How can I buy an Apple Watch, and how long will it take for the Apple Watch to arrive? What are the shipping times for Apple Watch? Also: which Apple Watch model should I buy, and what are the UK prices of and differences between the various models of Apple Watch? Plus, what's new in WatchOS 2? What new Apple Watch models and straps have Apple released?
The Apple Watch was a long time coming. We first saw Apple's foray into wearable technology at Apple's September iPhone 6 event, and heard some more details at the Spring Forward event on 9 March ahead of the start of pre-orders on 10 April and, finally, the Apple Watch 'release' on 24 April. Now that September has arrived, Apple has introduced two new models, lots of new straps and a major update called WatchOS 2. Read on to find out more.
Update on 9 September 2015:
Apple kicked off its very busy event on 9 September with announcements about new Apple Watch models and gorgeous new Apple Watch straps.
We had expected some new Apple Watch straps, but the two new Apple Watch models were somewhat unexpected but certainly welcome. They're both made with aluminium – one gold and the other rose gold, and they'll be priced starting at the same £299 as the Apple Watch Sport, so we expect they'll sell very, very well. They're shipping from today, ahead of WatchOS 2's release on 16 September.
Apple has partnered with Hermes to produce three new, hand-stitched leather bands, one of which adopts the fashionable double wraparound design. They'll be available in stores from October, and if you buy one you'll also get a special Hermes watch face.
Apple has also created some of its own new Apple Watch straps with new colours, and it seems like Apple has been listening to its customers.
Read on to find out more about the Apple Watch and all of its features prior to the 9 September event. We'll be updating this guide soon to bring you more detail on all of the new updates, straps and models.
We've put together this complete guide in the hopes of answering as many of your Apple Watch questions as we can - from the specs of the Apple Watch to the apps available for it; the sizes and design differences between the various models; and buying advice to help you decide which Apple Watch (and strap) will suit you best. If you'd like to take a closer look at the Apple Watch and its features and design choices, be sure to check out our full review of the Apple Watch.
In this guide to the Apple Watch we will answer questions about the following (click the links to skip straight to that section of the article):
WatchOS 2 release date: When is WatchOS 2 coming out?
Apple is already making lots of improvements to the Apple Watch through a software update called Watch OS 2. Apple used WWDC 2015 to announce the update, which includes a number of tweaks and changes that should please Apple Watch users, and is set to roll out on 16 September.
"We're thrilled with the feedback we're getting from Apple Watch customers, and after just a few weeks of availability we're excited for developers to start building native apps for watchOS 2," said Kevin Lynch, Apple's head of technology in a press release following the WWDC keynote. "We think Apple Watch users will love being able to see information from their favourite apps right on the watch face, and enjoy the many new experiences developers will dream up now that they have access to even more innovative features of Apple Watch."
Read next: Update guide: How to get watchOS 2 on your Apple Watch. Or watch the following video, in which we walk through the (mostly straightforward) update process.
New features coming to Apple Watch with WatchOS 2
WatchOS 2 will bring lots of changes to the Apple Watch, and will also open up the opportunities for thousands of new and exciting apps to be made. Here, we've listed the new features that have been announced so far for WatchOS 2, which is in beta until its release later this year so could change even further.
Developers will now have the ability to create native apps for Apple Watch which will mean huge stability improvements for third-party apps, which is one of the biggest complaints about the Apple Watch right now. Developers will also have access to the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, accelerometer, microphone and heart rate sensor as well as software APIs that will enable audio and video playback and animations. This means lots of new and exciting apps will be coming to Apple Watch soon.
Apple's own examples include fitness apps, which will more accurately track your heart rate using the heart rate sensor and accelerometer, smart home apps that let you use the Digital Crown to dim the lights or change the temperature, car-related apps that give you haptic feedback when you've locked your car and the ability to leave audio messages in third-party messaging apps. Plus, some apps will be able to host and play video right on your Apple Watch display.
New watch faces are coming with Watch OS2, including the Photo and Photo album faces that show you a photo or multiple photos. There's also a Time-Lapse face that uses a 24-hour shoot of various locations in cities including London, New York and Shanghai.
The new Time Travel feature will allow users to scroll with the Digital Crown to see events that are happening in the future or have already happened. This can include upcoming meetings or activities, the weather forecast for the week and other information that's pulled in from third party apps such as flight information for an upcoming journey.
App developers will be able to make their own complications in watchOS 2, which means the customisable parts of the watch face itself. This can include flight times, the state of a home control system, electric car charge level and more. It's all made possible with the ClockKit framework.
There's also a new Nightstand mode that shows you the time and your alarm, and enables the buttons and Digital Crown to be used as a snooze button if you use the Apple Watch as an alarm clock.
New communication features include the ability to swipe between more sets of friends, rather than being restricted to 12 favourites.
You'll now be able to reply to emails on the Apple Watch thanks to an update to Mail, using dictation, Smart Replies or emoji in the same way replying to messages works.
There's also the ability to use multiple colours on one canvas in the Digital Touch feature for better sketches, too.
As part of iOS 9, other new features for WatchOS include Transit directions in Maps, the ability to use Apple Pay with merchant reward cards and store-issued credit and debit cards (and by the way, Apple Pay is coming to the UK soon!), workouts from third-party apps can contribute to your Move and Exercise goals, Siri improvements including the ability to use Siri to start workouts, launch glances and reply to email, and Activation Lock to improve security.
Apple Watch availability
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has announced that the Apple Watch will be available in store in June. Cook revealed this when speaking to employees in China, according to a 9to5Mac report.
When the Apple Watch launched customers could only order it online, and waiting times were long with few taking receipt of the Watch on the official launch date of 24 April. The fact that the Watch wasn’t available in store served only to confuse customers. Only prototype Watches were available to try on in store, with staff pointing customers to the Apple Website to order online for delivery to their home.
Now a video has appeared in which Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts tells Apple retail employees that they need to get ready to sell the Watch in store soon. According to the video message, training materials will soon be arriving with the store staff.
Ahrendts is joined in the video by Vice President of Retail Operations Jim Bean who confirms that there will be a “reserve and pickup” option when customers are ordering online. This is the best way to guarantee that the customer can get the watch they want. Customers can also queue up at a store at 8am each day to see if the Store has the Watch they want in stock.
Customers will be able to play with fully working models in store, rather than the prototype units that have been available until now.
Why is Apple Watch out of stock?
It emerged after launch that the reason why there was limited availability of the Apple Watch at launch was a technical fault with the Taptic Engine that Apple had been planning to use. According to The Wall Street Journal, a batch of taptic engines were found to be defective, forcing Apple to scrap some completed watches. The newspaper's source said that reliability testing on taptic engines supplied by China's AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. found that the components started to break down over time. The taptic engines produced by Japanese supplier Nidec didn't suffer from the same fate, thankfully. However, the new supplier couldn’t ramp up production quickly enough.
This is why Apple had to hold back from having Watches available to buy in store and the reason why the Watch is in such short supply.
The Taptic Engine is used to relay notifications and to enhance audio alerts. There are various ways that the Taptic Engine can be used to communicate with other Watch owners.
The problem has meant that supply has been restrained and Apple has been forced to roll out the Apple Watch slowly in order to catch up with demand.
On 27 April, just one weekend after the Apple Watch began shipping, research firm Slice Intelligence suggested that only 22% of all Apple Watch pre-orders made in the US had shipped.
Reports also suggest that the AMOLED displays used in the Apple Watch may be seeing some constraints due to the display’s color quality.
Apple is ramping up production now though, according to a 9to5Mac report, when Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China in May he told staff: “The Watch could not be going better, we’re working really hard on making more.”
How many Apple Watches has Apple sold?
Within minutes of the Apple Watch going on sale at 8.01am on 10 April it had sold out. Initially Watches had an estimated shipping date of 24 April to 8 May, but that quickly slipped to four to six weeks, suggesting a June delivery date.
We expect Apple to reveal the figures for how many Watches have been sold at its WWDC keynote on 8 June, but there are a number of estimates floating around the internet at the moment.
For example, according to a Business Insider report it's been estimated that more Apple Watches were sold in one day than a whole year’s worth of Google Android Wear sales.
According to e-retail research firm Slice Intelligence, 957,000 people in the US bought an Apple Watch on 10 April, and many of those people bought two. If Slice's data is accurate (it's all estimates that come from email receipts of 2 million online shoppers), pre-orders could top 2 million worldwide, analysts told Fortune.
KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes there were 2.3 million Apple Watch pre-orders. He estimates that the company can produce another 2.5 million units in June.
According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster certain versions of the Apple Watch sold out in less than ten minutes. He considers that the quick sell out was due to "solid demand paired with very limited supply, with supply being the most significant limiting factor.
There is conflicting research regarding the demand for the Apple Watch. A Morgan Stanley report suggests that a growing number of iPhone owners want to purchase an Apple Watch, while a conflicting report from KGI suggests that interest is waning.
Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty has high hopes for the Watch (and for that matter the iPhone). She states that Apple Watch demand is on the rise.
KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo, on the other hand, has suggested that demand is falling.
Huberty’s claim is based on Morgan Stanley’s latest AlphaWise survey that suggests 17.3 percent of iPhone owners would definitely buy an Apple Watch, while 7 percent probably would.
Huberty thinks that if Apple can meet demand it could sell 50 million Apple Watches in one 12 months, her prediction is that Apple will sell 36 million Watches in the first 12 months, though.
Kuo expects Apple to sell 15 million Watches in fiscal 2015, ending in September.
Which is the most popular Apple Watch?
The most popular Watch was the Space Gray Apple Watch Sport with the Black Band, but apparently Apple didn’t have enough available on launch day. This claim is based on estimates from Slice Intelligence, which suggest 64 percent of Watch Sport purchases were for the Space Gray model with black band, 22 percent for the white band, 6 percent for blue, four percent for green and four percent for pink. Given that we were trying to purchase the black Watch, and ended up having to pick the blue version because it was the only one that said it would arrive on the original launch date, it seems likely that a lot of those sales of the alternative colours would have been second choices.
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's estimation, sales of the Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, and Apple Watch Edition were split 85 percent, 15 percent, and less than 1 percent respectively.
According to reports, buyers weren't just snagging Apple Watches for themselves: On average, people bought 1.3 Watches to the tune of about $503.83 per Watch, which means a lot of people were buying a couple (as gifts or to sell on eBay, perhaps).
The Apple Watch Sport, being the cheapest of the three options, was the most popular Watch model, with 62 percent of buyers reportedly picking that option. But even a third of people who bought the more expensive stainless steel Apple Watch added a black or white Sport band to their order.
The Milanese Loop strap option is said to be among the most-loved accessories, and is apparently the strap of choice for most Apple employees.
Apple Watch Updates: How to download the Apple Watch Update
On 20 May Apple released the first Software Update for the Apple Watch. The update brings the Watch software to version 1.0.1.
The update offers bug fixes and performance improvements, according to the release notes. There are fixes for Siri, tweaks to the way the Watch measures stand activity, and changes to the way it measures calories for indoor cycling and rowing, along with outdoor walking and running pace. Users will also find support for the new emojis from iOS 8.3. There’s also language support for Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, and Turkish, as well as Brazilian Portuguese and Thai.
Users need to download the updated Apple Watch software via the Apple Watch app on the iPhone. Open the app then go to General > Software Update. In order to install the update the Watch needs to be charging and close to the iPhone.
Following the update to the Apple Watch software some users complained that the Watch no longer records heart rate every 10 minutes if they are moving their arm at the time. Apple apparently made the tweak to the Watch to make the device more reliable. Accuracy of the readings had been questioned, and measurements were considered less reliable if a person’s arm was moving at the time they were taken. The concern here is that if a person is jogging and moving their arms, the Watch would not be measuring their heart rate, and presumably this has an affect on the accuracy of the measurement of calories burned.
Interestingly, a report appeared earlier in May claiming that the heart rate monitor in the Apple Watch was actually very accurate. Apparently, Software engineer and SonoPlot founder Brad Larson extracted the raw data from his Apple Watch and compared it to data generated by a dedicated heart-rate monitor. He found that the Apple Watch was as good as the dedicated heart-rate monitor, reports iClarified. "Aside from the Apple Watch capturing heartrate once per 5 s, and the Mio Alpha every 3 s, the readings are nearly identical. Impressed," Larson said.
Apple Watch Battery life issues
Some Apple Watch owners are complaining that the battery drains far quicker than Apple claimed when using the Workout app.
Apple indicates that the Watch should give users 6.5 hours of battery life when the Workout app is running.
Reports suggest that outdoor activities such as cycling can be a particular drain. According to AppleInsider, one reader was only able to get two hours of use when cycling. It may be that outside activities are a bigger drain because the Watch is paired to the iPhone and using the phone’s GPS to calculate distance.
The heart rate sensor is another big drain on the battery during a workout, because it is constantly measuring blood flow. Apple actually suggests that users switch to a Power Saving Mode to stop this intensive tracking and extend the battery life.
When the Watch first launched users complained that the Apple Watch was draining the battery on their iPhone. Apple told users to restore their iPhone or to do a hard-restart of the Apple Watch (hold down the Digital Crown and the side button and wait for the Watch to reboot). After re-pairing the devices the battery issue should be fixed.
Apple Watch security, Apple Watch theft
If your Apple Watch is stolen the thief will be able to reset the device, bypassing the passcode, and pair it with a new iPhone. This is because the Apple Watch lacks the Activation Lock that the iPhone has offered since iOS 7.
Read next: How easy is it to steal an Apple Watch?
Does the Apple Watch work with tattoos?
If you've got tattooed wrists, we've got some bad news for you: several features of the Apple Watch might not work properly while you're using it.
Shortly after the launch of the Apple Watch, reports emerged suggesting that those with tattoos on their wrists were experiencing problems with the Apple Watch, and on 29 April Apple updated its support pages to confirm this.
"Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings," the company says.
YouTube user Michael Lovell shared a video showing the kinds of issues those with tattoos might experience.
Apple suggests that, if you're not able to get a consistent reading because of these factors, you should connect your Apple Watch wirelessly to external heart rate monitors such as Bluetooth chest straps.
Read on for the rest of our complete guide to Apple Watch.
APPLE WATCH BUYING ADVICE
Why wasn't Apple Watch available in the Apple Store?
When the Watch launched there were no queues and no in-store pickups. Ordering was online and delivery to the customers address.
A leaked memo from retail head Angela Ahrendts instructed Apple Store managers to encourage online purchases in preference to joining store queues:
"The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers. This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You'll make their day."
"It's important to remember that Apple Watch is not just a new product but an entirely new category for us," Ahrendts said. "There's never been anything quite like it. To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect – and that we expect from ourselves – we designed a completely new approach. That's why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping."
Ahrendts said feedback from Apple Store try-on appointments has been overwhelmingly positive, which jibes with Macworld staffers' own experiences with Watch appointments.
Just because Apple wants to avoid long lines for Apple Watches doesn't mean the company will shift all future product releases online, too.
"Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No," Ahrendts told employees. "We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days – and there will be many more to come."
Apple said that it expected demand for Apple Watch to be high and supply to be limited, which is why the company is only selling the device online in its early days. In fact, they might not even be available to buy in-store until as late as June.
You can order the Apple Watch here, or you could open the Apple Store app on your iPhone and order from there. When we were ordering our Apple Watch at 8am on 10 April we found the Apple Store app was accessible much earlier than the website which was still showing the “We’ll be back” message after we had ordered our watch on our phone. Something to bear in mind next time.
How can I try on an Apple Watch?
Apple is allowing potential Apple Watch buyers to come into the store for a try-on appointment to find out what it's like to wear the device, although the Watch you'll try on will be a prototype that you can't interact with. It's the first time Apple has taken this approach for a new product launch – Apple products usually aren't available to see in stores until the day they're available to buy.
If you walk in or make an appointment to try on an Apple Watch in-store, Apple staffers will help you place an order online. When your Watch is delivered, you can bring it back into the store for assistance setting it up and pairing it with your iPhone.
In the meantime, read our review: Apple Watch first look review.
Or watch this video of our hands on time with the Apple Watch:
Whether you managed to pre order an Apple Watch or not, you can make an appointment at an Apple Store to try one on. You can book a time slot online, similar to making a Genius Bar appointment. During the sessions, you'll get a chance to try on different styles and fits of the Watch and see a demo of how it works.
If it’s the Apple Watch Edition that you are interested in trying out some Apple Stores have them for demos - although you’ll be ushered off to a special area with security guards if that’s the watch you wanted to try on.
