Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Apple Watch

 

Set up your Apple Watch in 16 steps.

  1. Step 1: grab a beverage and charge; this takes awhile

  2. Your Watch will come out of the box with some battery life, but it’s generally considered best practice to fully charge any piece of electronics when you first use it. Set your watch on the charger, and leave it there while you set it up for the first time.
  3. Also, grab a beverage, because this process really does take upwards of an hour or two to do it right — at least as much time as setting up a new phone takes. Sport owners are encouraged to drink a cuppa joe, regular Watch users may consider a latte, while Edition owners probably should let a glass of ‘96 Cheval Blanc breathe for a bit.
  4. If the Watch doesn’t power on as you set it on the charger, press the side button (not the digital crown) to turn it on.
  5. Step 2: Pair the Watch with your iPhone

    The Watch will show you a screen asking you to choose a language. Pick one that you understand, and then wait a moment for the Watch to configure itself with those letters and words. Next, you’ll see a screen asking you to open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, which Apple has helpfully pre-installed with the last iPhone update. So do that, and then hit the prompt on the Apple Watch.

    The Watch will now show a pretty blue bubble of undulating dots, while the iPhone will open up the camera and direct you to center the viewfinder on the Watch. This is a process familiar to many: it’s essentially the same thing as scanning a QR code. Only this is the prettiest QR code in the history of technology.

    If the camera-based pairing isn’t working for any reason, you can tap the “i” button on the watch to bring up a six-digit code, which you can enter on your iPhone to pair the two devices together.

  6. Step 3: Choose your wrist preference, and press a bunch of buttons

    Next, you’ll need to choose your wrist preference, right or left. The Apple Watch works on either.

    After that, you’ll need to accept the Terms of Service, which you are obviously not going to read in full. Take a drink from your beverage of choice instead. You’ll also need to register your Apple Watch with Apple via your Apple ID during this process. Next, you will see a series of setup notices for Location Services, Siri, and Diagnostics. The Watch pulls the settings for each of these from your iPhone. So if you have Location turned on for your iPhone, it will be available to the Watch. Ditto for the rest.

  7. Step 4: Set up security, and choose your watch apps

    Now, Apple will ask you to set up a numeric passcode on your watch. Do that, and when it asks you if you’d like to unlock your watch with your phone, say yes. What all this means is that so long as your Watch is on your wrist, it will stay unlocked. If you take it off, you’ll need to enter the passcode to use it. When it’s on your wrist, unlocking your phone just once will also unlock the watch.

    The last option you’ll see offers to pre-install apps on your Watch as a comprehensive batch, instead of making you do it one by one. This is up to you, but having a bunch of apps on the Watch doesn’t seem to harm anything, so you may as well let it install them all.

    Right now, Watch apps are just little extensions of the apps that are already installed on your phone, so there’s a very good chance you have a bunch of them already! You will manage what is and isn’t installed on your watch in a later step via the iPhone’s Watch app.

  8. Step 5: Wait

    This next step takes a good while. The Watch needs to get a lot of information and apps. You’ll see a radial progress indicator around an Apple logo. Edition users: by now your wine has breathed long enough and you should feel free to partake. Don’t overdo it, though; that’s a mighty fine wine you’ve got there, and you should respect the time and effort that went into it.

    Note that after the progress indicator has finished, the Watch may still be syncing some data or apps over from your iPhone. It may be a little slower than you expect during the first minutes of use because of that.

    1. Step 6: Set up a watch face

    2. Congratulations! If you really wanted to, you could stop now and just see how you feel about the Apple Watch and its multivarious zones and interaction models. Our full review has the details on what happens in the watch face, apps, glances, and notifications. But if you want to have your Watch feel better, the truth is you’re really only a little less than halfway done.
    3. But you deserve a break, and we recommend you kick back and mess around with some watch faces. Here’s how:
    1. 1. If you’re not already on the watch face, press the digital crown until you are. You might need to press more than once, but don’t hold it down (that’s Siri), and don’t press too fast (double-clicking the Crown switches to your last-used app).
    2. 2. Now, Force Touch the watch face. A Force Touch is, as the name implies, pressing harder down on the glass than just tapping. You’ll know it’s working when the watch face shrinks.
    3. 3. Swipe left and right until you find the watch face you want.
    4. 4. If you’re happy with it as is, just tap the watch face to choose it.
    5. 5. If you’d like to customize it, tap the customize button at the bottom.
      • a. Now, you’ll see the watch face big, but with an outline and a few of dots at the top.
      • b. The basic interaction goes like this: the main screen lets you change the global settings for the watch face. That could be the color, or picking between a jellyfish and a flower, or choosing the scale on the chronograph. You can then swipe left or right to go to more settings screens.
      • c. On each of these screens, you change options by rolling the digital crown. We’ve found that using one finger to roll the crown is more comfortable than trying to twist it with two fingers. For some of the elements (they’re called “complications”) on more-customizable faces, you might need to tap on an option before rolling the crown.
      • d. This sounds complicated, and it is — at first — but you’ll eventually “get” the interplay between screen taps, force touches, and rolling the digital crown.

 

  1. Step 7: Dive into your settings

    Like your iPhone, your Apple Watch has a huge array of settings to go through. You can adjust some of them on the Watch itself in its settings app, but it’s faster and easier to just do most of this on your iPhone — the settings sync over quickly.

