Choosing the Right Apple Watch

Description: **③** The 38mm Apple Watch Sport is at left; the 42mm size is at right.

There are quite a number of variants and models of the Apple Watch to choose from based on core specifications, colors and strap types.

Choosing an Apple Watch is nothing like choosing an iPhone or a MacBook – forget about selecting one based on storage.  Under the hood, the Apple Watch hardware and functionalities are identical across the board, you will get to select one by looking at the alloys – stainless steel, aluminum and Gold.

The most important factor to consider when choosing the watch is how it will fit your wrist.  Most of the bands come in different sizes but some are limited to only one case size, so you should know what size your wrist is before settling on the band of watch to go with.

The three models of the Apple Watch are Apple Watch (classic), Apple Watch Sport and the Apple Watch Edition.  All the three models of the Apple Watch come in two different sizes and several bands.
Description: The stainless steel Apple Watch is shown with the Milanese Loupe band.

Apple Watch

The defining feature of the singularly named Apple Watch model features a stainless steel case, available in regular shiny stainless steel and dark space black tint.  It also features a sapphire crystal surface providing scratch-resistant protection to the display.

Apple Watch Sport

The Apple Watch Sport is specially designed for exercising, hence the lightweight anodized aluminum case.  This material is a custom alloy that is up to sixty percent stronger than ordinary aluminum.

The watch also features an Ion-X glass display, a glass variant that is more scratch-resistant and stronger than ordinary glass but much lighter.  However, this glass is less protective than the sapphire glass.  One watch variant comes in a Space Gray finish and a black band.

Apple Watch Edition

If you are a flush buyer looking to make a statement with your Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Edition is for you.  This model of the watch features an 18 karat gold case in rose or yellow hues and a sapphire crystal cover.

Apple contracted its own metallurgists to formulate their own gold case that is twice as strong as standard gold.  Because gold is a fairly soft material, high-end watchmakers often hire specialists to develop custom mixes that are stronger and less susceptible to dents.

Description: **②** Yellow 18-karat gold accents the Apple Watch Edition.

Model Sizes

Whether you have tiny hands or gigantic wrists, rejoice because there is an Apple Watch that fits your size.  For each model of the watch, there are the 42mm and the 38mm variants to choose from.

Description: **③** The 38mm Apple Watch Sport is at left; the 42mm size is at right.

Before making a decision on what size of the watch to buy, you can actually download a sizing guide from Apple store or preview an actual-size render of the watches on your iPhone or iPad using the Apple Store app.  Simply tap on Apple Watch to access options then select the watch model and price to get a link to Compare Case Sizes.

Selecting Watch Bands

The Apple Watch offers six different types of bands to secure it to your wrist.  These interchangeable bands range from the luxurious Milanese Loupe to the sweat and water-resistant fluoroelastomer bands in the sports variants.  The bands are visually stunning and are thus best browsed and selected visually.  However, there are a few takeaways you will useful:

  • The bands fit the watch by sliding into notches at the top and bottom of the watch.  If you prefer, you can have more than one band that you can easily change depending on the activity – a leather classic buckle when heading out to the office or the sport band when going for your morning run.
  • The bands are designed to be easy to adjust.  Most bands come with magnetic embedded in the strap to make it easy to snap into place and to find a comfortable diameter to fit your wrist.  The stainless steel bands have buttons that makes it easy to remove or add the links without any special tools or taking it to a technician.
  • The Apple Watch Edition models are available with matching connectors and gold buckles.
  • Apple has released specifications of the watch’s bands for manufacturers to design and create third-party bands.  Soon, there will be a world of variety flooding the market and you can find them at very pocket-friendly prices.

Apple currently sells additional bands for the watches separately online in the Apple Store as well as via the Apple Store app for iOS.

Apple Watch Pricing

You can purchase the Apple Watch online at the Apple Store starting from $349 for the 38mm Apple Watch and $549 for the Apple Watch classic.  For each of these variants, the 42mm version of the watch costs $50 extra.

The Apple Watch Edition models are only available at ‘Select retail stores’ and they retail from $10,000 all the way to $17,000.  Initial supplies for this model have been limited.

Getting to Know the Apple Watch

For a brand new product on the market, Apple watch comes with numerous capabilities that are guaranteed to impress both the geeks and the noobs.

