Posts Tagged ‘Smartwatch’

The big day is here. The Apple Watch is now in the hands of the lucky few who ordered one on release day.

Apple are currently experiencing supply constraints meaning that if you ordered one now, you won’t receive one until late June.

I went to the local Apple Store on the 11th April to try on a few models and see if they worked for me. Here’s how the 42mm stainless steel model looked:

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Demo Mode Activity App

It is gorgeous. The band is expertly crafted and compliments the watch face perfectly. As a luxury watch owner, I was expecting to see a big difference between this watch and the ones I own, but I just couldn’t fault it.The watch and straps look and feel to be made with precision and with an exceptionally high quality. I stood there unable to choose which strap combination I would buy and in reality thinking of how many of them I would purchase over time. The steel bracelet and Milanese Loop were particularly beautifully made.

I think Apple have hit the nail on the head here, you are buying one face and then get to choose multiple straps. Essentially you will have a watch for different occasions as the straps were so simple to remove with a click of a button but yet felt so secure. Imagine buying a Rolex or Breitling with a leather strap and deciding to buy a steel bracelet for diversity later. The luxury brand will charge you £600+ for that strap, where as Apple ask you for on average around £120.

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Milanese Loop

Apple’s appointment system allows for fifteen minutes to try on up to three different watch and band combinations. In reality, I tried on many more.

It should be noted that the watches they allow you to try on are locked into a demo mode which Apple staff tell me is to prevent people trying them on and running out of door. Fair enough, but it meant that I couldn’t test the digital crown for example to see how easy it is to operate. For actually testing the watch, they have one bolted to the table.
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Demo Mode iMessage

I tried using the Apple Watch’s various apps and found them to be of the typical iOS quality. I came away without ordering one as I came to a strange conclusion. When the Apple Watch was first announced I thought ‘I’d love a smart watch, but I’d want it to look like a normal watch’.
After trying one on, I had completely the opposite reaction. I don’t think I need any of the Apple Watch’s features, but I want one precisely because it looks so good. What a turnaround.

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Tag Heuer have just announced that they are producing an Android powered smart watch in partnership with Intel and Google. There are no specifics on specification or design yet, which makes the timing of the announcement look like a brazen attempt to make people think twice before purchasing an Apple Watch next month.

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Data from a number of customer surveys appear to suggest that up to 18% of iPhone 6/6+ users may buy an Apple Watch and, if true, that’s a very real dent in the Swiss watch market. Tag, along with other premium Swiss watchmakers such as Breitling, have now taken notice.

Most of those surveyed who answered ‘Yes – I will be buying an Apple Watch’ will most likely have never owned anything other than a traditional timepiece. 18% is a very high number for a market that aside from Pebble, doesn’t really exist.

There seems to be some trepidation from potential buyers, who may like the idea of a smart watch but just don’t know for sure if it’s for them. Apple knows this and from April 10th, will have all models available in store so that customers can test drive it themselves. For those who find it a bit too much of a leap to make and perhaps come away still preferring the classic watch look, Tag Heuer could be ideally placed.

If a Tag Heuer smart watch looked like a traditional timepiece with smartphone features and was priced around the £1000-£1500 mark, I’m sure it would sell very well. I for one would be interested!

TheTechSpy never thought he would be reporting on an item of luggage, but it is time to introduce this little baby.

It was only a matter of time before someone was going to do this as it is an arena which has been fairly untouched by Tech and in need of a shakeup.

Introducing the Bluesmart carry on case with some serious in-built features that you just wouldn’t expect. Let’s start off with the “smart” part of the case. This piece of luggage will connect to your smartphone allowing you to not only digitally control the lock, but also track its location. With this, it also has a built in proximity sensor which will alert you via your phone if you stray too far from your case or if it indeed strays from you.

Bluesmart Case Lock

The team are promising smartwatch apps which will show all the information that your phone would display but on your wrist. I would be particularly interested in this as when moving around the airport is not always convenient to pull out your phone.

You can tell the team behind this have really sat down and researched what is wrong with the current design of luggage. A great feature to show this is the digital lock which will tell you if your case has been opened, so you will always know if the authorities have been through your case. The lock is also TravelSentry approved and has a feature that when you move away from it, the case will automatically lock for extra security.