    The settings are split into a few sections, with general stuff at the top and app-by-app settings underneath. There are a ton of settings! Just spend some time navigating around to see if there’s anything you’d like to change, but for most of these you can probably live with the defaults.

    We would recommend at least looking at Sounds & Haptics. That’s where you set how loudly your Watch beeps when you get a notification (suggestion: don’t let it beep at all). You can also set the strength of the haptics, which is how hard the watch taps you when you get an alert. Most of us have found that the max setting is best. And if you still can’t feel it, you can turn on “Prominent Haptics,” which does exactly what it says: it makes your watch really vibrate a lot just before the regular tap when you get a notification.

  2. Step 8: Set up Apple Pay

    You can use Apple Pay on your Watch by double-clicking the main button, but it’s not set up with your card out of the box. To set it up, head on down to the app settings for Passbook & Apple Pay on your phone’s Apple Watch app.

    Here, you’ll find one of the many places where you have the option to “Mirror my iPhone,” which means the cards you see on the phone also show up on your Watch. That doesn’t apply to credit cards, though. You’ll need to tap “Add Credit or Debit Card” to get one activated and approved for use from your Watch.

    When you want to pay, just double-click that button. The Watch will only let you pay after it’s been attached to your wrist and you’ve unlocked your iPhone with TouchID, so random people shouldn’t be able to pay for stuff with your Watch. (The Watch doesn’t know whose wrist it’s on, though: if someone else puts it on and you unlock your phone, they’ll be able to pay with your card. But why is someone else wearing your Watch?)

  3. Step 9: Set up Activity app

    Apple has a few systems built into the Apple Watch for tracking your health. There’s a Workout app and a heart rate monitor for exercise, but the one that you’ll probably like the most is the Activity app. It tracks your steps and general activity level with three daily meters: movement, exercise, and time spent standing. It can also pester you to stand up from time to time, which is helpful!

    But it doesn’t do all that until you’ve set up the Activity app. Some people may have good reason not to turn it on, but for most it’s a nice little way to make sure you’re not being too lazy. So to set it up, open the app up (Hooray, your first Watch app!) on the Watch. To do it, click the Digital Crown until you’re looking at your app grid, an array of circular icons set out in a honeycomb pattern. Pan around until you see the Activity app; it looks like three concentric circles. Once you do, you’ll also have the Activity app show up on your iPhone.

    Tap through all the details on the watch screen. If you want, some watch faces can let you add your activity meter as a complication.

    Lastly, if you want you can enter in your body info into the Health section of the preferences app, if that’s something you want to track.

  4. Step 10: Take a break to watch this cat video

    There are a few more steps left, and they’re all going to require you to make some tough decisions, so you will want to build up a reserve of gumption. Plus, you’ve done a lot already! You’ve earned it!

  5. Step 11: Customize your notifications

    Better? Good, now it’s time to go back to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and drill into notifications. By default, everything that notifies you on your iPhone will also notify you on your Watch. But if you’re anything like me (or most people), you probably haven’t done much clean-up of what gets to notify you on your phone. That “Your Turn” notification from Words with Friends might not be that bothersome on your phone, but on your Watch is can be super annoying.

    So go through that section of the Watch app and turn off anything you don’t want to see on your wrist. It’ll still be on your phone. Apple Apps that have Watch-specific settings are at the top, mirroring options underneath. You can also choose whether you’d like a red dot as a missed notifications indicator.

    Read more: How to save your iPhone and Apple Watch from notification hell

 

  1. Step 12: Set up some music and Bluetooth headphones

  2. The Apple Watch can work without your iPhone right there for a few things, including playing music for your workout. But to do it, you’ll have to head into iTunes or the Music app on your phone to sync some music over to the Watch (sorry, Spotify users). Set up a playlist, then find the settings for Music in the Watch app on your iPhone, and that’s where you pick your playlist. You’re doing this now because it takes a little while for the music to sync, and it needs to be sitting on the charger for it to happen.
  3. Obviously, the Watch doesn’t have a headphone jack, so you’ll need a set of Bluetooth headphones to listen to music without your iPhone present. If you’ve got ‘em, go into the Watch’s settings and pair your Bluetooth headphones there.
  4. Step 13: Choose and organize your Glances

    Glances, you might recall, are the small info screens you access by swiping up from the watch face. There are a lot of them, and having to swipe through stuff you absolutely don’t care about to access stuff that you do care about is annoying. The best way to do that is from the Glances setting in the app. It works basically the same way as the organization page for Notification Center. You can reorder glances or hit the minus button to take them off your watch.

    By the way, you can also toggle Glances inside each app’s main settings page. Scroll down on the main screen of the Watch app, where all the installed apps are listed. If you tap on each one, you’ll find another notification option here and also, with many of them, the option to toggle a “Glance.”

  5. Step 14: Organize your apps and set preferences

    Apps on the Apple Watch are organized in a honeycomb pattern. The Watch is the “main” app, and it will always be at the center. You can roll the Digital Crown to zoom in to sections of your grid, or pan around to tap the one you want. But chances are there are only a few apps you will want to use all the time, so you might as well place them near the center. To do it, go into the App Layout of the Watch app on your iPhone and drag them around with a long-press.