It’s not only the Apple Store that has Apple Watches you can try on. You could also try your luck in Selfridges in the specially-built Apple Watch shop there.
You can book your appointment at the Apple Store here. Select the store nearest to you, View Available Times, and choose the appointment that suits you. They are at fifteen minute intervals.
After booking an appointment on the Apple website, we headed down to the Apple Store on Regent Street for a sneak peak at the Watch.
When we arrived it wasn’t immediately obvious where we were supposed to go. Eventually we were told to check in with the Apple Store employee on the left of the glass staircase. We told him which watch we were there to see, and showed the details of our appointment. We were then able to join the queue on the left (apparently there is a queue on the right for people who haven’t booked).
The queue moves pretty quickly and eventually you will meet the Apple Store employee doing your demo.
You will only be able to try on a prototype Apple Watch that will show a demo which you cannot control. This can be any of the Sport or steel Watch versions with various watch straps. If it's Edition you wish to try there is a separate area upstairs with security guards and you need to book separately. Note that not every Apple Store has the Edition models.
We tried on a selection of watches in different sizes. You can feel the taptic feedback as the demo runs on the watch but you can't use the controls at all.
There is however a fully working unit secured to the table on which you can run through the apps and 'interact' with friends using the drawing and messaging services. You can send you heart beat by pressing with two fingers so that your ‘friend’ will feel the haptic response on their watch. Or you can draw a squiggle and send that a friend. We ran through lots of the features. You can read about what we thought in our updated review.
You'll get 15 minutes to try on as many watches as you like - bear in mind that they are all prototypes though.
If you aren't sure you want to buy the Apple Watch but would like to try one out for longer than the 15 minutes or so that Apple is offering in the Apple Store, and are based in the US, there's another option. A gadget rental company called Lumoid says it will rent out the Watch Sport for $45 a week or the standard Watch for $55. You won't be able to rent the Edition though, according to Mashable.
How much does the Apple Watch cost?
We look at this in a more depth in our Apple Watch buying guide and price list article, but here's a summary of the key points.
The Apple Watch price starts at £299 in the UK (which is exactly what we estimated based on the previously announced $349 start price in the US).
Apple Watch is available in three collections at various prices:
- Apple Watch Sport is priced at £299 inc VAT and £339 inc VAT, depending on the face size. View on Apple Store
- Apple Watch is available from £479 inc VAT to £949 inc VAT. View on Apple Store
- Apple Watch Edition, in 18-karat gold alloys, starts at £8,000 inc VAT. View on Apple Store
In the US those prices are as follows:
- Apple Watch 38mm $549 to $1049, Apple Watch 42mm $599 to $1099
- Apple Watch Sport $349 to $399
- Apple Watch Edition will cost from $10,000
Pricing breaks down further, depending on the Apple Watch size, the materials it is made from, and the strap selected.
Note that the 38mm version costs less than the 42mm version, and the watchstrap you choose can have a significant effect on the cost.
Is the Apple Watch too expensive?
When the first iPod launched back in 2001 it cost £349. At the time there were a lot of complaints about the price, with other MP3 players of the day costing less. It’s a similar story today, with smartwatches available for a lot less than the Apple Watch, as you can see from our roundup of the Apple Watch competition.
The high price of the iPod certainly didn’t hinder it in its rise to superiority, and over the years the price did come down. (You can now buy a 2GB iPod shuffle for £40.) It is certainly feasible that the same could be true of the Apple Watch: that its higher price will not hinder it initially, and that over time the price will come down.
We think the price point of £299 for the entry-level model, which sits somewhere between the price of the iPad mini 2 and the iPhone 5c, is reasonable.
Okay, you've convinced me. But is the Apple Watch Edition too expensive?
While some are complaining that Apple shouldn't ship a product that is out of the price range of the average person, there have actually been some suggestions that the Apple Watch isn't expensive enough!
Whatever you think about the price of the Apple Watch Edition the person you have to blame, or praise, for its existence is Apple's design guru Jonathan Ive. It was Ive that pushed for the company to make the high-priced product to appeal to wealthy people. According to the New Yorker profile of February 2015, Ive had to fight for the Apple Watch Edition, with some execs at Apple thinking that it would divide regular Apple customers from the highly wealthy.
We think it doesn't matter if the Apple Watch Edition is priced too high for the average Apple customer, particularly if celebrities are seen wearing the Apple Watch Edition. Fans will buy the version of the Apple Watch they can afford.
Can I insure my Apple Watch?
You can get insurance from Apple that will cover your Apple Watch if something goes wrong with it (there is a question of whether the watch would be covered by the guarantee even if you didn't buy AppleCare, but AppleCare also offers other features, like help at the end of the phone if you have a problem with the watch). We discuss AppleCare in this article: Is AppleCare worth it. and a lot of information about whether you are actually covered by the warrantee anyway here: Is Apple mis-selling AppleCare to UK.
If you decide to get AppleCare, there’s an AppleCare+ plan for all the Apple Watch models. The AppleCare+ cover fof the Apple Watch will cost £69 and AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch Sport costs £49. The plan will extend the watches warranty to two years and grant you up to two accidental damage claims (although if you do damage your watch you will have to pay an excess of £49 for Apple Watch Sport, and £55 for Apple Watch.
If you want Apple Care for your Apple Watch Edition it sill cost £1,500, and there is a £700 excess should you damage the watch due to your own carelessness, but you might consider that small change if you’ve just laid out £13,500 for your posh watch.
In the US Apple also has three AppleCare+ plans that'll cover both your Watch and your iPhone, presuming your phone is less than six months old. Unfortunately those plans are not available in the UK.
You can purchase AppleCare here, you don’t have to purchase it at the same time as you buy the Watch.
Apple Watch design: Does the Apple Watch scratch easily?
The Apple Watch has been out in the wild for a matter of days and already there are worrying reports that suggest that the smartwatch is easy to damage. Photos of smashed and scratched Apple Watches have appeared on the web, and it's sparked worry among those who've pre-ordered their Apple Watch but have yet to recieve it.
On Weibo, a popular Chinese social network, the image below has been doing the rounds, showing a smashed screen on the Apple Watch.
Several of the photos we've seen on Twitter show scratched, dented and damaged Apple Watches, with the owners completely confused as to how they got there. Wearing your Apple Watch on your wrist all day every day, it's bound to get knocked about a little bit, but we'd hoped that the materials Apple has used for the smartwatch would be more durable.
Here's how to replace a broken Apple Watch: How to repair a broken Apple Watch, will Apple repair or replace scratched/smashed Apple Watch
Maybe don't get the glass one. Zero idea how this happened. No hard knocks or bangs. pic.twitter.com/Yw2nYoZNEd— Chris Welch (@chriswelch) April 25, 2015
And not all of the photos we've seen of damaged Apple Watches are the aluminium Sport version, either. Even the Stainless Steel Apple Watch with Sapphire Glass has shown up online with a big scratch.
Without memory of ever bumping it (even gently), a scratch has shown up on my Apple Watch's sapphire glass. Weird. pic.twitter.com/BMDtLAglnF— Oscar Tijerina ? (@TN9Design) April 27, 2015
A bit clearer here. pic.twitter.com/U3boQY5iqp— Michael Kukielka (@DetroitBORG) April 25, 2015
We've been using our Apple Watch all weekend and haven't seen any scratches yet. We'll keep updating this article when more news about the durability of the Apple Watch emerges.
Which Apple Watch should I buy?
Again, our Apple Watch buying guide covers this in more detail, but there are three categories of watch available, in two different sizes, made from various different materials, and with a variety of straps available. There are actually about 38 different combinations based on the different finishes and straps you can purchase the Apple Watch with. There could actually have been more combinations but some of the watchstraps are only compatible with certain sizes of Apple Watch.
If you're into sport, the Apple Watch Sport is the obvious choice. It has an aluminum case, features Apple’s Ion-X glass display, and ships with the fluoroelastomer Sport Band. It’s comfortable to wear, durable, and sweatproof, and it’s available in black or white if neon colours aren’t your thing.
If you want the cheapest Apple Watch available, the Apple Watch Sport is the one you will have to settle on. If you then decide you hate the band you can always buy another strap from Apple’s selection, but note that if you buy an Apple Watch Sport in the hope of pairing it with the stainless steel bracelets note that it will clash with the aluminum case.
