Tech Savvy: Apple Watch delivers on promise
Apple Watch 2 delivers on form, function and more than a little fun. My brother, ever the believer in waiting on a purchase, was convincing in his advice to wait for the watch's second edition. Others who took the plunge early have reported being...
Apple Watch 2 delivers on form, function and more than a little fun.
My brother, ever the believer in waiting on a purchase, was convincing in his advice to wait for the watch's second edition. Others who took the plunge early have reported being pleased with the purchase and there are plenty of ideas about what an Apple Watch 3 may bring, including complete independence from the phone. Waiting for the second edition turned out to be good advice.
Navigating the smartwatch functions was seamlessly simple.
The watch face comes to life with a lift of the arm or a tap on the screen. Swipe to the side and change the watch face from a sleek elegant single number to a view of the globe marked with the wearer's current location there, to Mickey Mouse or use a personal photo. Watch faces provide more than just a different look to fit different preferences or occasions. The different faces provide different on-screen icons to quickly link to whatever may be most important to the wearer-whether that is in the form of fitness trackers, a heartbeat sensor, event calendar, weather updates or more. Additional screens are available by sweeping up from the bottom or down from the top of the watch face to access email, messages, Twitter, or controls-such as engaging an airplane mode or to silence notifications.
The fitness tracker provides an incentive to complete circles related to movement throughout the day, with reminders to stand and get in daily exercise. An app also encourages a stress reducer by encouraging a moment to focus on a few deep breaths during the day. The watch keeps track of fitness goals and activity with an ability to go from the simple circles to more detailed statistics.
Battery life hasn't been an issue, although it hasn't been heavily tested yet with a long kayak outing or a bike ride where the GPS would be heavily used. The battery has lasted much longer than a single day with Apple reporting a more power efficient Apple Watch 2. Other reviews also indicate the watch has lasted easily for two days. Tracking fitness workouts and GPS will put a greater drain on battery life. One reviewer noted with Apple Watch 2 with a 63 percent charge dropped to 47 percent following a slow 45-minute run with music streaming and heart monitor running.
The setup includes using the iPhone to activate any desired apps for the watch and to input credit or debit cards for Apple Pay, so the watch can be used to make purchases with a touch of the button.
Misplace the phone, there is a pinger on the watch to help locate it in the couch cushions.
Benefits include keeping updated on messages without having a smartphone in hand every moment.
"Apple may have sold as many as 6 million Apple Watches during the December quarter, generating as much as $2.6 billion in revenue-and giving the company of almost 80 percent of smartwatch revenues during the period, new research suggests," Apple Insider reported this month. "... For 2016 overall, Apple is said to have taken 50 percent of the smartwatch market with 11.9 million units. Fitbit allegedly claimed 17 percent of the market-though it doesn't yet have a 'true' watch-while Samsung hit 15 percent. All other vendors managed a collective 19 percent."
Learning to operate the Apple Watch features is quite simple between swipes across the watch face and using the watch's crown to dial down for more information or access the watch apps.
The Apple Watch 2 has built-in GPS and is water resistant up to a depth of 164 feet or 50 meters. Through an ingenuous design, the watch speakers actually eschew water from the watch. While it pairs with my iPhone, the watch operates largely independently throughout the day. That means an ability to keep track of messages without always needing to have the phone in hand. Get a text? The watch's touch-screen's ability to decipher printing, quickly turns hand-drawn responses into typed text or uses pre-set frequent responses with one touch and then sends reply messages. Using the watch to place and receive phone calls is akin to stepping into the future. While it isn't necessary to bring the keep the watch face close to your mouth to speak and be heard, it's simply a fun concept to be able to talk to your wrist and make a phone call. While it's not quite the Jetson's life of flying cars, it feels like a step in that direction.
With several price points now available and discounted costs for the Apple Watch 1, which has many of the same features offered by the Apple Watch 2, the watch is even more accessible.
The watch harkens to what Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and long the face and vision of the company, understood so well. Technology is not just about what it can do but how it makes a human being feel.
The way a piece of technology does everything expected but offers a little bit more like incorporating a Mickey Mouse watch into a small, powerful smartwatch where Mickey keeps time by tapping his feet.
And there are the happy discoveries, like finding out Mickey Mouse also speaks when the watch face is tapped. "It's 10:30, good night pal."
Good night pal indeed, see you in the morning.