    You can also head back to the main screen and poke around the individual settings for the main Apple apps. One app that would be good to tweak: Mail. That’s where you decide which mail alerts will come to your wrist.

    Almost done!

  6. Step 15: Set up your Contacts

    The penultimate step! By now, your contacts should all be synced over to the phone. You can access your favorites by pressing the button on the side of the Watch, then use the digital crown to scroll through them. By default, the Watch puts the people you’ve already marked as favorites here. But if you’d like a different set of folks on your Watch, you can change that in the iPhone’s Watch app.

  7. Step 16: Get up offa that thing

    That’s it! There still might be some data syncing over to the Apple Watch, so don’t panic if it feels a little laggy at first. It does get better once the sync is complete, but as we mentioned in our review, it will always have some load times for apps and glances.

    There’s still more you could do, if you wanted. Apple has a whole section for Watch apps if you want to poke around in its store. You can find Apple’s favorites in the Featured tab of the Watch App on your iPhone — and here are our favorite Watch apps. If you know somebody with an Apple Watch, you can send them heartbeats and drawings. Say “Hey Siri” at it to do Siri things. Mess around with a few watch faces again.

    But really, you’ve been sitting for a while, and at some point the Apple Watch is going to tell you that it would be a good idea to stand up. You may as well; that Activity Meter isn’t going to fill itself. Congrats on your new watch!

Sherif Mktbi shared The Verge link on FB

Did you get your Apple Watch today?

Set up your Apple Watch in 16 steps.
We’re here to help. This article explains the major steps you will need to go through to set up and understand your new Apple Watch.
theverge.com|By Dieter Bohn

 

Reviewing the Apple Watch: After a week of wearing it:  The Verge score 7

The Apple Watch is an extraordinarily small and personal device.

It is designed to participate in nearly every moment of your day, but almost never directly interact with anyone else. It knows when you’re wearing it. You can talk to it. You can poke it — and it can poke back.

Every so often, the Apple Watch thinks about your heartbeat.

But the Apple Watch is also an enormous device.

It’s the first entirely new Apple product in 5 years, and the first Apple product developed after the death of Steve Jobs.

It’s full of new hardware, new software, and entirely new ideas about how the worlds of fashion and technology should intersect.

It’s also the first smartwatch that might legitimately become a mainstream product, even as competitors flood the market.

Apple has the marketing prowess, the retail store network, and the sheer determination to actually make this thing happen.

It just has to answer one question: would you actually use the Apple Watch instead of your phone?

Let’s just get this out of the way: the Apple Watch, as I reviewed it for the past week and a half, is kind of slow.

There’s no getting around it, no way to talk about all of its interface ideas and obvious potential and hints of genius without noting that sometimes it stutters loading notifications.

Sometimes pulling location information and data from your iPhone over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi takes a long time.

Sometimes apps take forever to load, and sometimes third-party apps never really load at all.

Sometimes it’s just unresponsive for a few seconds while it thinks and then it comes back.

Apple tells me that upcoming software updates will address these performance issues, but for right now, they’re there, and they’re what I’ve been thinking about every morning as I get ready for work.

Wearing a smartwatch like the Apple Watch is a far deeper commitment than carrying a smartphone in your pocket; you are literally putting the technology on your body and allowing it to touch and measure you while you display it to the rest of the world.

Committing to technology that’s a little slow to respond to you is dicey at best, especially when it’s supposed to step in for your phone.

If the Watch is slow, I’m going to pull out my phone. But if I keep pulling out my phone, I’ll never use the Watch. So I have resolved to wait it out.

I’m putting my phone in my pocket and this Watch on my wrist, and we’re taking this trip together.

These mornings have been full of self-reflection, moody contemplation as I gather my screens of all sizes and pack them in a bag, work alerts flashing across an array of devices that are all less important than my phone.

I love my phone. Everyone loves their phone.

The only real question a smartwatch like the Apple Watch needs to answer is “why would I use this instead of my phone?”

The answers so far haven’t been apparent; the Watch seems like it can do a little bit of everything instead of one thing really well.

So I’m putting my phone in my pocket and this Watch on my wrist, and we’re taking this trip together.

We are going to need more coffee.

As an object, it makes sense that the Watch is not nearly as cold and minimal as Apple’s recent phones and tablets and laptops.

It has to be warmer, cozier. It has to invite you to touch it and take it with you all the time.

Take the bands off and it’s a little miracle of technology and engineering and manufacturing, a dense package containing more sensors and processing power than anyone could have even dreamed a few decades ago.

It’s a supercomputer on your wrist, but it’s also a bulbous, friendly little thing, far more round than I expected, recalling nothing quite so much as the first-generation iPhone.

It is unbelievably high tech and a little bit silly, a masterpiece of engineering with a Mickey Mouse face. It is quintessentially Apple.

It’s also surprisingly heavy. I noticed when I was wearing it, and everyone who held it commented on the weight.

That might simply be a function of how unfamiliar watches have become; my stainless steel Apple Watch with leather loop band weighs 2.9 ounces, which is more than my plastic Nixon’s 1.7 ounces or the 1.8-ounce Moto 360, but much less than my 5-ounce Baume and Mercier.

All in all, the Apple Watch isn’t light enough to fade away, but it’s also not so heavy that it’s a distraction.