The case itself has an in-built digital scale that when you hold the handle and lift the case, will provide the weight information directly to your phone app, hopefully stopping all those unwelcomed airport charges.

Scale

Inside, the firm have provided easy access spaces for your laptop or tablets and a hidden removable battery that can be connected to your phone to recharge on the move. We would have loved to have seen some kind of recharge of this batter via the rolling of the wheels. It would be cool to get a little charge back for the work you are doing pulling it around the airport.

Recharge

As a basic case, this has been built to a very high standard. The team have opted for 4 wheels to improve the way this case moves around and used anodised aluminium and polycarbonates to keep the case lightweight.

All in all this is an awesome smart suit case which you can carry onto the aircraft. But the things to consider here are firstly the ever changing rules of the airlines which at the moment here in the UK can force you to check the baggage in. Secondly, the company are yet to confirm the warranty details, which for the likes of Samsonite are set at 10 years and over. Last but not least is the August 2015 delivery via Indiegogo….these crowdfunding campaigns have a horrible habit of taking longer to deliver than promised so expect this to go over its target.

With all this being said, $235 + $40 shipping (£170ish) is a cheap punt to take on a product that could revolutionise this sector.

I have never been so excited by luggage…..take notes Samsonite, this case is a glimpse of the future.

Indiegogo

Agent

 

Well, just when we thought that the likes of Pebble were taking over the world of smart watches and all we had to look forward to were the super powers of Google and Apple stamping out the competition, there’s a new kid in town.

Agent, a Kickstarter collaboration from Secret Labs & House of Horology is a real smart watch which I think has hit the nail on the head in terms of design. Let’s leave the techie stuff for now, this watch will not look out of place in the gym, out at the shops or even at the office, which is rare in a smartwatch like this. The solid, almost industrial design looks superb and so different to anything we have seen so far.

Now, the stuff you have been waiting for, what’s inside the dinky little case….Firstly, let’s talk about the dual processor. This is one of the first times this has been used, one processor looking after the bulk of power hungry apps ( ARM Cortex M4) and the other, a smaller chip which takes care of business in sleep mode, making sure power consumption is kept to a real minimum (11% of last years processor consumption).

Inside, the watch also houses a bluetooth chip which like all other smart watches connects to your phone to pull data or even control it. It will work with iPhone 4S and higher, Android 2.3+ and Windows Phone 8, so most of us will not have issues with compatibility. One of my favourite things about these smart watches is notifications in the form of vibration. Imagine sitting in a meeting and your phone is ringing, a quick glance of your watch face tells you whether it is important or not, enabling you to divert the call or get up and take it.

The watch is water resistant and most importantly has a rechargeable battery with a 7 day life span (with Bluetooth on)which is wirelessly charged via the Qi pad supplied. Interestingly if you have a Qi pad by other manufacturers this will still charge. The watch also includes an accelerometer for use with step counting and anything else developers wish to do with it and 2 light sensors to control the brightness of the anti glare screen.

To sum up, this watch isn’t a million miles away from the devices out there, but where we do see a massive difference is in the design, and this is where you can see the impact of getting an outside designer (House of Horology) who have given a different aspect on creating a smart watch.

For the first time, here is a watch that I would consider leaving my designer watch at home. Order yours now for $199 with $15 delivery to the UK with an expected delivery in Jan 2014.

 

 

 

Earlier this week we wrote a blog on Apple and Samsung working on a smart watch for release in 2013, a few days later we have LG and now Google lining up to create their own models.

From a report in the Financial Times, Google are apparently working on a Smart Watch to rival the current rumoured offerings. In the FT report they say they have a “person briefed on the project” who suggests the watch is not being made by Google X Labs (creators of Google glass) but instead by the Google Android unit.

“While Glass is being created in its X Lab, home to experimental “moonshot” projects such as the self-driving car, Google’s smart watch is being developed by its Android unit, according to a person briefed on the project, to act as an extension to the smartphones using that operating system. The project is separate from Samsung’s efforts, the source said, although there is no indication of when it might launch.” – FT

Looks like the smart watch wars could be heating up nicely.

Apple Smart Watch Concept