If you're happy to pay a little more for style, then the Apple Watch might be for you. Prices range from £299 to £13,500 depending on the materials the case is made from, and the band you choose. The Apple Watch costs more than the Watch Sport because it sports a stainless steel case, rather than aluminum. There is also sapphire crystal covering the display, and black accent on the digital crown. Because this is Apple stainless steel it's 80 percent harder than normal stainless steel.
You can pair this watch with various straps, from the leather Classic Buckle, Modern Buckle, or Leather Loop; to the stainless steel Milanese Loop or Link Bracelet. Along with the stainless steel case option there is a space gray stainless steel case option, with bands to match.
Then there is the Apple Watch Edition. We don't think many people will buy this: it's likely to be the domain of celebrities and other people with a lot of money, but that's likely to be part of its appeal.
Just as some celebrities got their iPhones gold plated and diamond encrusted, it will be possible to buy an Apple Watch that is 18-carat gold - and we don't mean gold plated - but it will cost you. Prices in the UK start at £8,000 up to £13,500 if you wanted the 38mm 18-carat rose gold with rose grey modern buckle (interestingly the most expensive Apple Watch is only available in the smaller size).
Which size of Apple Watch should I get?
There are two sizes of Apple Watch, one with a 38mm face, the other with a 42mm face. This is Apple’s answer to one of the main criticisms of existing smartwatches: they are humongous on women’s wrists.
However, this isn't to say that it's 38mm for women and 42mm for men. Apart from the fact that the 39mm version is generally cheaper than the 42mm version, and therefore likely to be more popular, some men may opt for the smaller face, and some women may prefer the larger face. It may well divide people in the same way the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have.
The screen of the 38mm Watch measures 38.6mm by 33.3mm and is 10.5mm thick. The screen of the 42mm Watch measures 42mm by 35.9mm and is 10.5mm thick. If you want to get a clearer idea of how big the screen is, open the Apple Store app on your iPhone and you can see the actual sizes. Go to Learn more > View pricing > Compare case sizes.
Alternatively, to see the Watch in the flesh, visit an Apple Store on any day after the 10 April to get a demo from Apple.
How many Apple Watch straps are available?
Apple launched the Apple Watch with a choice of six different bands. These include the Link Bracelet, Sport Band, Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Modern Buckle and Milanese Loop.
As a result of all these options there should be an Apple Watch for all tastes. This was Apple's aim, at least.
"One of the biggest challenges that we found was that we couldn't all be sitting there wearing the same thing. I don't think we want to wear the same thing," said Jony Ive in an interview at the London Design Museum, talking about Apple's decision to make the design of the Apple Watch so customisable. "Which is why we developed this system, not a single product."
There are five colours available for the Sport Band: black, white, pink, blue and lime green. You'll find that some are heavier than others with the black one being the lightest.
For the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Edition there are three leather straps and two metal straps to choose from.
The Leather Loop features a magnetic closure and just wraps around your wrist. It comes in stone, light brown and bright blue.
The Leather Modern strap also has a magnetic closure and comes in pink, brown and midnight blue.
The Classic Buckle strap is a black leather strap that closes with a stainless steel buckle.
The Link Bracelet band is made from stainless steel and closes with a butterfly clasp. There is a link-release button on several of the links so you can remove links to customize the fit (or get it fitted in store). It comes in stainless steel tone or in space black.
The stainless steel Milanese Loop band is like chain mail. It secures with magnets so it can easily be adjusted to fit.
Should I pass on the Apple Watch and wait for the Apple Watch 2?
That's a really tough question, because we've got no idea what Apple will do with the Apple Watch 2. (Although we've made sure to post our wishlist of Apple Watch 2 features in case anyone at Apple is listening!)
For obvious reasons, the first generation of a product is almost always the least appealing, with the benefit of hindsight: future generations will get new features, improved specs, slimmed-down bodies and reduced price tags, and the first model is the most likely to suffer from usability problems and glitches that didn't come out in pre-release testing.
So rationally, yes: you probably ought to wait for the Apple Watch 2. But that means you miss out on the pleasures of being an early adopter: trying out a product that's on the bleeding edge of innovation, and showing off to your mates.
We're keen fans of Apple products and technology in general, and we wouldn't miss this for the world. But we can understand why a lot of people will wait before making the plunge into the world of wearable technology, if they do at all.
Also bear in mind that we can't assume that the Apple Watch will be upgraded once a year. It probably will, but this is an entirely new product category for Apple, and who knows: maybe it will get updated as often as the Mac Pro. Maybe you'll be waiting longer than you think for the Apple Watch 2.
Is my wrist too big (or too small) for the Apple Watch?
If you have a slender wrist you may be wondering whether the Apple Watch will be too big for you. Apple claims that most women's wrists are within the range of 140mm to 175mm. The company also suggests that most men's wrists are from 165mm to 195mm. The watchstraps on offer cover wrists from 125mm to 210mm.
My wrist is 150mm, so I think that for all but the skinniest of wrists, Apple Watch should be ok.
Before you make your strap choice, measure your wrist. Some bands aren't available for very small (or large) wrists. Other bands are not available for the smaller watch face, and yet others are not for the bigger watch face. For example, the Modern Buckle is only available for the 38mm Watch and the Leather Loop is only available for the 42mm Watch, and only for wrists over 150mm.
The measurements of the different straps are as follows:
Small/medium Sports Band
Medium/large Sports Band
Small/medium Sports Band
Medium/large Sports Band
Small Modern Buckle
Medium Modern Buckle
Medium Modern Buckle
Large Leather Loop
Can I buy an Apple Watch and the strap I like separately?
We thought that when the Apple Watch went on sale it would be possible to select the watch body of your choice, unfortunately it looks like Apple is set on making the decision of which strap goes with which watch for you: that's still 38 combinations available, though.
You can however, purchase additional watchstraps, if you fancy one for the gym and one for going out. The straps also come in at different prices.
- The Sports Band, available in blue, pink, green, black, white, and black with space grey pin, costs £39.
- The Classic Buckle in black costs £129.
- The Milanese Loop costs £129
- The Leather Loop in Stone Leather, Light Brown, black, and Bright Blue costs £129.
- The Modern Buckle, in brown, black, Soft Pink and Midnight Blue, costs £209.
- The Link Bracelet, costs £379
Will I be able to switch Apple Watch straps?
You can buy additional watchstraps and it looks like it will be easy enough to switch them around. However, note that not every band will go with every size of watch, as you can see from the chart above, the Leather Loop will only fit 42mm watches, not the 38mm variety, for example.
You will also find that the metal bands, being stainless steel, won’t match the aluminium finish of the Sport watch.
Can I use non-Apple Watch straps?
It is feasible that Apple will allow third parties to get in on the action and offer their own Apple Watch straps.
Casetify is already offering Apple Watch owners the chance to create personalized Apple Watch straps. Casetify specializes in custom designed iPhone and iPad cases which users can create using their own photographs. The company is now extending its design tools to allow users to personalize their own Apple Watch strap. Casetify says that its watch straps will cost $50 and will ship in June.
Is the Apple Watch ok for left- and right-handed use?
The Apple Watch works fine whether you are left- or right-handed, because the display rotates, just like the iPhone display does. All you have to do is flip the watch over so the Digital Crown is on the left side.
However, a few left-handed people have complained that it can be awkward to reach the Digital Crown if you wear the watch on your right hand.
APPLE WATCH SPECS
Apple Watch specs: is there a difference in technical specs?
It doesn’t matter how much you spend, each Watch comes with the same 8GB of storage and the same software. The only real differences are cosmetic.
However, Apple does indicate in its marketing material that the 42mm Apple Watch will offer slightly more battery life than the 38mm version, likely thanks to the slightly larger battery in that model. Don’t expect this to be significant though.
DisplayMate has taken a closer look at the display on the Apple Watch and has come to the conclusion that the screen on the Apple Watch Sport is actually the better screen, because the sapphire glass used on the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition is almost twice as reflective, therefore making it a struggle to see properly outdoors.
What processor is inside the Apple Watch?
The chip inside the Apple Watch is custom-designed, and is called the S1. This chip features many subsystems that have been encapsulated in resin for extra durability.
How much storage is available on the Apple Watch?
Each Watch comes with 8GB of storage, however, there are limitations to how you can use this storage. You can use 2GB for music (200 songs) and 75MB for photos. What of the remaining 6GB of space? It’s likely that this is for the operating system, application caches, and other data.