On the right side of the Watch you’ll find the Digital Crown scroll wheel and a dedicated button (the official name is just “side button”) that opens your favorite list with one tap and activates Apple Pay with two taps. This side button is extraordinarily confusing — it looks and feels so much like an iPhone sleep / wake button that I still hit it to turn the screen on and off, even though I know I’m doing the wrong thing.

On the back of the Watch, there’s a slight dome that holds the optical heart rate sensor and the inductive charging system.

You’ll also find a pair of buttons that release the watchbands. They’re flush with the case but relatively easy to depress, and the bands slide right out. You can make the Watch work in basically any orientation you’d like by flipping the screen with a setting in the iPhone app — a boon for the left-handed. It’s a fairly simple system, so expect to see tons of third-party Watch bands; Apple says it has no problem with that.

 
Apple Pay is my favorite feature on the Watch.

Apple gave me three bands to play with: the leather loop, the Milanese loop, and the white sport band.

I mostly stuck with the leather loop, which feels more like plastic than leather but which I found super comfortable because it was so easy to readjust throughout the day. The white sport band basically felt like any other plastic band I’ve worn. I felt ridiculous wearing the Milanese Loop, so I didn’t.

The face of the Watch curves up off the sides, leaving a noticeable air gap above the display underneath. But besides that small complaint, the display is simply terrific. It carries the same Retina branding as the iPhone display and it delivers, with imperceptible pixels and inky blacks that allow the screen to blend right into the curved sides of the glass.

It’s easily the best smartwatch display on the market, and it would be unassailable if not for the air gap. It’s light-years beyond everything else.

 
The back of the Watch is arguably more beautiful than the front.

On Your Wrist

Once you actually start living with the Watch, it quickly becomes clear that there are 3 main ways to actually use the thing: the watch face, the app launcher, and the communications app.

Apple is insistent that one of the main functions of the Watch is simply to be a great watch, so when you raise your wrist, you’ll see the time by default, just like a regular watch.

The lone exception out of the box is the workout app, which Apple says is “sticky” so people can check their exercise stats quickly at the gym.

In the first of many moments where the Watch felt underpowered, I found that the screen lit up a couple of ticks too slowly: I’d raise my wrist, wait a beat, and then the screen would turn on.

This sounds like a minor quibble, but in the context of a watch you’re glancing at dozens of times a day, it’s quickly distracting. Other smartwatches like the Pebble and the LG G Watch R simply leave their screens on all the time; having a screen that constantly flips on and off is definitely behind the curve.

Telling Time

The main watch face really is a complete self-contained experience: if the Apple Watch had no other functionality except for what you can do from the watch face, it would still be competitive.

Customizing the watch Face is the first time you’ll use Force Touch: you push a little bit harder on the screen, and you can swipe between Apple’s selection of watch face templates, each of which can be customized and saved as individual variations.

Most of the templates are minor riffs on the same basic analog watch, but others are very strange indeed, like the animated butterfly and jellyfish.

There’s no particularly great digital face, and there’s no ability to load up your own watch faces or buy new ones from the store, which is a clearly missed opportunity.

If the Apple Watch had no other functionality except for what you can do from the watch face, it would still be competitive.

The Watch app is literally the most central experience on the Watch — you can rearrange every app icon on the homescreen except the Watch icon, which is always in the middle. What’s fascinating and somewhat confusing is that so many of the Watch’s core abilities are only in the Watch app, so interface ideas you learn there don’t work anywhere else.

For example, the Watch app is the only place to access notifications after they appear. Notifications are the most important part of any smartwatch experience, but on the Apple Watch you can only swipe down to see your notifications when you’re on the watch face.

Once you click the Digital Crown and open the app launcher, the notification drawer goes away entirely and swiping down does nothing. Same with Glances, which are essentially single-screen status updates from various apps you access by swiping up from the Watch app.

They’re a major piece of the Watch experience, but they disappear everywhere else in the operating system. These are radically different interface patterns than iOS, where you can access the notification center and control center from virtually everywhere, and it makes navigating the Watch interface more confusing until you get it.

The Law of Wearable Success

In order to be successful, any given piece of wearable technology has to be useful the entire time it’s on your body.

Prescription glasses sit on your face, but improve your vision all the time, so they’re successful.

Sunglasses sit on your face and make you look cooler all the time, so they’re successful.

Google Glass sits on your face, but mostly does nothing, so it’s a failure. It’s a simple formula.

Understanding that the Watch app is an entire primary experience unto itself is the key to understanding what happens when you press either of the buttons on the side of the Watch — they launch the other two main Watch experiences.

Pressing the side button takes you to a totally unique contacts screen, which is where you send the ephemeral Digital Touch messages. Clicking the Digital Crown on the watch face opens the honeycomb app launcher, which is where you can open the various other apps on the Watch.

All of this sounds complex, but you’re not really supposed to use it all at once — the aim is for the Watch to shine in 10- 15-second burst throughout the day, not in extended usage sessions. And that was borne out every morning, because I didn’t have any reason to wear the Watch until I left the house.

I was half-hoping to put on the Watch in the morning and use it instead of my phone, but that didn’t happen.

I grab my phone first thing in the morning and use it nonstop to prepare for the day: I organize my calendar, catch up on The Verge, check Twitter, and bang out replies on Slack and email.

None of this is even possible to do on the Watch.

