After months of waiting, Apple launched its new smart watch in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Thursday, October 22.
The Apple Watch, unveiled earlier this year by the company, is available across a range of design options with prices beginning at Dhs 1,399 (for the 38mm Sport model) and reaching up to Dhs 64,000 (for the 38mm 18k gold case Edition model).
Apple is specifically confident about its high-end Edition watches doing well in the local market. “We expect them to sell especially well in that part of the world where wealth and the demand for luxury items is higher than most places,” its statement said.
Flicking on at the turn of your wrist, the watch is an extension of the Apple ecosystem.
In terms of features, the watch apes the iPhone in many respects – it offers you instant notifications and allows you to take calls, respond to messages, listen to music and browse photos. Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, also follows you to the watch and responds to your requests.
While the app offering is still limited (for instance you receive notifications from WhatsApp but you can’t view or respond to messages) Apple says they are building up the database.
One of the main focus areas for the watch is health and fitness – so apart from just tracking your movements and counting your steps, you can set daily calories, exercise and movement targets and constantly track them. The watch even gives you a gentle nudge before the end of every hour incase you haven’t stood or walked during the last 50 minutes.
Another helpful feature is that the watch will buzz your iPhone if you have misplaced it – even if it is on silent mode.
A fun feature is the display of the watch, which is wholly customisable. You can opt for a Chronograph view, a solar view (which tracks the sun’s movements), a motion view (with a moving screen-saver) or you can have Mickey Mouse tapping his toes while giving you the time (admittedly not one for the office). The straps for the Sport models also come in several colours, so you can tailor the look to suit your need.
The main problem with the watch is its limited battery life – running for up to 18 hours, the watch requires to be charged everyday. Although it charges up to 80 per cent in one and a half hours and reaches full charge in two hours.
While the wearables market has only been slowly picking up in the UAE, the Apple Watch could be one of the most sought-after smart devices in the country, a recent survey found.
The poll by electronics retailer PLUG INS, in which 2,450 consumers in the country were surveyed, discovered that only 16 per cent of the residents currently own a wearable device.
However, a further 52 per cent of the respondents are looking to buy one this year. Of those looking to buy, more than 70 per cent said they would by an Apple Watch with more than half saying they would mostly use it for fitness activities.
So should you buy? The watch comes with several interesting and fun features, looks and feels good, and will certainly prove useful for iPhone users. But with a hefty price tag and a short battery life, it still seems like an early adopter device.