The Apple Watch NOW Controls 50% of Wearable Space

apple-watch-6_1Here’s EVERYTHING you need to know about Apple’s wearable

The Apple Watch is the first completely new product the company has created and launched since the death of its visionary founder, Steve Jobs, in 2011. How well the watch fares may be one measure of how well Apple may be able to maintain the standards of excellence in innovation, marketing and production it achieved under Jobs. Investors are used to seeing new products, such as the iPhone and iPad, fly off the shelves as soon as they are launched. The Apple Watch is also a foray into the world of so-called “wearable tech,” which is supposed to offer yet another big surge in product sales for Apple and its rivals in the years ahead. Once everyone has a smartphone, they are supposed to go out and get a smart watch, followed by smart eyeglasses, and so on. Or, at least, so goes the theory.

Talk about Apple joining the wearable space began in earnest about 18 months ago, following the release of a slew of smartwatches by Samsung and other Android players. Google joined the mix shortly thereafter with the release of Android Wear, a platform aimed at organising the often messy and chaotic implementation of software on wrist-worn devices. From here it was only a matter of time before Apple joined in the fun.

Android Wear is designed for Android and Apple Watch for iPhone, but you can use Google’s platform with an iPhone, albeit in a limited capacity, while the Apple Watch can ONLY be used with iPhone — this isn’t likely to change in the future, either. Apple is famous for its complete and utter disregard for other platforms and non-Apple products. This is how it maintains such staunch controls over all of its products and software.

To date, the Apple Watch is the fastest selling wearable ever released: “Cook revealed Apple Watch sales in June were higher than April or May, an impressive statistic considering overwhelming launch day demand. Stock quickly dwindled when Watch preorders went live on April 10, with all models hit by shipping delays within minutes of going live,” noted Apple Insider. “Cook did say Watch sales exceeded internal expectations and offset waning revenues from iPod, but the metric offers little insight into hard numbers. In an interview with The New York Times, however, CFO Luca Maestri said the first nine weeks of Watch sales exceeded those of the iPhone and iPad when those devices first launched. Considering those products saw massive subsequent adoption, Apple Watch’s future looks bright, especially moving into the holiday shopping season.”

Analysts reckon Apple has shifted anywhere between 3-to-5 million units since Apple Watch first launched — and that figure should increase by a significant volume during Q4 with Xmas. But without any concrete data from Apple it is impossible to say for sure just how many Apple Watches Apple has sold to date. Apple Watch sales are included inside Apple’s “other” category alongside iPad, Apple TV, Beats Headphones and iPod in its financial reporting, making it pretty much impossible to gage sales and revenues from a single product.

According to a January 12 report from Juniper Research, Apple claimed 50% of the smartwatch market in 2015 with the Apple Watch. This compared favourably to Android Wear’s accumulitive share of 10% between every OEM smartwatch produced, including those from Samsung, Sony, LG, and Motorola! The remaining 40% share is made up by an eclectic bunch of cheaper smartwatch devices using proprietary software solutions, things like the recently launched Razer, or the good old Pebble series which was also updated in 2015.

Despite all of this the smartwatch market remains comparably small when put against other mobile devices. Juniper’s research notes state that the smartwatch market is “a category waiting for a market,” adding that manufacturers adding more fetures or re-designing aesthetics will likely make little difference.

“It is now up to consumers to decide if they want them, rather than technology companies providing more reasons,” said the report author James Moar.

Apple Watch Design, Display & Build –– How It All Fits Together 

Hey did you ever look at a piece of tech and think “I’d like to see what that looks like inside?”, well if you thought that about the Apple Watch you’re in luck, because prominent artist Martin Hajek has produced one of his wonderful renders to show us its innards.

As well as the gorgeous metal chassis we can also see the battery cell, crown assembly, Taptic Feedback co-processor and S1 processor. Quite amazing imagery eh?

Apple has created what it calls a Digital Crown, a spinning dial on the side of the watch that you spin to zoom in and out of apps or rotate down through apps. This method of interaction ensures the display is never covered, meaning you can always see what’s being displayed on its screen – even when moving around the UX. The screen does still support touch input, however, and what’s more it has “force sensitivity” so it can tell how hard you’re pressing – this means it can perform different functions with different levels of pressure on the display.