Apple spent tons of effort and millions of dollars promoting the iPad as a business and creation platform instead of just a consumption machine, but there’s no fighting the tiny display and limited input options of the Watch — this thing is all about quickly glancing at information, not really doing anything with it.

It becomes far more valuable once you’re on the move.

It turns out that I’ve gotten really good at using my phone with one hand while I walk to the train. I’m really good at looking at notifications come in on my phone screen and dismissing them with my thumb, or pressing the volume buttons to turn up the music, or even sending a quick text message with one thumb. I can even do some of that without looking very carefully at what I’m doing, since there’s muscle memory involved.

But you simply can’t one-hand the Apple Watch. It’s the simplest thing, but it’s true: because it’s a tiny screen with a tiny control wheel strapped to your wrist, you have to use both hands to use it, and you have to actually look at it to make sure you’re hitting the right parts of the screen.

You have to carry your coffee cup in your other hand if you’re not interested in spilling on yourself. If you’re like me and you refuse to use both backpack straps so you can be a One Strap Cool Guy, this means your bag will sometimes fall off your shoulder while you screw with your smartwatch, and you will be a No Straps Smartwatch Guy Murdered By NYC Traffic.

Please do not die this way.

The Watch made it a lot easier to keep my phone in my pocket on the walk to the train.

Of course, you can’t one-hand any smartwatch; that’s just part of the deal. But no other smartwatch has this much going on — the Apple Watch literally has buttons and knobs — and no other smartwatch has so many lightly concealed designs on one day becoming a platform as powerful as your phone.

If the existential question for the Apple Watch is “why would I use this instead of my phone?” then the answer almost always has to involve “because it’s more convenient.” That’s sometimes true of the Apple Watch, and sometimes not.

 
The white sport band is pretty comfortable.

But when it’s more convenient, it’s far more convenient.

I usually spend most of my commute to work with my phone in my hand — listening to music and checking messages as I walk to the train, and reading saved articles on the subway.

The Watch made it a lot easier to keep my phone in my pocket on the walk to the train — I saw notifications coming in on my wrist, and I could control the music apps on my iPhone from the Now Playing Glance on the Watch. The Watch also started tracking my steps and logging my movement into the Activity app, for a pleasant morning jolt of gamified living. So far, so good. But there’s more work to be done here.

Notifications

Notifications on the Apple Watch work pretty much just like notifications on any other smartwatch: you feel a buzz, you look at your wrist, and it shows you some information.

Apple’s big trick with the Watch is dramatically improved buzzing with what it calls the “Taptic Engine.”

It’s a haptic feedback system that feels wildly different from the fuzzy, cumbersome vibrations of other devices. Apple’s Taptics are more like the Watch tapping your wrist. The taps can come in different patterns and strengths; Apple says the Taptic Engine plays a vibration waveform related to the audio waveform of associated notification sound. Imagine a set of stereo speakers, but the right channel is insistently poking you along with the music.

I muted the sounds. Is there any way to be a worse person than having high-pitched dings alert everyone that you’re about to look at your watch?

If anything, Apple has been underselling the Taptic Engine, and I sort of understand why — you have to feel it to get just how different and powerful of an idea it is.

But it’s also pretty clear that taptics on the Watch are only the first half of a brilliant idea. There are a ton of missing pieces that need to get filled in before the Taptic Engine lives up to its potential.

It’s also pretty clear that taptics on the Watch are only the first half of a brilliant idea.

First, the Taptic notifications are fairly weak and fairly short — if the audio alert is a beep, you’ll get one insistent poke and that’s it. They’re easy to miss.

To counter this, Apple’s built a setting called “prominent haptics,” which basically revs the engine at full speed like a more traditional vibration to get your attention before playing the far more subtle Taptic notification. It’s the haptic equivalent of having an assistant blow a reggaeton horn before discreetly handing you a note in a meeting.

But the biggest missed opportunity is that there’s no way to customize the notification sounds and Taptics on the Watch. I couldn’t set a different alert for messages than for mail or calendar invites; they all just sort of felt the same.

Without this ability, the Taptic Engine is just a small improvement over existing smartwatches. Let me create and set my own notifications, and it’s a revolution.

Getting notifications on the way to work also highlighted a key issue that the Apple Watch shares with Google’s Android Wear: you have to be really bought into a single ecosystem for everything to work well out of the box.

If you’re not a believer in all of Apple’s apps and services, the Apple Watch is going to be a little frustrating until developers build more support for it.

For example, it’s easy to send iMessages from the Watch, but there’s no way to use WhatsApp or Hangouts.

I spend a huge part of my day in Slack; it’s somewhat useful to know people are mentioning you in a chat room because of taps on your wrist, but it would be much better if you could actually do something about it. There’s a lot of work left to be done here.

You customize which notifications you receive in the Apple Watch app on your phone, which is a complicated affair. There’s not a lot of intelligence or customization: apps that have been updated to support the Watch will let you either mirror your iPhone or set up Watch-specific settings, while older apps just let you turn notifications on and off.

There’s no master switch to turn all notifications on and off, which is a huge pain. Like every smartwatch vendor, Apple needs to put a lot more thought into which notifications it’s showing you and why.

Music

I’ll just be super blunt about the music app on the Apple Watch: it’s not as good as wearing an old iPod nano on your wrist.