There may also be some room available for apps, although currently apps are stored on the paired iPhone, and transmitted to the Watch when you use the app. It is though that when Apple makes a native SDK available to developers some apps will be able to store some resources on the Watch itself. Apple said back in November 2014 that: “Starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch.”
How much music can I store on the Apple Watch?
Although there is 8GB storage available on the Watch, Apple says there is only room for 2GB of music. That’s about 200 songs. Those songs can be played even if you don’t have your iPhone with you. When paired with your iPhone you will be able to listen any tracks on that device (but in that case you might as well plug your headphones into your iPhone).
You decide which tracks should sync with your Apple Watch in the iPhone app which came as part of iOS 8.2.
Are there headphones for the Apple Watch, then?
There is no headphone port in the Apple Watch; the device works with Bluetooth headphones. There is also a built in speaker and mic.
How many photos can I store on the Apple Watch?
Although there is 8GB storage available on the Watch, Apple says there is only room for 75MB of photos. You manage which photos appear on the Watch through iCloud Photo Library. These images will be automatically resized when they are added to the Watch. It’s estimated that you should be able to store about 100 photos on the Watch.
What material is the Apple Watch made from?
The Apple Watch is made from stainless steel and the Apple Watch Sport from an anodized aluminum.
The 18-carot gold Apple Watch Edition is solid gold – not gold plated – and this gold is actually harder than standard gold, thanks to a process by which Apple is able to pack molecules in the gold even closer together (we imagine that Apple has also invented a way to turn coal into gold but are keeping quiet about that).
This alchemy is patented to Apple and apparently means that Apple needs less gold than it would have had the process not been possible. It’s suggested over at Cult of Mac that if the Apple Watch Edition proved popular it would require one-third of the world’s gold supply (we’re not sure how they arrived at that calculation though).
How heavy is the Apple Watch?
It's probably heavier than your current watch. Rob Griffiths has compiled a handy chart that shows the weight of the various watches combined with straps, among other things.
38mm Apple Watch weight:
- The 38mm Apple Watch Sport case weighs 25g
- The 38mm Apple Watch case weighs 40g
- The 38mm Apple Watch Edition Rose Gold case weighs 54g
- The 38mm Apple Watch Edition Yellow Gold case weighs 55g
42mm Apple Watch weight:
- The 42mm Apple Watch Sport case weighs 30g
- The 42mm Apple Watch case weighs 50g
- The 42mm Apple Watch Edition Rose Gold case weighs 67g
- The 42mm Apple Watch Edition Yellow Gold case weighs 69g
This is only part of the Apple Watch weight story. The straps are all different weights – even the different sports straps. Griffiths adds the weight of the straps on to get the following weight measurements (he notes that the classic Buckle weight is guessed, and some sizes of bands are not included).
38mm Apple Watch Sport weight, with strap:
- The 38mm Apple Watch Sport with white Sport Band 72g
- The 38mm Apple Watch Sport with blue Sport Band 69g
- The 38mm Apple Watch Sport with green Sport Band 68g
- The 38mm Apple Watch Sport with pink Sport Band 67g
- The 38mm Apple Watch Sport with black Sport Band 62g
42mm Apple Watch Sport weight, with strap:
- The 42mm Apple Watch Sport with white Sport Band 81g
- The 42mm Apple Watch Sport with blue Sport Band 78g
- The 42mm Apple Watch Sport with green Sport Band 78g
- The 42mm Apple Watch Sport with pink Sport Band 76g
- The 42mm Apple Watch Sport with black Sport Band 70g
The 38mm Apple Watch weight, with strap:
- The 38mm Apple Watch with white Sport Band 87g
- The 38mm Apple Watch with black Sport Band 77g
- The 38mm Apple Watch with Classic Buckle 56g
- The 38mm Apple Watch with Milanese Loop 73g
- The 38mm Apple Watch with Modern Buckle 63g
- The 38mm Apple Watch with Link Bracelet 105g
The 42mm Apple Watch weight, with strap:
- The 42mm Apple Watch with white Sport Band 101g
- The 42mm Apple Watch with black Sport Band 90g
- The 42mm Apple Watch with Classic Buckle 69g
- The 42mm Apple Watch with Milanese Loop 91g
- The 42mm Apple Watch with Leather Loop 80g
- The 42mm Apple Watch with Link Bracelet 125g
The 38mm Apple Watch Edition weight, with strap:
- The 38mm 18-carat rose gold with white Sport Band 102g
- The 38mm 18-carat yellow gold with black Sport Band 93g
- The 38mm 18-carat rose gold with rose grey Modern Buckle 94g
- The 38mm 18-carat rose gold with bright red Modern Buckle 96g
The 42mm Apple Watch Edition weight, with strap:
- The 42mm 18-carat rose gold with white Sport Band 120g
- The 42mm 18-carat yellow gold with black Sport Band 111g
- The 42mm 18-carat yellow gold with classic buckle 88g
How durable is the Apple Watch face?
The material used for the Apple Watch face differs depending on the Watch.
The Watch Sport features an Ion-X glass display, while the Watch and Watch Edition use Sapphire glass. The Ion-X display should be able to withstand any knocks and it has the added bonus of being lighter than the Sapphire glass.
How visible is the Apple Watch face in daylight?
The Apple Watch is reported to feature an AMOLED display, unlike the iPhone and iPad, which feature IPD LCD panels.
LCD displays rely on a backlight projected through three layers. OLEDs have no backlight and only one layer, which is an organic compound that emits light when an electric current is run through it. OLED also is thinner than LCD.
LCDs fair worse in bright sunlight than OLED. OLED transistors only use energy when they are producing light, while the LCD backlight has to be on to see any pixel. This way an OLED battery can last longer.
What sensors does the Apple Watch have?
The Apple watch has a couple of different sensors, including a gyroscope and an accelerometer.
There’s also a custom sensor that uses visible-light and infrared LEDs along with photodiodes on the back of the device, which determines your heart rate.
The accelerometer will allow the watch to count your steps. It will extrapolate distance on its own, or rely on the GPS in the paired iPhone to trace your exact route. The step data will then be used by the Activity and Workout apps included on the Watch.
According to reports, the Apple Watch was originally intended to have more advanced health features with additional sensors, but manufacturing issues and reliability problems meant that Apple was forced to leave sensors including blood pressure sensors out of the smartwatch.
TechCrunch has speculated that a mystery port on the Apple Watch could be the key to prolonging the life of the Apple Watch, by allowing it to connect with new devices and accessories in the future that help introduce additional features including new sensors, for example. After all, the top Apple Watch could cost up to $10,000 some reports say, so that's no small investment for a watch that could be obsolete in a year or two.
Is the Apple Watch waterproof?
The Apple Watch is water resistant but not waterproof. It will be fine if it gets wet on a rainy day – and Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly revealed he wears his in the shower, but avoid submerging it in water.
Apple says: "Apple Watch is splash and water resistant but not waterproof. You can, for example, wear and use Apple Watch during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended. Apple Watch has a water resistance rating of IPX7 under IEC standard 60529. The leather bands are not water resistant."
The IPX7 rating means it should survive in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes, but this isn’t recommended.
How long is the Apple Watch battery life?
The company claimed the Apple Watch will offer 18 hours during the 9 March keynote. On Apple’s website the battery life is broken down into more detail:
- All Day Battery Life, 18 hours: this includes 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and 30 minutes working out with music playing via Bluetooth.
- Talk Time, 3 hours: Apple paired an Apple Watch with an iPhone and managed to place a three-hour call from the Apple Watch.
- Audio Playback, 6.5 hours: Apple played music on an Apple Watch via Bluetooth.
- Workout, 6.5 hours: Apple managed 6.5 hours working out (we wonder who had that job) the heart rate monitor was on during the workout.
- Watch, 48 hours: If you just check the time five times every hour then the Apple Watch should last two days, 48 hours.
- Power Reserve: if the battery gets too low rather then switching off the Apple Watch will go into Power Reserve mode, so that you can still see the time. This can last for 72 hours.
How power-hungry is the Apple Watch?
Apple has guarded against the Watch being too much of a battery hog: it is designed to get you the info you want quickly, both in how the information is presented and how easy it is to move between it. Therefore it's unlikely that you will be staring at it, with the screen on, for huge stretches of time. It only takes a second to open a glance and see the information you are looking for.
