Apple took its sweet time releasing its own smartwatch. Now that the Apple Watch is here, it's clear that the iPhone maker has observed other smartwatch makers and learned from their mistakes, which inevitably come with launching a new product category.
The Apple Watch and its Android Wear competitors, such as the LG G Watch R and the Moto 360, share plenty of features. All three smartwatches allow their users to send messages, receive notifications from their phones and track the user's fitness and health. However, the Apple Watch has several other features that differentiate it from Android Wear. Of course, Android Wear does have unique, remarkable features of its own, but we're focusing on the Apple Watch this time.
If you're leaning toward the Apple Watch, here are 10 features that might solidify your decision. If you're more of an Android Wear fan, a look at some of these features might change your mind.
1. Interact with the interface using Force Touch.
Force Touch gives users a whole new way to interact with their device. While other smartwatches use tap, swipe and, with the latest Android Wear update, no-hands gestures, the Apple Watch can distinguish between different kinds of forces, such as a light touch and a firm press.
2. Make and receive calls directly.
Users will still need to connect their Apple Watch to an iPhone to enable this feature. However, once connected, they can easily make and receive calls straight from the Apple Watch James Bond-style thanks to a built-in mic and speaker.
While users aren't able to do this on Android Wear, Samsung's Gear S running on its homegrown Tizen platform and the all-new LG G Watch Urbane LTE running on the LG Wearable Platform, can actually do the same thing. Also, there's an Android Wear app called Wear Speaker that lets users turn on their Android phones' speakers to answer a call, though it's not exactly taking a call straight from your wrist.
3. Navigate with the Digital Crown.
Swiping to scroll and pinching to zoom in and out aren't very convenient for a device with such a small screen. The Digital Crown makes both actions easier by allowing users to scroll through the Apple Watch and zoom in and out by turning the Digital Crown. Pressing the Digital Crown is like pressing a home button; it takes users back to the home screen, where all the apps are laid out.
4. Make NFC-based payments.
The Apple Watch lets users pay for physical purchases at NFC-enabled terminals using Apple Pay. Users can simply double-click the button on the side of the watch and swipe the watch in front of the terminal. No Android Wear device can yet do this, but the G Watch Urbane is also equipped with NFC payment technology to do the same.
5. Unlock hotel doors.
Using the same NFC technology it uses for Apple Pay, the Apple Watch can serve as your hotel room key at select hotels, specifically Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin and other hotels owned by Starwood Hotels.
6. Add Complications to the watch face.
Android Wear offers plenty of third-party watch faces to choose from, and users can easily customize and animate many of those watch faces. However, the Apple Watch allows for native customization of its watch faces by letting users add Complications — small, customizable icons that can be placed on the edges of the watch faces to tell users things such as weather, date or sunrise and sunset times.
7. Reply with audio messages.
The Apple Watch lets users reply to messages via text or via audio, which can be useful in work-related situations or when sending idle banter to friends.
8. Send your heartbeat.
This is one of the more gimmicky features of the Apple Watch, and you'll find that there are a number of those on the device. Still, this feature can be useful and gain traction in the health industry, where patients can immediately send their heartbeat to their doctors if they need to.
9. Send animated emojis.
Again, this isn't one of the game-changers, but emojis have become a big part of our online communications. Users can send emojis on Android Wear in reply to messages, and they can also draw emojis and have Android Wear figure out which emoji matches the drawing. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, can send animated emojis.
10. Send doodles.
Bored at work? Don't want to send text messages? You can doodle your messages instead and send them to your loved ones and friends. It's one of the "cutesy" features of the Apple Watch that many won't find very useful but still fun to have around.