The Apple Watch which was announced back in September last year will go on sale in April, 2015. Ahead of the Apple Event ‘Spring Forward’ on March 9, more details are emerging about the most awaited Apple Watch.
According to 9to5Mac report, sources with hands-on experience with the Apple Watch has told them about a lot of new features which we would probably hear from Apple on March 9. The details are mostly on the health and fitness features, real world battery life, apps and usability of the Apple Watch.
Speed, Display and Sport Band
The Apple Watch feels very fast overall according to the people who have used it. It might be sporting the S1 chip which is used in the current iPod touch’s A5 chip. According to sources, the watch gets a bit sluggish when they used over 200 WatchKit applications on the Home screen. However, the average consumer will not install/use that many applications, so it should not be of major concern.
A designer who is quite an expert with mobile device screens has said the Apple Watch’s “screen is the best (smartwatch) screen I have ever seen,” and “it’s like vibrant digital paper, and does not look rendered,” with especially “great” black levels.
The smaller 38mm Apple Watch is “tiny” according to sources but will depend on users size. The Sport Band which is the default on the US $349 aluminium Apple Watch, is said to “take time” to get used to because it is little difficult to put on at first due to the pin-based closure system.
Power Reserve Mode / Battery Life
As we have reported earlier, Apple Watch won’t last more than 2.5-4 hours on heavy usage or in other words you would be required to charge it every night, to put it on your wrist, when you step out of your house the next morning. However, the latest reports say that Apple has improved the battery life to around 5 hours of heavy usage and the battery won’t die out in a single day of mixed usage. Since, it wouldn’t last two full days of usage, you would still have to charge it overnight.
Apple will reportedly address the battery issue with a new feature called “Power Reserve Mode”, according to The New York Times report. This would help shut down most of the features on the Apple Watch to prolong the battery life as much as possible. It can be activated by ‘Battery Glance’ which is accessible at any time or via the Settings application. The Battery Glance option will show us the percentage of battery left, amount of time since last full charge, and the most important large button which will activate ‘Power Reserve Mode’. The ‘PRM’ can be accessed even if the watch has 100% battery left. This mode will reportedly dim the display, will slow down the interaction between iPhone to an on-demand level, the display till switch off after every two seconds of inactivity.
Notification Center and Glances
The following Glances will be installed by default on the Apple Watch – Fitness Stats, Activity, Clock, Whether, Music, Quick Settings, Calendar, Maps, Heart Rate and Battery Life. The watch will come with full Notification Center like iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It can be accessed by a swipe down from the top of the display in any screen. The Developers can customize which notifications can show up in Notification Center and on the Apple Watch app icon specific to this view.
Heart Rate Glance
On the March 9 event, Apple will most likely talk about the Heart Rate Glance feature on the Apple Watch. The watch comes with a heart rate monitor on the back, which will allow the Heart Rate Glance to see the users’ heart beats per minute any time. We will be able to measure constantly updating BPM reading by tapping a button. According to the sources, its an instant process and the readings were “seemingly accurate.” In addition to the measuring feature, it can also be used to send other users their heart beat via communications features as demoed by Apple in September last year. The readings can obviously transferred to the Health application on the accompanying iPhone.
Onboard Storage and Music
Apple had already announced that the Apple Watch can store music which can be played while you’re away from the iPhone. Prototypes had 8GB of storage and it will likely ship with 8GB of storage only but there might be a surprise in store with a 16GB model. Reportedly, users will be able to specify individual songs, playlists and albums to be loaded on their Apple Watches via the Companion app on the iPhone. The watch can also stream music to external speakers or headphone over bluetooth.
Force Touch, Digital Crown + Voice Control
The Apple Watch will feature next-generation force-sensing touchscreen interface and sources are saying that, “the screen feels like a giant button that you just want to press in the manner needed for Force Touch.” It also “feels natural” in a small screen. The Digital Crown input is one of the most important aspects to use the watch as it does not have pinch to zoom feature and it will separate the Apple Watch from the smartwatches powered by Android Wear. There will be no keyboard on the watch. Most of the tasks are to carried out by pre-populated options and voice dictation.
Power Off, Force Quit and Settings
The Apple Watch does not come with a dedicated power button but can be turned off by long pressing the large “communication button” on the right side of the watch. After pressing the button, a confirmation slider will appear which is similar to ones found in iOS devices. You will also be able to Force Quit an unstable application by accessing the shut down screen and then quickly pressing the button on the right side. The Apple Watch will include a Settings application which will come with various toggles like Bluetooth and Airplane Mode. There will not be any dedicated Wi-Fi settings panel and most likely be controlled by the accompanying iPhone.
More Apple Watch details including pricing and availability is expected on the Apple Event “Spring Forward” along with refreshed MacBooks on Monday, March 9 at 10AM Pacific time (10:30 PM IST).