell if they’ll succeed.
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7. Basis Peak Smartwatch
Intel has been in the computer business for decades. Their products are simply everywhere, from phones to laptops. Their own take on the smartwatch will ship in November 2014 with some very desirable features. The Intel Basic Peak will monitor heart rate and motion for several days. Using the data, it will predict the best periods to have the most restful sleep. Intel has released two editions of the watch. The B1 Band is available for $180 while the Basis Carbon Steel Edition is available for $200. Most people might opt for the Carbon Steel Edition because of its updated and stylish design.
6. Sony SmartWatch
Sony has kept the details of their new smartwatch hidden well from the public eye but it’s safe to say they won’t be left behind on the smartwatch bandwagon. The watch will feature a rectangle design with a uni-body build — everything, including the wristband, will be one piece. Sony will use the all-in-one design to make the watch face slimmer by storing the battery in the band. However, this means users will not be be able to switch for a custom band unless it’s made by Sony with the battery already inside. The most unique feature to Sony’s smartwatch is the “Transflective TFT” LCD to help with visibility in harsh sunlight.
5. Asus Zen Watch
In early September, Asus released their first smartwatch, the Zen Watch. Asus has refined the design of the watch with stainless steel, design accents, and a curved glass watch face. It also features an Italian leather strap to resemble traditional analogue watches which adds a touch of class and taste to an electronic device. Among its most impressive features is over 100 watch faces, What’s Next for calendar updates, and Tap Tap to easily activate the interface with a tap of the finger. In the U.S., the watch will sell for only $200 – a very modest price compared to the watches higher up on this list.
4. Samsung Gear S
Most or all new smartwatch models require a paired phone to receive text messages, reply to emails, and sync with your calendar. But the new Samsung Gear S is a stand-alone device that doesn’t need to be connected to your phone via Bluetooth or Wifi, a potentially useful feature. Whether you use an iPhone or Android device, this watch will work. It’s fully 3G-capable so that users can receive calls directly from the watch. It also features a curved 2-inch super AMOLED display with 4 gigs of storage, Wifi, and even a USB port. One of the biggest selling points for any smartwatch is its usability for fitness. Samsung’s Gear S will come compatible with Nike+ Running and a variety of other fitness features.
3. LG’s G Watch R
An update from their G Watch, the G Watch R is LG’s newest addition to the world of smartwatch technology. By all reports, it could be one of the most stylish Android Wear watches there is. LG has created the watch’s design to resemble a traditional men’s sports watch, while still packing in all the features you would expect on a digital device. The display is circular, unlike most of the other watches. It also has a built-in heart monitor (perfect for fitness junkies) and, according to LG, uses 100% of its display to make the best use of every bit of content.
2. Moto 360 Smartwatch
The Moto 360 smartwatch from Motorola is the most highly anticipated Android Wear watch on the market. The round 1.5 inch display has been complimented for its display’s resolution, one of the best of the Android Wear smartwatches. Reportedly with better viewing in sunlight, the Moto 360 will make it easy for consumers to see their content during the day — an indisputable advantage for a wearable device. However, it comes with some pitfalls. The ambient mode of the display may be too dim for most users. There is also a redundant black “slice” at the bottom of the display that houses the circuits. Finally, the wrist band connects underneath the watch face rather than being seamlessly attached to the device, making the watch a little bulky. Even with those improvements to be made, this watch is one of the favourite in Android Wear technology.
1. Apple Watch
Apple has already all but cornered the smartphone market. Even before they introduced the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPhone had become the best-selling smartphone in the world. Last Tuesday it announced a new product that completely does away with Android Wear technology in favour of its own. The Apple Watch will be released in three editions: Watch, Sport, and Edition for a range of user types and prices. Each one features their own design accents such as stainless steel, aluminum, 18-karat gold and a range of sleek wristbands. Each edition also comes in two sizes that should fit any wrist size.
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Beyond Apple’s trademark flare for user-interface design, each edition will have wrist bands that can be swapped out depending on the user’s taste. Stainless steel mesh and colourful silicone are among the few styles to choose from. Even though the watch needs to be paired with an iPhone, it will work with any phone from 5c to 6. It’s definitely worth noting the price tag of this advanced wearable device: The basic Apple Watch will start at $349, quite a bit higher than the other watches currently on or coming to the market. However, with Apple’s consumer loyalty, they probably won’t have any problems getting them off the shelves.