After months of rumors, the iWatch has been made official, and it’s called the Apple Watch. For the first time since the death of Steve Jobs, Tim Cook mentioned that he had “One more thing…” to talk about after unveiling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Introducing the device as a precise and customizable timepiece that is also a comprehensive health and fitness device, the Apple Watch was unveiled with pride.
A video, narrated by Jony Ive, explained how the watch works. Users navigate using the touch display, as well as a Digital Crown on the side (similar to dials you find on analog watches) that allows you to navigate, zoom, and scroll without covering up the display with your fingers. The Apple Watch display can sense touch and swipes, as well as force.
Google continues to slowly-but-surely make Google Glass more widely available. Now, anyone willing to put down $1,500 can head to the Google Play store and grab the Google Glass “Explorer Edition,” previously only available to those who'd scored an exclusive invitation. Yep, here at the end of 2014 Google still hasn't been able to get a mass consumer version of Glass out the door, so the expensive beta developer product is all you can get for now. Alongside Glass, buyers can also pick up accessories like frames, a custom earpiece, and shades.
The Glass Explorer Edition was originally announced in February 2013, with many predicting that a cheaper consumer version would follow in late 2013 or early 2014. Over a year-and-a-half later there still seems to be no sign of it on the horizon. At Google I/O 2014, Google's biggest event of the year, Glass didn't get a mention at all.
Read More | Google Glass
One of the big questions about Apple’s upcoming Wish We Could Say More event, taking place next week (which you can watch live,) is whether the company will finally reveal the iWatch, and if it does, what will it do? Today, the Wall Street Journal released a report that Apple will indeed announce the iWatch on Tuesday, and gave details on what we can expect from the mystical wearable.
Read More | The Wall Street Journal
Apple has said that it plans to make 2014 a banner year for the company, offering its most impressive product line-up in company history. Well, the year's been relatively quiet, but that's about to change. The company has just sent out invitations for an Apple Event, set to take place on September 9, 2014. We've been pointing to this date for a few months as the day when the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6L will be announced, and it looks like that's exactly what's gonna go down.
Additionally, it's been reported that Apple will also announce the long-awaited iWatch, a wearable device that will sync up with the iPhone and provide both health tracking and home automation features.
We'll be bringing you the news live as it happens on September 9, so you know where to be for all the action! Be sure to check out our video previews of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and 5.5-inch iPhone 6L smartphones.
I made another appearance on this weeks episode of GeekWire Radio here in Seattle, Washington, keeping my streak alive as the person with the most guest appearances in GeekWire Radio history! In this episode, which also features Eyewitness News reporter Essex Porter (pictured with me above, and a huge Windows Phone advocate), we talk about a couple of recent Gear Live stories, including:
- iPhone 6 4.7-inch design preview
- iPhone 6 5.5-inch design preview
- Exclusive: I used the Microsoft Surface watch
I brought in the two iPhone 6 mockups in both 4.7- and 5.5-inch varieties, which made for some good conversation. We also chat about the news of the week, which included the release of the Amazon Fire Phone, and we also had a discussion about what Microsoft needs to do to make Windows Phone more accepted by the general consumer. You can listen to the show now by grabbing the MP3 below, or hitting play in the widget.
Read More | GeekWire Radio (MP3)
Yes, it’s true—Microsoft is about to get into the smartwatch game, and I got the opportunity to play with it. As we'd previously reported, Microsoft has filed a patent that details a smartwatch. However, often these patent filings aren’t exactly what we see companies end up releasing. So, let’s separate the cruft and get to the meat of the matter. A number of months ago I took a trip to New York where I came across someone who was testing the upcoming Microsoft wearable device. I saw it on their wrist and asked about it. They tried to explain that it was a random fitness wristband ordered from China at first, but eventually (with some prodding) gave me the scoop. Here is your exclusive first look at what Microsoft is planning for its first wearable smart device, what we are referring to as the Surface Watch:
- As far as looks, the image above is a parody, but not far off. It has an elongated form factor, but isn't as comically large as what's in the image. It is much more akin to something like the Fitbit One or Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit in shape rather than taking on the shape of a traditional watch, like Pebble did, or like what Google showed off with Android Wear. What we saw had a flat display, while the inner portion that would rest against your skin was curved.