Remember when turning sixth-generation iPods into watches was a thing? That nano did a great job of displaying a lot of music information on a tiny screen, and the Apple Watch does not.

Song and album titles get cut off in lists and on the Now Playing Screen, album art isn’t as big, there’s no ability to sync podcasts, and on and on.

It does a fine job of controlling an iPhone, but as a dedicated music player it leaves a lot to be desired.

Glances

Glances also feel like they have enormous untapped potential.

A Glance is just a status screen for an app on your phone, much like the app widgets on the Today screen of an iPhone. You swipe up from the bottom of the watch face to access Glances, and then swipe horizontally through the Glances you have installed.

Apple says Glances are “real time,” but they’re not — opening a Glance kicks off an update cycle, which usually means it’s pulling data from your phone. The updates don’t take long — unless the Watch is trying to grab your location, which always takes forever — but the delay means you can’t just bang through Glances to see everything that’s going on.

The Twitter Glance is set to display top trends, but by the time it loads I could have pulled out my phone.

Transit is set to show me the nearest mass transit options, but it takes so long to find my location I… could have just pulled out my phone. This is a theme.

If you don’t have Bluetooth headphones connected, picking a song stored locally on the Apple Watch kicks off playback on your iPhone. Clever!

All of this will presumably get solved, of course — third parties just have to build in support for the Watch and figure out how to best use these features.

But that will take time, and the Watch needs to sell in numbers that will justify that investment for the long tail of apps. And there’s a real chance the solution is just a faster processor that uses less power in next year’s Watch. Moore’s Law tends to solve a lot of problems like that.

Apple Pay

But when all those pieces fall into place, it’s incredible. Apple Pay is my favorite part of the entire Watch, a little blast from the future.

Paying for coffee at The Café Grind in Manhattan involved nothing more than double-clicking the communications button on the Watch and holding my wrist over the terminal; it beeped and the payment processed instantly.

Paying with the Watch is even faster than paying with an iPhone, since it doesn’t have to read your fingerprint: it’s ready to go anytime after you put it on your wrist and unlock your phone with your fingerprint.

I love using Apple Pay with my phone, but it’s even better with the Watch, some mild contortions to line it up with payment terminals aside. (facilitating payment. How could we facilitate income?)

Apple Pay remains a shining example of what Apple is able to do when it has complete control over hardware, software, and services.

I’m really eager for The Verge to collaborate more with Racked, our sister site that covers fashion and shopping.

Ultimately both of our sites are about trends and consumerism, and the crossover from fashion into tech and back again is definitely real — that’s what the Apple Watch is all about. So I hijacked a meeting to talk about potential crossover ideas and talked about the Watch with Izzy Grinspan, Nicola Fumo, Julia Rubin, and Callia Hargrove instead.

What’s most interesting to me about their reaction to the Watch as a hardware object is how much it still comes off as a gadget, despite Apple’s best efforts to make it a luxury item.

It’s still a screen; it’s still a bunch of radios; it’s still technology.

They were hyper-critical of the materials and finishes, particularly the leather loop, and it was incredibly obvious that while a little bit of design goes a long way in the tech world, it’s going to take a lot more time and a lot more work to play in the fashion game.

Around lunchtime, I’m usually running around the office at full speed: quick story updates, watching videos we have in the works, calls with our editors in other locations, talking to other teams around the company on projects we’re doing together.

I generally leave my laptop at my desk and try not to look at my phone while I do this so I can focus on the people I’m talking to, but that also means I’m ignoring a bunch of other people who are sending me notes.

The Watch helps with this — as long as you’re using Apple’s messaging apps, it lets you send quick messages and replies right from your wrist.

Texting and iMessage are the easiest to use, since that’s the most universal network the Watch is connected to: you reply to texts using canned replies, dicate a message with Siri, or send emojis.

The canned choices are supposed to be smart: the Watch reads your texts and tries to figure out appropriate replies automatically.

Unfortunately, this only seems to work well if the people texting you write complete questions with the answers embedded, like they’re defense attorneys leading an aggressive cross-examination of a hostile witness. “Do you want Mexican or Chinese for dinner?” will trigger useful smart replies, but if you mostly text with vague lolspeakers like me, you’re going to get a bunch of suggestions that make it seem like you’re pushing off real answers because you’re busy cheating on your wife.

Happily, you can change the defaults.

Siri

You can also dictate a message with Siri, but Siri on the Watch suffers from the same performance-related issues as everything else that requires a data connection to your phone and can be a little slow to respond.

It’s also extremely susceptible to background noise: I tried to text a friend in the office, and Siri picked up Sam Sheffer’s voice from across the room.

In a coffee shop, it was thwarted by the background music. I also never really got the raise-your-wrist-and-say-Hey-Siri move to work, mostly because it only really works after the screen flips on, and the screen delay wrecked my timing.

When Siri did work, it was for the small stuff Siri is generally good at, like converting units in the kitchen or setting a timer. Anything more complicated generally resulted in Siri prompting me to use my iPhone.

Emojis

You can also send emojis to people using the Watch, which is a decidedly mixed affair.

Picking the emoji selector opens a four-panel interface, with a long list of the standard emoji on the fourth screen.

The first 3 screens are Apple’s own custom emoji, and they are… well, they’re super creepy. You’ve got a smiley face, a heart that explodes into other hearts, and what appears to be the disembodied hand of a mime, and you use the Digital Crown to smoothly transition these figures between their various states of emotional distress.

