The Apple Watch has finally arrived and people all over are getting their first deep drinks in Apple’s newest product. But one thing they have donned the New Year is setting it up. The Apple Watch is not the simplest thing to set up and neither is the software and hardware interactions. It doesn’t act like your typical Android Wear watch and it’s a bit different from your normal experience of iOS. So welcome to the Apple Watch software overview right here on PhoneDog.com.
Before we can get into the software, we first have to look at how we can interact with the Apple Watch. Upfront we have a force touch AMOLED display that sits around the 1.4-inch mark and size and the display also acts as a large button. It doesn’t actually press down but when you apply more pressure, it will register a force touch and send you a Taptic Engine buzz to your wrist.
Moving over to the right side, you will find a crown and a button. The crown is called the digital crown and acts like another form of input and takes over tasks like scrolling, zoom, and going through your applications. You can basically do everything the digital crown can do on the screen in lieu of your fingers. But it was designed for you to keep your fingers away from this place since it’s so small.
And finally, right below the digital crown is the soft button that acts as a quick actions button. So far, it’s only programmed to bring up friends with a single click and Apple Pay with a double click.
The last form of input is just a simple voice dictation through Apple Siri. This is only useful to relay information back to you and also send messages and emails when you’re unable to pick up your device.
Now let’s look at the Apple Watch. When you first turn it on, you are greeted with the watch face of choice. But this is not your home screen. It’s literally just a watch face. Now a few things you can notice right off the bat are these bits of information here on the corners. You can see I have weather, activity, battery life and also a little start/stop watch timer. And you can edit all of these by using a force touch on the watch face. This will spring up an editor which will let you change what information is displayed on the corners plus the color schemes. This is also the place where you can change the whole watch face completely.
The watch face is also the place where you’ll find all of your notifications. Swiping down will bring you notifications in an iPhone kind of way. Notifications are sorted by the applications that sent them and also the time you received those notifications. So the newest notifications will be on the bottom of the list. Now if you want to dismiss any of these notifications, it’s very simple and very iPhone-esque. Just simply swipe them to the left and hit the clear button on the right. Now if you swipe the other way on the watch face, you enter Glances. This is where little bits of information from your apps and services will live. You’ll find things like settings, battery life, status, and all of your applications that you’ve turned on will be here. This will display a quick one screen glance of information. For example, headline news from CNN or an hourly forecast from The Weather Channel. These Glances are not interactive and nor are they updated constantly in the background. If you click on any of these Glances, they will jump into the application and leave the Glances page entirely.
Now let’s head onto the home screen. To go there, hit the digital crown once and the watch will spring into its round springboard that looks very similar to iOS. You can browse around by dragging your finger on the display on all directions to see all the applications you have. You can also use the digital crown to adjust the zoom scale. And when you want to go to an application, you can either tap on the icon or use the crown to zoom in directly into the app.
The Springboard also acts like your iPhone springboard so if you want to rearrange the apps, a long press on one of these applications will let them squiggle around and let you drag them into the position you want them to be in. all of these apps are Apple Watch apps and eventually, they will run off the Apple Watch itself inside of its internal storage. But in its current state, all these applications are actually streamed off the iPhone. This can make for a very long loading time, especially for larger apps and games.
So with these applications like Instagram or email and others load relatively quickly and so far, I haven’t really seen that much of a lag. But load up any games and it will take a very long time. I can definitely see more developers making their applications with the Apple Watch counterparts and more functionality will be added to them when Apple switches to installing these applications on the watch themselves, we should see a significant cut in loading times. In order to manage any of these applications, you can only do that on your iPhone in the Apple Watch app; which really doesn’t bother me since the screen is so small and I really don’t want to delete applications off a tiny display.
One thing you may have noticed with an Apple Watch is that the phone application is installed on the watch. You can actually call people that are in your contacts list or recently contacted list and you can call them right off your watch. This means that the Apple Watch has a built-in speaker and a microphone. And funny enough, the speaker’s very loud and pretty clear. It also adds a little bit of James Bond into your life. But seriously, it looks super ridiculous to call someone and speak into your watch and wrist so I’m begging you guys, don’t do it.
The next part to mention is the other forms of communication. Now when you press the button on the side once, it will open up a list of friends. These people will have Apple Watches and you may want to communicate with them. The Apple Watch will allow you to send them digital touches, which will let you draw off photos, send them Taptic taps on your wrists and also and very lastly and strangely, it will let you send over a heartbeat. As you can see here, I feel very emotional about Dom. And you can also send these animated emojis, which I think can get really creepy really fast here. But then again, it’s just a very interesting thing you can do for Apple Watch, and not particularly very useful but then again, it’s just a very interesting thing you can do on your Apple Watch.
Lastly, I want to mention Apple Pay on the Apple Watch. In order to set it up, you must add that through your Apple Watch app and also have a passcode on your watch. The way this works is that you’ll be prompted to enter a passcode on your Apple Watch when you first put it on. And as long as the watch stays on your wrist, you’ll be authenticated all day. But the second the watch detects an absence of a heartbeat, it will prompt you to enter the passcode once again. You can also use your iPhone’s Touch ID sensor to unlock your watch if you have the ‘Unlock with iPhone’ feature turned on. So then you can use Apple Pay without Touch ID on your device for the entire time you have the watch on your wrist, which is a whole lot faster and simpler than taking your iPhone out of your pocket or purse and paying with that. Just a simple double tap on the button on the right side will bring up Apple Pay and you can swipe through all your cards to pay with that.
So that is the Apple Watch and how the software runs. In my honest opinion, the learning curve here is the much greater than your typical smartphone or even your typical Android Wear smartwatch. The combination of buttons and gestures is a little bit too much for Apple but I hope with further software updates, the true user ability and user-friendly of this will improve. But I’d like to hear what you guys think about the software. Do you guys think it’s too complicated or do you think it’s super easy to get the hang of? Make sure to leave your comments below.