The watches design features a square face with rounded edges that curve around from front to back smoothly. As well as the dial, there’s also a button input, but apart from this the bodywork is largely uninterrupted – there are no ports as all the charging and data transfer is handled by wireless protocols. The back panel is ceramic and features sensors for use with health apps and magnets to guide it to the correct position on the Magsafe wireless charger.

How It Works magazine has, quite literally, delved into what makes the Apple Watch tick. The magazine’s people passed along an infographic all about the Apple Watch to our inbox and, well, we just had to share it with you.

Some of the key features highlighted in the infographic include:

  • Customisable appearance: Available in two screen sizes, 38 or 48mm long, and six strap types, each with multiple colours; made with six body materials (including 18-karat rose gold)
  • Digital crown: Rotate to zoom, scroll and navigate precisely without obscuring the screen; push to return to the home screen
  • Friends button: Brings up a shortlist of chosen inner-circle contacts
  • TouchScreen: Retina display laminated onto super-hard polished sapphire crystal or Ion-X glass; can distinguish between a light tap and a purposeful press
  • Battery: A full charge lasts about a day with normal usage
  • Touchless payment via Apple Pay
  • Custom heart-rate sensor: Visible and infrared LEDs and photosensors work together to read the wearer’s heart rate
  • S1 chip: Entire computer system miniaturised into one chip, encased in a resin shell to protect it from the elements, impact and wear

Apple Watch Battery 

The Apple Watch uses its own, specialised MagSafe charging system and the cable you’ll be using ships with the device itself. The system is designed to be really easy to use, as noted by Apple on its Apple Watch webpage:

“We wanted to make charging your Apple Watch utterly effortless. So we arrived at a solution that combines our MagSafe technology with inductive charging. It’s a completely sealed system free of exposed contacts. And it’s very forgiving, requiring no precise alignment. You simply hold the connector near the back of the watch, where magnets cause it to snap into place automatically.

From flat, the Apple Watch can hit 80% charge inside 1.5 hours. For a full charge from flat, the Apple Watch takes just over 2.5 hours. 

Apple is very keen on ensuring the apps and content that run on Apple Watch are useful and not at all annoying. For this reason, the company has outlined some pretty strict guidelines for developers to ensure there is no negative affect on the Apple Watch’s battery from applications being open too long. Everything affects battery from the screen to vibrations for notifications.

Apple is apparently very focused on getting EVERYTHING right:

“Apple has recommended that developers be judicious about interrupting people with constant alerts that will buzz their wrist or drain the battery. If desktop computers can be used for hours at a time, and smartphones for minutes, the watch is being measured in seconds. Apple is suggesting developers design their applications to be used for no longer than 10 seconds at a time,” said the report.

A report from The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, claims Apple has a secret tool up its sleeve to ensure better battery performance abaord its Apple Watch: “Apple’s watch team ‘developed a yet-to-be-announced feature called Power Reserve.’ As the name implies,” says BGR, “the Apple Watch in Power Reserve mode will run on low energy and will only display the time. Which is to say, all of the device’s other functions such as notifications and activity monitoring will presumably go into a sleep mode in an effort to conserve juice.”

A Closer Look At The Apple Watch Specs & Hardware — What Makes It Tick? 

Ever wondered what makes the Apple Watch tick? What all the technology and gizmos look like and how they function? Well, for those interested in such things we must take our hats off to iFixit, a tech blog which dismantles the hottest tech so you don’t have to.