These are the thirstiest emoji in history. I keep sending people a crying smiley face with its tongue hanging out just to see who my real friends are and who will call the police.

A selection of passive-aggressive smart replies:

  • I’m on my way
  • Sorry, I can’t talk right now
  • Can I call you later?
  • Talk later?
  • Can’t talk now…
  • Hold on a sec
  • Call you soon
  • Text you in a bit

I don’t know why Apple picked just these three emoji things, or if there will be more, but I do know they are super weird, and render as animated GIFs when you send them. Super weird animated GIFs that look like Facebook stickers.

Digital Touch

Lastly, there’s Digital Touch, which Apple has been promoting as a key communication feature of the Watch. There’s no icon for Digital Touch on the homescreen, though.

The only way to access it is to click the side button to open the favorites screen, then pick a friend who has an Apple Watch.

Digital Touch will show up under their name as a small finger icon. You can send taps, draw small pictures, and the thumps of your heartbeat by holding two fingers on the screen for a few seconds.

There’s no send button — you just do whatever you’re going to do, and the messages fly off into the ether.

Digital Touch is remarkably small-time.

But here’s the thing — it doesn’t happen in real time. I had assumed that sending a heartbeat meant that my recipient would just start feeling my heart on their wrist like some sort of cosmic love connection, but that’s not how it works.

Instead, you get a regular notification which sends you into the Digital Touch canvas, where the message plays back: the taps come through, the drawings draw themselves, the heartbeats beat. A small button in the upper right fast-forwards to the end if you’re impatient, and when the message is done playing, it’s gone forever, Snapchat-style. Poof.

It’s all remarkably small-time. It’s cute, but it’s a weird thing to hype as much as it’s been hyped, especially because it has such a deep network effect problem — it’s only useful if you know other people with Apple Watches. An extension of Digital Touch into iOS proper seems inevitable, especially if the next iPhone picks up the Taptic Engine. But for now, it’s a cool demo and not much more.

There’s no doubt that being able to send quick replies from your wrist is a powerful idea; it’s the stuff of science fiction legend, and every smartwatch has to be able to do it.

But the Apple Watch is just the first step towards making that reality. It’s not anywhere close to being an actually-powerful communications tool, especially not when it’s competing with the phone in your pocket.

Mobile phones are among the most revolutionary communications tools in modern history, and it’s going to take a lot more than a lonely mime flashing a peace sign and a few heartbeats to meaningfully extend their capabilities.

It’s well after lunch. I’ve had this thing on my wrist for something like six hours now, and the truth is that I’ve barely used it.

That’s by design: again, you’re only supposed to interact with the Apple Watch for 10 to 15 seconds at a time and then get back to your life.

On one level, that all makes perfect sense: my regular watch has had a dead battery for over a year. I don’t exactly use it for anything except looking cool.

How much am I really supposed to use the Apple Watch to make it worth whatever price I’ve paid for it?

On another level, everything about the Watch is designed to reinforce the idea that you have some sort of real life to return to once you’re done using technology — that you’re not just sitting at a desk in your office with your laptop and your phone, getting work done.

That’s the situation I’m in most afternoons — meetings have wrapped up, decisions have been made, and I’m catching up on email, editing, reading the site, and generally setting up the next set of things I have to do.

I’m as plugged into the internet as I can possibly be, using my phone and my laptop for slightly different variations of the same task: communicating with people.

This is where the Watch’s lack of speed comes to the forefront — there’s virtually nothing I can’t do faster or better with access to a laptop or a phone except perhaps check the time.

It’s not just the small screen or the quick in-and-out interaction design, it’s actual slowness, particularly when it comes to loading data off the phone.

Third-party apps are the main issue: Apple says it’s still working on making them faster ahead of the April 24th launch, but it’s clear that loading an app requires the Watch to pull a tremendous amount of data from the phone, and there’s nothing fast about it.

I sat through a number of interminable loading screens for apps like CNN, Twitter, The New York Times, and others.

Apps that need to pull location data fare even worse: the Uber app takes so long to figure out where you are that you’re better off walking home before someone notices you staring at your $700 Watch and makes a move.

What good is a Watch that makes you wait?

This first set of Watch apps is really just loading additional screens from the apps on your phone; you might think of all of them as remote controls for your phone apps.

True native apps are coming to the Watch later on, and I assume they’ll be faster. That’s a big deal: without a rich set of apps that extend the phone, it really is just another smartwatch.

But right now, it’s disappointing to see the Watch struggle with performance.

What good is a watch that makes you wait?

Rendering notifications can slow everything down to a crawl. Buttons can take a couple taps to register.

It feels like the Apple Watch has been deliberately pulled back in order to guarantee a full day of battery life. Improving performance is Apple’s biggest challenge with the Watch, and it’s clear that the company knows it.

Apple’s done an awful lot of work to position the Watch as a fitness device — in many ways, it’s the only thing it can do that an iPhone can’t do.

With a built-in heart rate monitor, an accelerometer, and the advantage of always being on your wrist, the Watch feels like it should be the ultimate fitness wearable, a tiny supercomputer to put all those Fitbits and Ups to shame.

But like so much else with the Watch, while the fitness capabilities are the first steps towards what eventually might become a juggernaut, they’re nowhere near a complete solution.

