We got our paws on Apple’s first wearable and put it through its paces.
First of all, we can confirm that it is a watch… and it tells the time. Some of the time. If you dangle your arm by your side the screen switches off, leading to the question: ‘If an Apple Watch is on its own in a forest, does it still tell the time?’ Hmmm…
But, Apple being Apple, it tells time in a number of styles. The home-screen display can be set to a number of alternatives, such as this funky graphic showing which regions on the Earth are bathed in sunlight at the precise moment you glance at your wrist.
And this home-screen is reserved for those who are curious about the height of the sun in the sky at any given moment.
The Watch OS is accessed by a single click of the Digital Crown (the button on the side). This screen is a user’s path to the device’s on-board apps.
This screen gives access to some commonly used functions, such as ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Aeroplane Mode’.
Users scroll through contacts by turning the Digital Crown, as if they were winding the Watch. As a space-saving measure, the device displays each contact by their initials.
As part of putting the Watch through its paces, we discovered it also… measures your paces. Apple has its own out-of-the-box activity-monitoring tools, tracking distance travelled, heart rate and others. But the one pictured is a third-party download, Nike+.
Some third-party apps work better than others for the Watch. We found Instagram to be fully functional and a treat to use, whereas WhatsApp, for example, only gave notifications of new messages, which then had to be read on an iPhone.
The digital touch allows you to ‘tap’ fellow Apple Watch users on the wrist remotely. The feature will duplicate your rhythm across the miles, so if you both know Morse…
You can also send finger-scrawled sketches to other Watchers, such as this (ahem) noble work of impressionist subtlety.
The Watch can be configured and controlled from the iPhone, through a dedicated app. Most settings can be edited from the Watch itself, but some functionality is controlled with greater granularity on the companion handset.
But the marriage between wearable and smartphone works both ways. Here, we are taking control of the iPhone’s camera from the Watch.
The user can see a full preview of the capture area and take an instant shot, or set a delay so they can strike that pose.