Just ahead of Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event scheduled for Monday in San Francisco where the company is set to launch the Apple Watch, new details about the smartwatch have surfaced. Additionally, we have put together the numerous rumours from the recent past to give you a better idea of what can be expected to be revealed by Apple on Monday.
9to5mac cites people with hands-on Apple Watch experience about the smartwatch’s battery life along with some details about the functionality of health-related apps and smartwatch’s touch experience.
According to sources, the battery life of the Apple Watch has improved and can handle up to 5 hours of heavy app usage apart from one day of mixed usage. The source however added that the Apple Watch will need a nightly charge, as it will not last for two days with just one charge. The nightly charging requirement ties-in with Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris’ statements back in September that had said the company anticipated consumers to charge the smartwatch once daily, but hadn’t revealed the actual battery life figures.
A recent report by New York Times’ Brian X. Chen had claimed that Apple had developed a new mode dubbed Power Reserve, which will run the watch on low energy and display only the time. 9to5Mac’s sources have added more details on the unannounced mode, saying that the Power Reserve Mode could be activated via a Battery Glance or by the settings app on the Watch. The report notes, “One unit tested allowed access to all Apple Watch functions while in Power Reserve mode, while another unit was limited to the Clock face.” The report adds that the Apple Watch took around 4 to 5 hours to get fully charged from 0 percent via the wall-mounted charger.
Apple Watch, unlike the iPhone, will not show a pop-up message about low battery life, according to sources. Instead the Watch at 20 percent will turn an “orange/amber colour” as an alert to the wearer, while at 10 percent it will turn red.
The Apple Watch can track activity via an accelerometer to measure movement, apart from also detecting heart rate. 9to5Mac’s sources detailed a new feature called Heart Rate Glance that will allow the wearer to check their heartbeats per minute. “When accessing the Glance, an outline of a heart will appear, similar to the heart in the image above. After a button is tapped to start measurement, the screen will show the constantly updating BPM reading,” report adds.
The sources claimed that the Apple Watch could read heart rate instantly while the readings were “seemingly accurate.” Some of the other Glances widgets, apart from heart rate, that are expected to come preloaded include Fitness Stats, Activity, Clock, Weather, Music, Quick Settings, Calendar and Maps.
A previous report claimed that Apple was planning to cut down on many health-features from the first-generation Apple Watch due to complexity. The current claims from first hand users however seem to tip that the Watch will indeed include health-related features such as blood pressure measurement, heart activity and stress level measurements.
The report further talks about Apple Watch’s force-sensing touchscreen interface and notes, “The screen feels like a giant button that you just want to press in the manner needed for Force Touch.”
One of the sources added that Apple Watch lacks pinch to zoom feature and only registers gestures for up, down, left, and right. The report adds that the Watch does not include any keyboard for input, and instead uses voice-commands or pre-populated options.
The report also talked about the performance of the Watch and added that an Apple Watch with up to 200 apps was sluggish on the home screen.
The report quotes a designer who used the Apple Watch and said the “screen is the best [smartwatch] screen I have ever seen.” Further talking about quality, the designer said, “it’s like vibrant digital paper, and does not look rendered,” and features “great” black levels.
TechCrunch also cites people that have used Apple Watch, and reports that some users said they were taking out their phones “far less than they used to.” The report notes, “A simple tap to reply or glance on the wrist or dictation is a massively different interaction model than pulling out an iPhone.”
Notably, details about the Apple Watch ‘companion’ app had leaked back in January. The companion app offered details on how the Apple Watch would function and even gave away insights on clock functions, home screen, accessibility, messages, mirroring iPhone notifications, activity, motion and fitness, Passcode, and more. Some of the features that the companion app would offer included a virtual view of the Apple Watch home screen that could be managed by a user via the app.
Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has also speculated prices of the various Apple Watch variants: Apple Watch Sport (38mm/42mm) $349/$399 (approximately Rs. 21,900/Rs. 25,000); Apple Watch Steel Classic Buckle (38mm/ 42mm) $849/899 (approximately Rs. 53,200/Rs. 56,350), and Apple Watch Edition Sport Band $7,499 (approximately Rs. 4,69,924). We will have to still wait for the official prices of the Apple Watch.
At its September launch last year, the firm revealed that the Apple Watch would be priced starting $349 and would be available in “early 2015.” Last month, CEO Tim Cook revealed that the Apple Watch will start shipping in April and the March event seems to be in-line with those plans.