NEW YORK – Apple Inc’s smartwatch is a “beautiful”, “stylish” and “elegantly made” piece of technology that could make life easier for people on the move, reviewers said, but it also has shortcomings and a price that could limit its appeal.
The watch, the first new product to be launched by Apple under Chief Executive Tim Cook, will hit stores on 24 April.
“For now, the Apple Watch is for pioneers,” the Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler wrote. “I won’t pay the $1 000 it would cost for the model I tested, only to see a significant improvement roll in before too long.”
Most reviews, while praising the watch’s sleek design, highlighted its relatively short battery life – up to 18 hours, according to Apple.
The fact that it relies on an iPhone being in the close proximity for most of its functions to work was also seen by some reviewers as a drawback.
Paired with an iPhone, the watch allows users to check email, listen to music and make phone calls. Apps will also allow users to track their health – for instance by tracking heartbeats and the number of steps a person takes.
Fowler said the battery was often nearly drained by the end of the day, especially if used during exercise, while CNET’s Scott Stein said recharge time was slow.
Re/Code’s Lauren Goode said that while the watch’s battery life was not nearly as long-lasting as some other wearable devices, it was better than she had expected.
Apple is among several large tech companies hoping to jumpstart a new market for wearable electronic devices.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Sony Corp and LG Electronics Inc have all released smartwatches, many of them powered by software developed by Google Inc.
The Apple Watch Sport will start at $349 (M3 795) for the smaller, 38-mm model. The standard version will start at $549 and the high-end “Edition” watch will be priced from $10,000.
“…If you can tolerate single-day battery life, half-baked apps and inevitable obsolescence, you can now wear the future on your wrist,” Fowler said.
CNET’s Stein said Apple wants people to see the Apple Watch as “fine jewelry”.
“Maybe that’s a stretch, but in terms of craftsmanship, there isn’t a more elegantly made piece of wearable tech.” – Reuters.