Apple Watch: Everything you need to know

The Apple Watch is a smartwatch developed by Apple Inc. It incorporates fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities with integration with iOS and other Apple products and services. The device is available in four variants: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Hermès, and Apple Watch Edition. The Watch is distinguished by different combinations of cases and first or third party interchangeable bands. Apple Watch relies on a wirelessly connected iPhone to perform many of its default functions such as calling and texting. It is compatible with the iPhone 5 or later models running iOS 8.2 or later, through the use of Bluetooth. Announced by Tim Cook on September 9, 2014, the device was available for pre-order on April 10 and began shipping on April 24, 2015. The Apple Watch quickly became the best-selling wearable device at the time, with the shipment of 4.2 million smartwatches in the second quarter of 2015.

Specifications

Design

The Apple Watch comes in four collections (Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Edition, and Apple Watch Hermès) and features two case sizes: 38 mm (1.5 in) and 42 mm (1.7 in). The case of the watch includes a mechanism to enable the straps to be interchangeable. For input, the watch includes a "digital crown", which can be turned to scroll or zoom and pressed to return to the home screen, and a touchscreen that features Force Touch technology, which makes it pressure-sensitive and capable of distinguishing between a tap and a press. The watch also has a side button which can be used to display a list of contacts, or access Apple Pay. Apple rates the device's battery for 18 hours of mixed usage. Apple Watch is charged by means of inductive charging, using a cable similar to the MagSafe cable from Apple's MacBook family of laptops. If the watch's battery depletes to less than 10 percent, the user is alerted and offered to enable a "power reserve" mode, which allows the user to continue to read the time for an additional 72 hours. The watch then reverts to its original mode when recharged.

Apple does not explicitly market Apple Watch as being waterproof, stating that it can withstand splashes of water (such as rain and hand washing), but does not recommend submersion (IPX7). However, external testing by The Iconfactory and others revealed that Apple Watch can function when submerged in various conditions (such as swimming), although its touchscreen experiences "erratic" behavior when submerged. Additionally, usage in water may void its warranty, constituting "damage caused by [use] outside Apple’s published guidelines", and apps taking advantage of this may not be allowed per App Store policies which forbid the publishing of apps that encourage users to use devices in ways that may damage them.[48][49]

Hardware

The Apple Watch uses the S1 system-on-chip. It does not have a built-in GPS chip. It uses a linear actuator called the "Taptic Engine" to provide haptic feedback when an alert or a notification is received, and is used for other purposes by certain apps. The watch is equipped with a built-in heart rate sensor, which uses both infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes. All versions of the Apple Watch have 8 GB of storage; the operating system allows the user to store up to 2 GB of music and 75 MB of photos. When the Apple Watch is paired with an iPhone, all music on that iPhone is also available from the Apple Watch.

Software

Apple Watch runs watchOS, whose interface is based around a home screen with circular app icons. The OS can be navigated using the touchscreen or the crown on the side of the watch. Apple Watch must be paired with an iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later; this version of iOS introduced the Apple Watch app, which is used to advertise Apple Watch, pair one with an iPhone, and customize settings and loaded apps.

It is capable of receiving notifications, messages, and phone calls via a paired iPhone. "Glances" allow users to swipe between pages containing widget-like displays of information. watchOS also supports Handoff to send content from Apple Watch to an iOS or OS X device, and act as a viewfinder for an iPhone camera,[45] Siri is also available for voice commands, although it is not capable of responding with voice prompts. Apple Watch also supports Apple Pay, and enables its use with older iPhone models that do not contain near-field communication (NFC) support.

Apple Watch's default apps are designed to interact with their iOS counterparts, such as e-mail, phone, Calendar, Messages, Maps, Music, Photos, Reminders, Remote (which can control iTunes and Apple TV), Stocks, and Wallet. Via the Fitness app, a user can track their physical activity and send data back to the iPhone for use in its Health app and other HealthKit-enabled software.

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