It would be easy to expect that the Apple Watch is like an iPhone you wear on your wrist but really isn’t the case. The watch specifically emphasizes short and focused interaction with your information. For instance, on the watch you can view new notifications and receive text messages, which you quickly send replies, but any lengthy correspondence will be shifted to the iPhone.

It’s important to understand how this approach works. We are so used to devices that demand our full attention that it seems impractical at first that the Apple Watch does not demand the attention. You shouldn’t be surprised if it takes you a couple of days to adopt this mindset when you finally get to use the watch, even when you know about it ahead of time.

The Watch and iPhone Connection

Although the Apple Watch does have its own touchscreen and features wireless communication capabilities, a microprocessor to run its systems and apps installed on its memory, the device heavily relies on a companion iPhone to be functional.

The watch works only with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus running iOS 8 or later. If you are a proud owner of an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S the Apple watch probably isn’t for you.

Also, if you don’t have an iPhone or feel that the extra features of the watch are not compelling, you may not find the Apple Watch as useful as the designers intended it to be.

The Apple Watch has core functions such as the clock and activity tracker that are dedicated applications installed in the device’s memory. However, because the device relies on the wireless Bluetooth or Wi-Fi communication with the iPhone for the most part, a connection with the iPhone is necessary.

As a matter of fact, developers at the moment cannot write native ‘Apple Watch Applications’.  Instead, they create iOS apps that have the capability to display data on the watch’s screen and be able to communicate with the watch in specific ways.

The Apple watch pulls the GPS positioning data from the iPhone and piggybacks on its Internet connection.  This basically means that even if you are getting the watch for just lightweight task such as tracking your exercise activity, make payments via Apple Pay or just receive notifications when an important chat messages come in, you would still need to carry the companion iPhone along to provide GPS data, calorie burn estimates during workouts and an internet connection to transmit data remotely.

The companion iPhone has an Apple Watch application that you can use to control the watch’s Home app icon layout, settings such as message displays and fitness features and other applications.

However, Apple is reportedly working on an update to the watch’s operating system dubbed watchOS 2, the next version of the watch’s operating system that will allow developers to create native apps that will be installed and run directly on the watch.  These applications are said to come with full access to the watch’s sensors, display, and other hardware.

Charging the Apple Watch

According to many users of the Apple Watch, Apple’s estimate of the battery lasting for up to 18 hours of normal use is conservative, but you should expect to charge your watch once daily.  Exercise tracking drains the battery the fastest largely because the heartbeat sensors in the watch are powered locally by the device’s battery.  At the end of the day, expect to charge the phone in readiness for the next day.

The watch automatically switches to Power Reserve mode when the battery hits 10 percent.  This is when everything except the basic digital readout of the time is switched off.  If you notice the battery drains fast, it may be wise to manually switch the watch to Power Reserve mode whenever you are not actively using it.

The Apple Watch comes with a magnetic charger that attaches to the back of the watch to recharge the battery. It uses the inductive charging system which makes it easy to connect to charge even in the dark.

Apple Pay and Passbook

Other than Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the Apple Watch comes with another wireless technology that enables the user to make payments through Apple Pay.  NFC (near field communication) is a radio communication technology that works with NFC-based payment readers, but like other services, only works when the watch is paired to your iPhone.

With Apple Pay, instead of swiping your credit or debit card to make purchases at a store, all you have to do is hold out your wrist close to the NFC reader and double-press the side button on the watch.  Apple Pay will transmit your payment information using an encrypted token; the transaction will, therefore, be safe, convenient and fast.

When you enter your card details to enable Apple pay, the details will appear on the Passbook application on the watch.  Other payment related information such as royalty cards and tickets that create scannable bar codes are also stored here.

You can use the Passbook to make quick payments at the train station, to buy coffee at Starbucks, get admission to a movie theatre and even present your boarding pass at the airport just by scanning your watch.  More details on this feature are covered in the coming chapters.

Security

Today, one of the greatest concerns when it comes to new technologies is how safe they are.  With the Apple Watch, data security is enabled with the use of a passcode, just like with the iPhone security.  As a matter of fact, to use Apple pay, you need to set a Passcode.  Turning the passcode on your watch off automatically removes your Apple Pay cards from the system and will require you to set them up again when you need to use them.

When your watch has an active passcode set, it will automatically lock when your remove it from your wrist.  The idea here is to prevent thieves from accessing Apple Pay and other services or data if they steal the watch.

It is expected that watchOS 2 will have additional security features such as Activation Lock that renders an Apple Watch completely inoperable without an Apple ID and password.

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