The first deliveries of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new smartwatch, the Apple Watch, are arriving at customers' homes this weekend. After quickly selling out when pre-orders began on April 10 and with ship dates slipping all the way to June, this device has certainly captured the attention of tech enthusiasts and investors, who are eager to review it's performance.
As the device rolls out and consumers gauge the Apple Watch's purpose and whether it's worth buying, here are three surprising specs that might blow everyone away.
The digital crown
Undoubtedly, the most surprising feature Apple debuted on the Apple Watch was the digital crown -- a unique input device made to enhance the smartwatch experience.
The digital crown builds on the traditional crown concept used to set times and dates on mechanical watches. But with the help of software, the digital crown's usefulness goes much further, enabling zooming, scrolling, and fine adjustments when it is rotated, while also serving as a home button when pressed and access to Siri when held down. Most importantly, however, the digital crown enables users to interact with the Apple Watch without obstructing the view of the small display.
"We reimagined it as a versatile tool that answers the fundamental challenge of how to magnify content on a small display," reads Apple's website.
While users will be able to interact with the device by touching the display in the same way they would touch a smartphone, Apple Watch brings greater sensitivity to how the device senses touch. Using tiny electrodes around a flexible retina display, the screen senses the amount of pressure applied. Apple calls this tech feature force touch.
Similar to the difference between a right and left click on a PC, a deep press will trigger different prompts than a light tap triggers. Given the small size of the display, the additional way to recognize touch is important in minimizing effort and time required to accomplish tasks on the device.
New ways to connect
With the Apple Watch, Apple introduced three new ways to connect. Users can send sketches, taps, and heartbeats to other Apple Watch users. Apple refers to these forms of communication as digital touch.
While not a groundbreaking technology, these unique ways to communicate highlight the intimate nature of Apple's latest product. As a device that users wear throughout the day, subtle forms of communication that didn't make sense on a smartphone are now possible.
The jury is still out
With time, will these features help the Apple Watch stand out as a must-have for many iPhone users? While it will likely take a few quarters to clearly say how well Apple Watch is performing in the market, Apple may provide its first update on smartwatch sales on Monday when the company reports earnings.
What do you think about these Apple Watch features? And what do you think about the device's potential in the market? Is the Apple watch destined to be a niche product? Or will it help reinforce the Apple ecosystem that keeps customers coming back for more?