People aren’t likely to sit staring at their Apple Watch during a commute, for example. The Apple Watch will be glanced at, not studied (unless perhaps you want to read an email).
The Apple Watch may also have the effect of extending the battery life of your iPhone, because you will turn its screen on less.
However, during our first few days using the Apple Watch we found that the battery ran out alarmingly fast. Find out more and learn how to make the Apple Watch battery last longer here.
What happens when the Apple Watch runs out of battery?
When your Apple Watch starts running low it will switch to Power Reserve mode, which will give it around 72 hours of life as a watch before you plug it in again, by which we mean it will only function as a time piece.
How do you charge the Apple Watch?
The Apple Watch doesn’t charge wirelessly but you don’t exactly plug it in either. Instead the charging cable snaps on to the back of the watch with magnets and charges it via induction. It’s a bit like the way your electric toothbrush charges.
When it comes to charging, a magnetic charger snaps on to the back of the watch. This inductive charging feature means that no alignment or exposed contacts are necessary. It uses MagSafe technology that lets you hold the connector near the back of the watch and let the magnets snap it into place automatically.
It's interesting that Apple is using MagSafe here on the Watch, but not on the new MacBook. Apple also launched a new MacBook at this event, read more here: 12in Retina MacBook Air release date rumours.
How long does the Apple Watch take to charge?
According to Apple charging the watch to 100% takes 2.5 hours, although you can get to 80% in 1.5 hours.
Griffin has already launched a WatchStand to charge your Apple Watch, so expect to see many more arriving this year.
Can you replace the battery in the Apple Watch?
This is likely to be a concern of anyone spending a lot of money on an Apple Watch. Luckily, according to reports, it will be possible to replace the battery – but an Apple technician will have to do it for you.
An Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch that Watch owners will be able to send devices to Apple to have the battery swapped. The service will have a cost associated with it.
What happens if the iPhone your Apple Watch is paired with runs out of battery?
It's great that you get 18 hours of battery life from the Watch. But what if the associated iPhone runs out of battery by 8pm?
If this happens any functions of the Watch that rely on the iPhone will stop working. That includes being able to take calls via your wrist, social networking apps, email, messages, and Digital Touch features.
But you will still be able to pay for stuff using Apple Pay, listen to the music you have stored on the Watch, use exercise-related apps (although you won't be able to evaluate the data until it syncs with your iPhone again), and health-related features such as the heartbeat monitor would continue to work.
Will the iPhone battery last longer because you are using it less, or will it run out quicker because it's paired with the Apple Watch via Bluetooth? We will have to test this to find out.
APPLE WATCH SOFTWARE
How do you use the Apple Watch?
You navigate the Apple Watch using the touchscreen and the Digital Crown.
You can touch and tap the screen, the Apple Watch screen is pressure sensitive so it can distinguish between a regular tap and a harder touch. Taps select things while a harder press accesses contextual menus, it’s a little bit like the difference between right and left clicking on a mouse. This technology is called Force Touch.
You can also access various features via swipes. Swipe up on the clock face to see information, aka Glances, from your calendar as well as your location and the weather, for example.
Because the size of your fingertip is likely to obscure some of what you are trying to select, Apple’s solution to this is the Digital Crown, which allows you to navigate without touching the screen.
The Digital Crown is similar to the iPod’s clickwheel. Turn the crown to scroll through lists and zoom in and out of maps and photos. Press the crown to return to the home screen.
Below the Digital Crown is another button. Press this to access the Friends app. In the resulting screen you will see a list of your contacts, tap the picture of a friend to send them a message, place a phone call, or contact them using the Digital Touch features.
How to see Glances on Apple Watch
Glances provide quick looks at things like sports scores, stocks and weather. They present basic information from apps in easily digestible chunks. They're non-interactive and confined to a single screen.
To see your glances, raise your arm to wake your watch to its clock face. You can swipe between each glance.
How do I open apps on the Apple Watch?
You can open an app by taping on the icon bubble on the home screen. You can also open an app by tapping on the associated Glance.
How to see Notifications on Apple Watch
Notifications on the Apple Watch borrow heavily from interactive notifications in iOS 8, letting users take action on emails, social media mentions and other notifications without opening the app itself.
Notifications can be seen by swiping down the clock face from the top.
Notifications will initially appear in a "short look" preview mode, and they'll go away if the user lowers his or her wrist. More details and interactive options will appear if the user taps on the notification or leaves his or her wrist up.
How does the Apple Watch notify or alert you?
The Apple Watch has a feature called the Taptic Engine, which provides haptic feedback to users. It works with the Apple Watch's built-in speaker to enable a new set of alerts and notifications that you'll be able to both hear and feel.
When you get a message, the taptic engine taps your wrist.
When getting turn-by-turn notifications, for example, you'll feel a different alert that'll let you know whether you need to turn left or right without needing to actually look at the display.
How to use Digital Touch on Apple Watch
You can use Digital Touch to send a special kind of message to a friend. You can draw an image with your finger, or tap on the screen, and have that tap mirrored on their wrist. You can even send your heartbeat – to do so, hold two fingers over the watch’s face.
This is the closest to telepathy we are likely to get.
Find out more about Digital Touch in our How to use Digital Touch on Apple Watch tutorial.
How do I type messages on the Apple Watch?
If you receive a text message on your Apple Watch you may be wondering how you are going to reply to it. You won’t be tapping out a reply on the 38-42mm screen. Instead Apple gives you a choice of using preset answers or dictating a reply using Siri. Alternatively you can record an audio message and send that to your friend, of sent an emoji.
Users will be able to switch between Dictation and Audio Replies as the preferred means of replying. Users will also be enable to disable Read Receipts, set up default text replies, and choose not to receive alerts from certain people.
Find out more in our How to reply to a text on Apple Watch tutorial.
Can I get email on the Apple Watch?
When it comes to email messages you will be able to read, flag, mark as read or unread, and delete, but you won’t be able to reply unless you switch to your Mac iPhone, or iPad.
How well does voice dictation work?
When you receive a text message on your Apple Watch you can dictate your reply to Siri.
We were concerned that we’d have difficulties using voice dictation with the Watch, but it worked well, even in a noisy room full of journalists.
How do you use Siri on the Apple Watch?
You can activate Siri on your Apple Watch in a few ways. Either double tap the button located below the Digital Crown, press and hold the Digital Crown, or say “Hey Siri”.
We go into more detail about how to use Siri on Apple Watch here.
Can I make or take a phone call on the Apple Watch?
You can place and take calls using the Apple Watch. There is a microphone and speaker built in, so you could talk to your wrist, or you can use a Bluetooth headset.
We talk you through phone calls in our How to answer calls on Apple Watch tutorial.
APPLE WATCH INTERFACE
Apple Watch interface: How does the Digital Crown work?
The Apple Watch has a dial on the side, much like the one found on traditional watches, which Apple has called the Digital Crown. This Digital Crown contains sensors that turn movement into data, so will be the main input method for the Apple Watch rather than the touchscreen display. You'll be able to scroll, zoom and navigate using the Digital Crown.
Apple makes a valid point about a touchscreen display on a smartwatch, suggesting that using pinch-to-zoom gestures on such a small display will simply cover up the content.
"The Digital Crown is Apple's most revolutionary navigation tool since the iPod Click Wheel and iPhone Multi-Touch," writes Apple in its press release.
The Digital Crown also acts as a Home button, and a way to access Siri.
However, when Apple showed off the Apple Watch at the March event the Digital Crown was given a lot less attention. It is now thought that the Digital Crown is a lot less significant than Apple indicated it would be during its presentation in June 2014.
Apple Watch interface: How does Force Touch work
In our review of the Apple Watch we note that there are so many ways to interact with the Apple Watch that it’s not always clear whether you should tap, scroll, swipe or push.
You can scroll around the screen, tap on items to select them or press harder to get more options, the latter is made possible by Apple’s Force Touch technology that determines how hard you are pressing the Watch and will act accordingly. There is a difference between a hard press and a simple tap.
Apple Watch interface: How does Taptic feedback work
The watch is able to 'tap' your wrist to alert you to notifications. These notifications could be for messages from friends, or they could be to tell you to turn left or right when following directions. It's similar to the vibrate function on your phone but a little less intrusive.