- The icons are the flat style that Microsoft has been using on its other devices like Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox One. That's what tipped me off in the first place.
- Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy is how it interacts with the rest of the world
- The flat glass display, and was definitely not high resolution. We hope that both of these change in the final product--a high-resolution curved display already exists on the Samsung Gear Fit, and the Microsoft device just didn't look as good.
- The watch is packed with sensors. It has a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, and most interestingly, a galvanic skin response sensor all built-in. The galvanic skin response sensor is built into the watch band, while everything else is built into the unit itself.
Industry sources are aligning, and it appears that Apple is prepping to release its first wearable watch (which many are referring to as the iWatch) this October. According to Re/code and Nikkei, Apple is planning a special event to debut and show off all the features of the new device in October--by our own estimation, this would be a month after the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 launch, and could be within the same timeframe that Apple launches the new Touch ID-enabled iPads.
People familiar with Apple's plans tell Re/Code the company hopes to schedule a special event that month to show off the device, which is designed to make good use of the HealthKit health and fitness information-gathering app it recently showed off at WWDC. Could things change between now and fall? That's certainly possible. But right now October is the target date.
We've been hearing about the rumored fall release of the iWatch for months, while simultaneously also hearing that it might be pushed back to 2015. Now that more reliable sources are in on the reports, it looks like things are coming together. Nikkei is also reporting that the device will sport a curved OLED touchscreen display, and will heavily focused on integrating with the new Health app in iOS 8, tracking things like calories burned, sleep activity, blood oxygen levels, and other fitness-related data.
As rumored, Apple has announced its iOS 8 health initiative during the WWDC 2014 keynote. The new Health app will work with a developer API bundle called HealthKit. In iOS 8, apps will be able to report your health data to a centralized location, allowing you to see all the information and stats from different apps all in the same area. Further, you'll be able to choose if you'd like to share health data from one app to another.
Apple announced that Nike and the Mayo Clinic are two of the first to be working on HealthKit integration, while also picturing a Withings blood pressure monitor. Not much more has been announced about the new Health app for iOS 8 yet, but we're sure we will hear more about it closer to the release of iOS 8 release.
Hot on the heels of the announcement that Apple is buying Beats, the company has announced the brand new Beats Solo2 on-ear headphones, the latest in the Beats by Dr. Dre line. Touting a newly-refreshed physical design alongside improved sound quality, Beats Electronics says that the new Solo2 model will offer “a wider range of sound and enhanced clarity.” It's a good thing, too, as many have complained about the Beats by Dr. Dre line having bass-heavy sound that loses the highs and mids.
If wearing previous models of Beats headphones was something you found to be a chore, you should know that the Beats Solo2 has also been redesigned with a new look that's said to also be more comfortable thanks to better weight distribution and a memory foam-like material in the larger ear cups that should make them feel cooler and put less of a hard squeeze on your ear lobes.
You can pick up the new Beats Solo2 now. They're available in pink, grey, white, blue, and red for $199.
Read More | Beats Solo2 Heaadphones
Google wants you to get them while they are hot. Google Glass has made its public premiere, but the company warns that its inventory is limited. When it opened a preliminary sale last month Google burned through the overwhelming majority of its Glass inventory in a single day and were forced to close up shop.
Since then Google has been building up its supply of the long-anticipated gadget. And as of Wednesday morning, they have announced open season on the Google Glass Explorer edition. It's still in the beta, but Google wants this to be its open test, as they announced via company blog this morning.
The Explorer carries a pretty heavy price tag: $1,500 in its current form. It's certainly outside of my range, so it looks like I won't be getting one just yet. Google says it plans a more widespread release of the Glass later this year. If that's the case, we're curious if the price will stay the same, and if not, how the company will handle the unhappiness of those who may have paid much more.
Want your own pair right now? Hit the link below!
Read More | Google Glass