Apple Watch review

In Apple Watch review, we can imagine that it is simply good, but better suited on the wrists of early adopters and boutique shop regulars. It’s convenient but there’s a learning curve you have to overcome and a high price that some people won’t be able to get around. Announced during the big Apple Event, the Apple Watch is being upgraded to watchOS 2 on September 16. New designs for a fall collection are available immediately. Gold and rose gold in ionized aluminum, new Sport bands that are priced the same as current models, a stainless steel Watch with red band and a Hermes strap with three design options round out the new styles. The sizes of the cases will stay at 38mm and 42mm.

The Apple Watch is ticking away on my wrist right now, and while it’s no longer called the iWatch, it really is “my watch” and Apple’s most personal gadget yet. The iPhone 5-and-up-compatible smartwatch comes in 38 flavors, with different case materials, colors, sizes and interchangeable Apple Watch bands. None are inexpensive. It starts at $349 (£299, AU$499) and peaks at an exorbitant $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000), meaning it’s for impatient early adopters and boutique store regulars. Apple’s vague sales numbers hint at just that.

But every iPhone owners who desperately wants a smartwatch should have this one on their wish list. By then, software update watchOS 2 launches to open up its Engine, Digital Crown, microphone and even more to developers. Apps should be better suited to function on your wrist by year’s end. The Apple Watch update also features Wi-Fi connectivity, new watch faces with different customizable options, better Siri capabilities, email replies and even Transit directions courtesy of iOS 9. Is it worth that tough-to-swallow Apple Watch price right now? Well, beaming apps like Messages, Mail and every iPhone notification to an always-on-hand gadget is certainly a convenience. I no longer retrieve my seemingly always-hiding iPhone 6 every time someone texts me, yet I can ping it whenever I really can’t find it, usually buried beneath the couch cushions. It has easiest to use Find My iPhone app yet. Apple is supposed to be building upon this novel idea with a proposed Find My Watch feature, which is the reserve of this handy retrieval system, and an Android Wear-like “smart leashing” detector to deploy a light tap on the wrist when the wearer wanders too far from his or her phone.

Apple Watch OS 1.0.1 fixed a few sensor errors and expanded the number of languages supported, and a full update is due this fall thanks to WatchOS 2 and iOS 9. Similar conveniences are carried over to the thousands of apps. Checking into a flight thanks to a wrist-mounted QR code sure beats scrambling for my phone or paper boarding pass while moving my bags up in the security line step-by-step. Those steps, it turns out, are being counted in the Apple Watch’s fitness app. It’s not the most comprehensive fitness tracker, but it lets me keep tabs on metrics like my steps walked, calories burned and heart rate. Surprise: I need to move more when I’m writing reviews. But not having to fetch my phone for each and every vibration in my pocket is very much a luxury rather than a necessity, and not one every iPhone user needs – at least for the current asking price.

Why buy an Apple Watch?

Apple Watch is often oversimplified as an iPhone on your wrist, and almost everyone I have demoed it to has accidentally referred to it as “your phone.” Even I slipped up once.

It’s not an unreasonable comparison. The square-shaped smartwatch is like a mini iPhone; it lets me read emails, summon Siri and make and receive phone calls from my wrist.

The size is just right too. While many Android Wear watches look and feel chunky to most, the 42mm Apple Watch fits my wrist much more unobtrusively.

An even smaller 38mm size is also available, though most people should for opt for the bigger of the two. It offers better battery life and more useable touchscreen space (but does come at a higher cost).

What feels strange about writing this review is that there’s no point in really comparing it to Android Wear at all. Nobody chooses a smartwatch first and then decides on which phone to go with it – no, if you’re reading this review you’re probably either doing it on the iPhone or with one close to hand, wondering if it adds enough convenience to be worth the extra cost.

But do I need this Watch? On the one hand it’s been great to change my behavior, as too many times I have instinctively run to my phone, charging in another room, because it’s ringing or because the default SMS chime has turned me into one of Pavlov’s dogs.

How many times have I missed an important call or text? Just as important, how many times have I rushed to the phone and it was an unimportant telemarketing call or a friend replying with text that simply says “OK” to something I said three hours ago?

These missed connections and potential disappointments are less insufferable thanks to the Apple Watch and its ability to either pick up or dismiss these alerts in a tenth of a second.

Custom watch faces, like we’ve seen from Android Wear watches, are here (although only those that Apple makes, as it’s sadly not permitting third parties to do the same thing), as well as new exclusive technology like the pressure-sensitive Force Touch touchscreen.

There are also a large number of Apple Watch apps already, including the easy-to-use Apple Pay in the US and frequently used Uber car hailing service, equivalents of which have been slow to launch on Android Wear.

What’s missing?

There are plenty iPhone features that aren’t carried over to the wrist. Apple Watch is not a fully-fledged iPhone replacement.

It makes calls, but it can’t add new contacts. It listens to dictated texts and sends them as an audio message or transcription, but it doesn’t have any sort of edit function.

It tracks basic fitness goals, but not it’s GPS-enabled, doesn’t track sleep and third-party workout apps require an iPhone close by. Likewise, it can name songs through the Shazam app, but it listens with the iPhone microphone, not its own.

Having to carry a phone still is a weird disappointment to a lot of people who are missing the point of a current smartwatches. “Wait, I still need my phone?” is the response I’ve heard from baffled people. Of course you do. The Watch isn’t big enough for watching YouTube videos on its tiny display size and trying to comment on Facebook posts while pecking away on a teeny keyboard would be terrible.

Who would want to don a giant watch capable of such specs or a large enough battery to run that? You still need an iPhone with you at all times, but you’ll use it less than before.

The bigger questions: can is do enough to be worth its price, and is it fashionable enough to wear everyday, by geek chic and non geeks alike? Let’s examine the design first.

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