APPLE WATCH AND THE iPHONE
Can you use the Apple Watch without your iPhone?
Yes, to a certain extent. The Apple Watch generally needs to be paired with an iPhone to offer full functionality, but it will still work when separated from the iPhone.
When, for example you arrive home or to the office, the iPhone and Watch will no longer need to communicate via Bluetooth because they will be able to communicate via the WiFi network.
Bluetooth communication is possible within about 30 meters, which might sound a lot, but it will degrade if there are walls and other radio waves (say from the microwave or other devices) in the way.
Once on the WiFi network you won’t be tethered to your iPhone, so your iPhone could be left charging upstairs while you access messages and other data on the Watch in your living room. You can stray as far as your local network will allow, which could be all the way to the bottom of the garden.
For now this is a benefit of the Apple Watch in comparison to Android Wear, which offers only Bluetooth connectivity. But apparently Android Wear will be getting WiFi at some point.
How do you pair an Apple Watch with the iPhone?
Using the Apple Watch app on the iPhone, hold the Apple Watch up to the iPhone Camera and align it with the viewfinder, then tap the ‘I’ icon on the Watch to view its name and tap the corresponding name in the list shown on the iPhone.
This app will have appeared on your iPhone with the iOS 8.2 update (and no, you can’t delete it if you don’t want it).
What features does the Apple Watch app on the iPhone offer?
If you don’t have an Apple Watch the only feature offered by the Apple Watch app on the iPhone is a friendly Good Morning or Good Afternoon, and a link to learn more about Apple Watch. But there is also the option to Start Pairing, once you do have an Apple Watch.
The application will manage settings for the Apple Watch apps, and the way the iPhone and Apple Watch interact.
Users will be able to perform the following functions via the iPhone app: set up a four number passcode for the Apple Watch; activate fitness features including a reminder if they have been sitting for too long, or a summary of how much activity the watch has logged in the past 4, 6 or 8 hours; view the storage capacity available including details about what is taking up the space; Bluetooth and WiFi information.
You will also be able to change the layout of the Apple Watch home screen via a virtual view in the iPhone app.
There are also accessibility features that can be managed on the iPhone app, these include a VoiceOver feature, the ability to zoom in on the screen, and settings to reduce motion, control audio, reduce transparency, enable bold text, and more.
Will the Apple Watch work with my iPhone?
You'll need to own an iPhone in order to use the Apple Watch. The Watch is compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Can the Apple Watch do anything the iPhone can’t do?
The Digital Touch feature is Apple Watch only. So when the Apple Watch launches it will only be this elite of users who have the ability to communicate this way.
Can you use the Apple Watch for working out without your iPhone?
Will the watch be a good workout partner even if you don’t have your paired iPhone with you?
You don’t have to being your Apple Watch with you when you go for a jog. The Watch’s built-in heart rate sensor and accelerometer work on their own, and the native Workout app can track different kinds of workouts. All of that information can later be synced with your phone.
You will also have 2GB worth of music storage available on the Watch, which should be enough storage to play some songs during your run. You can listen to music through Bluetooth headphones.
The watch’s accelerometer can also count your steps as you run, and use maths to extrapolate the distance covered. However, your route cannot be tracked if you don’t have the iPhone with you as, unlike the iPhone, the Apple Watch doesn’t have GPS.
The lack of GPS is likely to be one criticism of the Apple Watch. Android Wear didn’t support GPS initially, either, but now it does, and some Android smartwatches now offer GPS support. It’s possible that Apple will add that capability to a future generation of Apple Watch.
Along with GPS there are a few other fitness features that won’t work without your iPhone. Apps need the iPhone in order to tap into the data your Watch collects.
USING APPLE PAY WITH APPLE WATCH
How do I use Apple Pay with the Apple Watch?
The Apple Watch has near-field communication (NFC) so you will be able to use it to pay for things – as long as Apple Pay works where you live (we are still waiting for it here in the UK).
To use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch just wave your watch near an NFC-equipped payment terminal. If you have an older iPhone (pre-iPhone 6) the Apple Watch will open up Apple Pay for you (older iPhones don’t have the necessary NFC chip). You don't need to tap it, and you will get taptic feedback on your wrist so you know it's worked.
To use Apple Pay with your Apple Watch you will need to add your credit or debit card information to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. This information will not be stored on the Watch itself, instead the device will store a token that will act in the place of your card when you wish to pay for something.
If you are worried about the security aspect of this, you’ll be glad to know that if you take the Apple Watch off it will lock and require a code before Apple Pay can be used again.
Does the Apple Watch have any security features?
Given that we can use the Apple Watch to pay for things using Apple Pay, and even unlock the garage door, what security measures has Apple included?
If you are worried that someone could get their hands on your watch and, using it, get inside your house, you needn’t be. We don’t know everything about how Apple will tackle privacy concerns with the Watch, but the company has a few elements in place to secure the device.
When you set up Apple Pay on an Apple Watch you will be forced to set a passcode. This PIN has to be entered before you can use Apple Pay, and you will have to reenter this PIN each time you take the watch off and put it on again. The sensors inside the Apple Watch can tell if someone is wearing it – and you can’t actually use it with Apple Pay unless it is on your wrist.
So if the Watch were stolen the assailant wouldn’t be able to use it to pay for things using Apple Pay – as long as they don’t have your passcode (or your arm still attached to the Watch, but we won’t be testing that scenario).
In a second level of security, Apple Pay accounts can be deactivated remotely via iCloud.
There is also the fact that the Apple Watch is a companion to your iPhone – and without your phone it is pretty much redundant. There’s not a lot of information about you on the Watch, so there is little data that a thief would be able to glean about the device.
We don’t yet know if Apple will provide a Find My iPhone style feature for the Apple Watch, should it be stolen, but we imagine that anyone who’s spent more than £8,000 on theirs will want to track it down.
APPLE WATCH APPS
The Apple Watch app store already has more than 3,500 apps, according to CEO Tim Cook, and that number should continue growing by the day.
How do I download apps for the Apple Watch?
As far as we can tell, there won’t be an App Store on the Watch. You will need to download apps from a special section of the App Store on your iPhone before syncing them with the Apple Watch.
What apps does Apple offer for Apple Watch?
Messages will get Apple Watch extensions that will let you read texts just by raising your arm when you get an alert. You’ll also be able to respond.
When you get a phone call it will vibrate on your wrist and you can take a call, or reject the call, from your wrist.
Mail will alert you when you get an email, and you can read, flag or delete the message.
Your Calendar will be viewable on your Apple Watch and you will be notified of events as well as being able to decline and accept invites.
Apple’s Activity app will track your movements, exercise, and how long you are sitting – and it will remind you to stand up if you haven’t for some time. You’ll also be able to see a graphical representation of your stats. See also: How to use Apple Watch Activity app.
The Workout app will monitor your workout sessions and show time, distance, speed, and calories burned. See: How to use the Apple Watch Workout app.
Maps will show you a miniature map of where you are and will use custom vibrations to navigate you to your destination so you won’t even have to look at the watch.
Passbook will show your airline ticket and barcodes that can be scanned to allow access.
Siri will work with the Hey Siri commend.
The Music app will give you 2GB space for your favourite tracks.
You can use the Apple Watch to remote control you iPhone camera and your Apple TV.
The Weather app will give hourly and weekly forecasts.
The Stocks app will offer graphs that show the performance of your stocks.
The Photos app will offer 75MB of storage for a few of your favourite photos.
You will also get the Alarm, Stop Watch and Timer on the Watch – as you would expect. It looks different to the iPhone clock app though, with a more analog look to the dial.
There is also a World Clock app available that will show the time in various time zones. You can set it up with your favourites.
What third-party apps will be available for Apple Watch?
Back in November 2014 Apple introduced the WatchKit SDK and other developers have been using this to build their own apps. Here are a few of the ones that have been announced:
The Instagram app will let you browse your Instragram feed, liked photos, and you’ll also be able to leave comments.
The Twitter app will show notifications and allow you to respond to and interact with other Twitter users.
There is a photo editing app called Darkroom that will let you adjust your RGB colour curves on the Watch.
You can monitor your bids using the Ebay app on the Watch.
The Alarm.com app will let you manage your home security system.
There’s a Salesforce app.
Evernote will allow you to dictate notes as well as view your notes and set reminders.
Dark Sky is a weather app.