The Watch’s health and fitness features are broken up across two apps: Activity and Workout.

The Activity app is beautiful, but extremely basic — it’s what monitors your movement. You can set goals for your calories burned, exercise, and standing, which are displayed as three concentric rings. Red is calories, green is exercise, and blue is standing. I’m not sure why standing is measured in “hours” — the Watch just bugs you to stand up for a couple minutes every hour, and that’s good enough.

It’ll also show you your steps and total distance, which is nice.

The Watch and phone work together to make it even more accurate.

All of this tracking worked fine while I was wearing the Watch, but there just wasn’t much else going on.

Unlike the Fitbit and other popular activity trackers, there’s no social component here to let you compete with your friends, and there’s no tracking of your calories burned against your weight or what you’re eating.

The data feeds into the iPhone’s Health database, so other apps could pull from there and give you these other features, but out of the box it’s just a very basic activity tracker.

The other health and fitness app is Workout, which offers you a series of presets geared towards various cardio workouts.

It’s not a huge list of choices: you’ve got indoor and outdoor walking and running, elliptical, cycling, stair steppers, rowing, and the catchall “other.”

Apple says these presets all trigger specialized algorithms that use the accelerometer and heart rate sensor in slightly different ways to capture extremely accurate data. If you’ve got your iPhone in your pocket, the Watch and phone will work together to calibrate accelerometer data against the phone GPS to make it even more accurate. Neat.

It’s definitely nice to have these presets built in, but again, it’s all pretty much table stakes.

There’s nothing that captures lifting weights, yoga, or other exercises that don’t either crank up your heart rate or trip the accelerometer with movement. You can use the “other” preset, which will always give you credit for a brisk walk even if the other sensors aren’t returning a ton of data, but it’s definitely not perfect.

And I found that the heart rate sensor struggled during my workouts, especially when I was really sweaty; it consistently measured about half my correct heart rate instead of my full 148bpm.

Again, Apple will surely improve all of this with software updates; it’s hard not to see them adding more workout types over time.

But out of the box right now, the Apple Watch is a very expensive, barebones fitness tracker.

It’s much nicer than its competitors — I used it with the white sport band and thought it was really quite striking — but it’s certainly not more full-featured.

After the gym, I head to Betony for drinks with Eater managing editor Sonia Chopra so we can talk about a future of food series for later in the year.

So far I’ve mostly used the Watch either alone or in an office environment, but it’s really different to have a smartwatch in a bar: here, even small distractions make you seem like a jerk.

Sonia’s trying to describe the project to me and find ways to work together, but I keep glancing at my wrist to see extremely unimportant emails fly by.

It turns out that checking your Watch over and over again is a gesture that carries a lot of cultural weight.

Eventually, Sonia asks me if I need to be somewhere else. We’re both embarrassed, and I’ve mostly just ignored everyone. This is a little too much future all at once.

By the end of each day, I was hyper-aware of how low the Apple Watch battery had gotten.

After one particularly heavy day of use, I hit 10% battery at 7pm, triggering a wave of anxiety. But most days were actually fine.

Apple had a big challenge getting a tiny computer like this to last a day, and it succeeded — even if that success seemingly comes at the expense of performance.

You only get a charging cable, which is lame. For $700, you should get a nice charging stand, like you get with the $249 Moto 360.

Apple makes a stand, but it only comes with the $10,000-and-up Apple Watch Edition models. Crazy.

But do you want another tiny computer in your life that you have to worry about and charge every day? That’s the real question of the Apple Watch.

Does it offer so much to you that you’re willing to deal with the hassles and idiosyncrasies of a new platform that is clearly still finding a true purpose?

The Apple Watch is one of the most ambitious products I’ve ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. But that ambition robs it of focus.

There’s no question that the Apple Watch is the most capable smartwatch available today. It is one of the most ambitious products I’ve ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology.

But that ambition robs it of focus: it can do tiny bits of everything, instead of a few things extraordinarily well.

For all of its technological marvel, the Apple Watch is still a smartwatch, and it’s not clear that anyone’s yet figured out what smartwatches are actually for.

If you are willing to go along on that journey, then you’ll enjoy the Apple Watch. It is a bauble, after all, and baubles delight simply by their presence.

Apple will update the software, and developers will make apps, and Google and Samsung and Microsoft will release competitors, and the people who love technology will have something to buy and argue about, talismans that display tribal affiliations.

But that’s technology as fashion; it’s not quite yet fashion itself. If you’re going to buy an Apple Watch, I’d recommend buying a Sport model; I wouldn’t spend money on how it looks until Apple completes the task of figuring out what it does.

Good Stuff

  • Easily the nicest smartwatch available
  • Platform has endless room to grow, especially with native apps
  • Taptic Engine is really cool

Bad Stuff

  • Performance issues, especially with apps and location services
  • Notifications need way more granular settings
  • Much more expensive than other smartwatches
  • Animated emojis are nightmare fuel
Sherif Mktbi  shared  The Verge link this April 10, 2015.

We spent a week wearing the Apple Watch to answer the question — should you buy it?

The Apple Watch is Apple’s first entirely-new product in five years.
I’ve been wearing one non-stop for a week trying to answer the question: is it worth buying?
theverge.com

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adonis49

adonis49

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