“We got the Apple Watch on our teardown table and did what we do best. With a razor blade in one hand and a filed-down tri-wing screwdriver in the other, our nimble teardown engineers (down under) got the first look under the hood of Apple’s wearable, said iFixit’s report. “Once inside, coaxing the battery out is a cinch, but the overall device construction limits further repair options. We hoped to confirm rumours of upgradable internals—but had no such luck. The S1 SiP is encased in resin, and is further held in place by a mess of glue and soldered ribbon connectors. In short, basic component replacements look nearly impossible.”

iFixit always highlights a bunch of unique stats and findings at the end of each tear-down, as well as giving the product a repairability rating –– the Apple Watch scored 5/10. Below are iFixit’s “teardown highlights for the Apple Watch”:

 Unsurprisingly, the S1 SiP is fully encased in resin. Our teardown engineers weren’t able to break the seal, so the exact chip-level hardware is still a mystery.

  • A 205 mAh battery seems miniscule in comparison to the 300 mAh battery found in the Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live. Hopefully, Apple’s Watch OS will help the battery hold up and avoid the problems that initially plagued the Moto 360.

Apple Watch: The Software — WatchOS2

Apple launched the next major software release for the Apple Watch, called watchOS 2, at WWDC 2015. And it’s with this software that the Apple Watch can perhaps break its way out of the “iPhone accessory” area into being a full-fledged device in its own right.

Here’s everything you need to know about the latest build of WatchOS2

Native Apps

Let’s start with the biggie. watchOS 2 will allow apps to run natively on Apple Watch. That’s right: no longer will your iPhone be required to use apps on Watch. This is HUGE as the lack of native Watch apps lead many (including me) to view the Apple Watch as a glorified, very expensive iPhone accessory.

With watchOS 2 most of the apps on your Apple Watch will run natively and independently of the iPhone. How will that affect you? For starters, your Watch won’t be useless without your iPhone. But even better, apps on Watch will be capable of more features and launch much faster than they do now.

Developers get more access to Apple Watch hardware

A huge boon to developers with watchOS 2 is that they’ll now have direct access to hardware components in the Apple Watch. This means that developers can start building apps that take advantage of things like the Digital Crown, the Taptic Engine, accelerometer, heart rate sensor, speaker, and microphone.

In turn, users will be able to download apps that access these hardware features of the Apple Watch, making their favorite apps much more useful.

Activation Lock

Given its small size and high price, the Apple Watch is a favorite target of thieves. With watchOS 2 Apple is bringing a major security feature from the iPhone–Activation Lock–to the Apple Watch. Activation Lock will require your Apple ID and password to be entered in order to activate your Apple Watch. If someone steals it the device will essentially become useless to them as Activation Lock will lock them out.

New Watch Faces

Who doesn’t love a little eye candy? watchOS 2 will provide plenty of that with lots of new watch face options for users. Some of the coolest new watch faces include time-lapse video faces. Users can select from 5 global scenes including Hong Kong, London, Mack Lake, New York, and Shanghai and view scenes of those locals as their watch face. The scenes are time-responsive–so if you are in California at 10pm your London time-lapse watch face will show you what London looks like at 10pm.

Another nice touch is the ability to select any photo you take on your iOS device as the watch face on your Apple Watch. Parents and lovebirds are going to love this. watchOS 2 will also allow you to set entire albums as your watch face. Every time you raise your wrist to view the time a different photo from your favorites or any other album you select will appear on the watch face.

New Complications

“Complications” is the confusing term Apple uses for additional details on the watch face screen–such as calendar events. With watchOS 2 users will have many more Complication options thanks to the ability of third-party apps being able to write Complications. Apple gave the example of an airline app being able to show you your current flight time or departure gate as a complication on your watch face.

Time Travel

No, Apple didn’t literally invent time travel. But it is the name of a cool new feature on in watchOS 2. Time Travel refers to the ability for the user to turn the Digital Crown to cycle through information on a temporal scale. It will most often be used on watch face Complications. For example, using Time Travel you can turn the Digital Crown to see what the weather will be like during your 3pm football match on Saturday.

Nightstand Mode

This is one of those cool little features that isn’t groundbreaking but makes your device more useful nonetheless. Now when you plug in your Apple Watch at night a new Nightstand more will automatically be activated. This mode essentially turns your Apple Watch into an alarm clock. Whenever you touch the screen you’ll see the current time and date. In Nightstand mode the Digital Crown and side button also become the snooze and off button, respectively.