Sky Guide includes a calendar of astronomical events and notifies you of special events such as meteor showers
Shazam on the Apple Watch will tell you what song is playing.
With Lifesum you can track the food you eat and water you drink and get feedback so that you know how many calories you have consumed.
You can make reservations with the OpenTable app.
The New York Times has announced that it will bring one-sentence stories to the Apple Watch. This new type of storytelling will inform readers of news at a glance in seconds and the one sentence story will include a photograph and a bulleted summary. Apple Watch users will be able to use Handoff to continue reading on another device.
What travel apps will be available for Apple Watch?
Expedia will let you check itinerates on your Watch, as well as see gates and terminals for your flights, and get details for hotels.
The Babbel app will show you words in the language that of the location you are in.
The Citymapper app will show you routs based on your current location and provide step-by-step instructions, as well as bus and train information. When you reach a location it will tap your wrist to let you know.
The TripAdvisor app will show you details of nearby restaurants and places to visit.
The Starwood Hotels app will let you use an Apple Watch to unlock your room.
What fitness apps will be available for Apple Watch?
Watch app partners include fit tech companies like Nike, Runtastic, and Strava, which will track your workout progress on your wrist.
The Runtastic app will offer Glances that display real-time activity data, including speed, distance, pace, and how many calories you’ve burned at a glance. The app also show information about your workouts in the form of Notifications.
The Nike+ Running app will show the distance, pace and duration of your run.
But you will need you iPhone for those features to work. Apps can’t tap into the data your Watch collects without the iPhone, and the Watch doesn’t have GPS to give you a complete picture of your actual running route.
App developers also don’t have access to the Watch’s sensors (yet), so they can’t design new features around them.
What do developers need to do to get their apps on the Apple Watch?
Developers will be pleased to hear that Apple is now accepting Apple Watch app submissions to the App Store.
Developers are asked to submit their WatchKit app along with screenshots and a description of what it does. More information here.
Some developers have complained that it is nigh on impossible to design apps for the Apple Watch without any knowledge of how the operating system and user interface works.
Developers complained to Business Insider about “being expected to build products from scratch for a platform they've never used or seen before, without even fully knowing how it works.”
Apparently app developers are discovering that they have little access to the mechanism behind the Crown and are mainly relying on media reports to discover how it, and Force Touch, might work.
One designer told Business Insider that: “The SDK provides no methods for interacting with this element beyond a standard scroll."
Another developer also noted that little was known about the Crown. "We might develop the app differently if it spinned freely or clicked in small increments," he said.
Can third-party apps use the Taptic Engine and Force Touch?
How do I add notifications to the Apple Watch?
You will need an iPhone to set up notifications on your Apple Watch.
When a notification arrives on your iPhone, iOS decides whether to display that notification on the iPhone or on the Apple Watch according to your settings.
TELLING TIME ON APPLE WATCH
How good is the Apple Watch at telling the time?
When you raise your arm the Apple Warch adorned arm the watch face will appear. You will also see the time in the top right corner when you’re looking at notifications. But the crucial question is, how accurate will the Apple Watch be at telling the time.
Apple says that the Apple Watch is “one of the most accurate watches ever”. It continually checks the time against the definitive global time standard with the same precision found in GPS satellites. So much so that the second hand on every Apple Watch around the world will be in sync.
When daylight saving time begins, Apple says that the Watch will spring forward to the correct time.
When you move into a different time zone the Apple Watch will adjust accordingly.
While the Watch doesn’t have the handcrafted perpetual motion mechanism of a Rolex, it does offer precision and customization that wouldn’t be possible on a traditional timepiece.
“Apple isn’t just making an iPhone companion; it wants to stake out a claim in the annals of watchmaking history”, says Michael Simon over on Macworld.com.
Incidentally, speaking of time, in all of Apple’s marketing material for the Apple Watch the time is shown at 10.09, as opposed to the 10.10 shown by most watch manufacturers. This may be significant, there are a couple of theories, Business Insider’s theory is that Apple is choosing to display a time that is ahead of the competition, showing that they are ahead of the curve. The theory from The Loop is that it’s just Apple being Apple and trying to make the watch face look as symmetrical as possible – because the hour hand wouldn’t be completely lined up with the ten at ten past the hour.
What Watch Faces are there to choose from?
Rather than boast dozens of inferior faces, like Pebble Time or Android Wear, Apple has picked nine. These include: analogue stopwatch-style Chronograph; the bright and colourful Color; Modular, which features details like sun rise and moon phase; Utility, with details about meetings and calendar events; classic Mickey Mouse; the elegant and minimalist Simple; Motion, which features animations of different species, butterfly, flower, etc; Solar, showing you’re the position of the sun; Astronomy, which shows our position in the solar system (rotate the Digital Crown to zoom out to see the position of the planets, sun and moon).
Once you have chosen your watch face you can fine-tune it, choosing colours and adding details. You can also add what Apple refers to as Complications – which is the technical watchmaking term for specialized functions.
Complications include: Alarm, Moon Phase, Timer, Sunrise/Sunset, World Clock, Stocks, Calendar, Weather, and an activity tracker.
How do I change the Apple Watch face?
It is simple to swap the watch faces. To change a watch face, force press on the screen and swipe across.
WILL THE APPLE WATCH BE A SUCCESS?
Who will buy the Apple Watch?
Every marketing agency and analyst house is trying to predict how many Watches Apple will sell.
According to the Adobe Digital Index there will be “unexpected demand for Apple Watch”. The ADI researchers found that around 27% of 1,000 consumers polled who don't currently own a smartwatch are “very likely” to buy one in next six months. Of those, 67 percent said they would buy the Apple Watch (although it should be noted that this research was carried out before pricing was confirmed).
Strategy Analytics has made a similar forecast, predicting that the Apple Watch will dominate half the smartwatch market. Apparently 1 in 10 of Brits polled by Conjure said that they would buy the Apple Watch. That’s 13.25%, or, claims Conjure, the equivalent of 8.3 million people here in the UK.
Who will buy the Apple Watch Edition?
There are a lot of theories about this, with many suggesting that the high price of the Edition version of the Apple Watch will limit its appeal.
The fact is that £8,000 to £13,500 isn’t unheard of when it comes to watch prices, so there certainly is a market for watches around this mark. Can the Apple Watch compete with the likes of Rolex? Possibly. People are willing to spend around £25,000 on a Rolex, why not spend half that on an Apple Watch made from 18-carot rose-gold. There are a few reasons why it might not be such an easy sell to these watch aficionados: these high prices watches usually have incredibly intricate mechanics - often hand-crafted - and are highly individual. They are also often seen as heirlooms to be passed down the generations – not something that we anticipate happening with the Apple Watch (although you might pass it on to a wife or child in the same way as iPhones and iPads are passed on). The point is that an Apple Watch won’t last for years.
However, we’re sure that there will be a few celebrities spotted with pricy Apple Watches adorning their wrists. In some ways it doesn’t matter if Apple only sells a few of these high-priced Watches: if celebrities are spotted wearing them the fans will follow. This is how an Apple Watch can become an aspirational device – and luckily there are practically identical, cheaper alternatives available.
Another group of people that are being identified as Edition customers are the wealthy Chinese market – the Apple Watch has already made the cover of Vogue China – and apparently the number of super-wealthy in China is set to increase exponentially in the next few years.
How many Apple Watches will Apple sell?
If the iPhone was a computer in your pocket, the Apple Watch is an iPhone on your wrist. It’s also your boarding pass for your flight to Paris, your debit card, your front door keys, your fitness monitor and health data tracker. It will be the tool by which you control the Internet of Things around you.
Give it a year and it will be doing even more things and we’ll wonder how we coped without it.
Crucially it requires you to have an iPhone and therefore the Apple Watch could help Apple sell even more iPhones, something particularly significant now the smart watch market is reaching saturation.
Apparently Apple is set to use up 18% of the world’s sapphire ingot output to make the displays. According to a DigiTimes source in the Chinese supply chain this is the equivalent of 30.8 million two-inch sapphire ingots. (An ingot is a chunk of material ready for further processing – like the gold bars stolen in the Italian Job). Based on the orders received by the suppliers who will be finishing the Sapphire for use in the Apple Watch, Apple has ordered enough for 15-20 million units of the Apple Watch in 2015.
Read on for more about the Apple Watch, including the rumours from before the 9 March launch event...