Apple Watch can do a lot of things.
It can tell time. It can pass data to and from your iPhone. It can track your health. It can pay for stuff. It can also act as a remote control.
That last one might surprise you, as it is a feature that hasn't received a lot of attention, which is surprising, because we think it is actually one of the more useful aspects about Apple's upcoming, health-focused wearable. You can not only control some Apple-branded devices and services, but also stuff from third-party developers and manufacturers. Seriously.
You can, for instance, open and close your garage doors, manage connected devices via Siri, queue music from iTunes on your computer, turn on Apple TV, adjus the climate in your BMW, and so much more.
In fact, here's all the remote-type stuff Apple Watch can do at launch...
How is Apple Watch like a remote control?
Apple Watch has a Remote app, and it's a lot like the Remote for iOS app. You can use it to connect to any Apple TV. So, if you're at home and hankering to watch some Netflix, you can use your Apple Watch to kick on Apple TV, open Netflix, and find a film to watch. The wearable will even let you pause and resume at any time. Just consider it a virtual version of the actual Apple TV remote.
Just like you can control Apple TV with just tap on our wrist wearable, you can also control your iTunes library on your Mac or Windows PC. Gone are the days when you reach for Apple's hardware remote and or for your iPhone or iPad.
Apple Watch can remotely access the viewfinder on your iPhone's iSight camera, meaning you'll be able to prop up your iPhone somewhere (like on a rock or desk nearby), then you can use Apple Watch to not only see through the iPhone lens, but ultimately, take a picture.
We can see this type of functionality revolutionising the type of selfies you're used to seeing on Instagram. Kim Kardashian West, for instance, won't have to continue blocking half of her face with an iPhone in selfies, because now she'll be able to put it down and snap from her wrist.
Most people know that Apple Watch can locally store up to 2GB worth of music files and audio, but many people don't know that Apple Watch can also control the music locally stored on their iPhone. But that's not all: Apple Watch can playback from iTunes Match, and if your iPhone is streaming to AirPlay-enabled speakers, it can control audio playing from them too.
Apple developed the HomeKit framework so it could simplify the current state of home automation. It essentially created a common language that connected devices from any manufacturer can recognise and support, thus allowing them to work together and communicate via a single platform. HomeKit also leverages Siri, Apple's intelligent voice assistance, letting you control these connected devices with just your voice.
Imagine having a house chock-full of connected devices (like a light bulb or smoke alarm) from multiple manufacturers (like Honeywell or Philips), but they can sync and understand each other. What's more, you can tell these devices what to do through Siri. That's HomeKit automation. But what's even cooler: you don't need an iOS device to issue voice commands through Siri, you can just use your linked Apple Watch.
These last bits aren't exactly remote control-type features, but they do involve remote capabilities. (See what we did there?)
Thanks to third party apps, such as Alarm.com, you'll get to control many things remotely. During a demo at Apple's Spring Forward event, Apple executive Kevin Lynch showed how he uses the new Alarm.com app extension to remotely open and see his garage door in real time.
Another app, like the BMW i Remote App, which is tied to the i3 electric vehicle and i8 hybrid, doesn’t allow you to wirelessly control the car, but it does allow you to operate the car’s climate control system, as well as monitor vehicle range, battery level, and estimated charge time remaining, while locating nearby charging stations if needed. You can also check vehicle status' (such as whether the door, window, or trunk is locked).
And finally, Starwood Hotels - the hotel group that owns Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin and several others - has developed an app for the Apple Watch that will allow hotel guests to use to unlock their rooms with Apple Watch. Just wave it in front of the door, and that's it.
When will Apple Watch be available and for how much?
Apple's upcoming, first entry into the wearable biz will be available in multiple territories, including the UK and US, from 24 April. Apple will also offer the opportunity to pre-order Apple Watch from 10 April on Apple.com.
You can get Apple Watch in many different models, sizes, and materials. The models are called Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition, and each one comes in two different case sizes: 38mm and 42mm in height, both of which can be set up to work on your left or right wrist. You must first decide which model you want, then choose your case size and material, and once that's done, you can select from a wide variety of straps.
The cost of Apple Watch varies dramatically, depending on the model and strap you selected. Pricing starts at £299 for the 38mm Apple Watch Sport, for instance, and extends to £13,500 for the 38mm Apple Watch Edition in 18ct gold. You can learn more about pricing here.
Want to know more?
Check out our latest hands-on with Apple Watch to see what else it can do.