The much-anticipated iWatch, officially titled the Apple Watch, is finally here. It’s packed with features, but which are worth the purchase and which are just promotional gimmicks? Find out with this helpful guide offering important iWatch information.
1. iPhone Connection
Connecting your Apple Watch to your iPhone isn’t just a useful feature. It’s a must. This means that your watch needs the connection to enable most of its functionality. As well as getting Internet data, this connection lets your watch display notifications from your phone such as new e-mails, text messages, or app alerts. You can even carry out actions with your Apple Watch, like filing a message or marking a text as read. You can also tap any message on the watch to immediately open it on your iPhone.
2. Taptic Engine
This is a play on “haptic” technology, meaning touch-based feedback. It allows your watch to literally tap you on the wrist while delivering a notification. This can be used to differentiate between types of notifications or for novelty features, such as transmitting your heartbeat to a friend.
3. Digital Crown
The digital crown is simply Apple-speak for the dial on the side of an Apple Watch. While there’s no need to wind the device, the company has included the familiar dial and configured it as a way to zoom and scroll. It also acts as a push-button for returning to its main menu screen.
With such a small screen, there isn’t room for the usual touch, pinch and zoom gestures Apple uses on the iPhone and iPad. Instead, the Watch is set up to tell the difference between tap pressure, different levels which have separate functions depending on the context.
The voice control from the iPhone is even more useful on such a small device. Here it’s initiated either by saying, “Hey, Siri,” with the microphone near your mouth, or simply by pressing and holding the digital crown.
6. Fitness Apps
The Apple Watch features several fitness-related measurement tools, including an accelerometer and GPS to track your movements. The back of the Watch has a special sensor that uses light to track your heart rate. The included fitness tools that can measure your activity during the day, rather than just during designated exercise periods. The data is available to third-party apps as well, so developers may come up with even more creative ways to track your health and fitness.
7. Magnetic Charging
Early reviews suggest that most users will need to charge the Apple Watch every day. No worries. There’s no need to scramble around trying to find a charger plug port. In fact, there’s no socket on the phone. The charger is magnetic, so all you need to do is hold it close enough to the back of the Watch for it to automatically click into place and start charging.
8. Design Features
The Apple Watch comes with a range of faces, including analogue, digital and a combination of the two. You can change faces at any time, along with customising colours and other design elements.
The physical design itself is a mixed bag. There are some handy options such as getting the main watch unit in two different sizes for a better fit, being able to use the watch on either wrist, and being able to choose from a range of wrist straps. However, Apple has cheekily used a proprietary clip system meaning you can’t use straps made by other manufacturers.
There are three distinct models of the Apple Watch, each with a specific price. The basic Apple Watch is made from stainless steel with familiar watch strap styles. The Watch Sport model is in lighter aluminium with stronger glass to protect against falls, plus a synthetic rubber strap to cope better with perspiration. The Watch Edition model is for luxury lovers, and the cases are made from specially-hardened 18-karat gold.
The Apple Watch and other Apple products and accessories can be found in stores and online through retailers like eBay.