Last week Apple announced major OS upgrades for MacOS, iOS and WatchOS.
Apple, has release version 3.2
The biggest new feature is something called Theater Mode. Put simple, it a Do Not Disturb-style option for Apple Watch. Once enabled it silences your Apple Watch, leaving the screen off unless you tap the screen or press one of the watch’s buttons. I continues to work quietly in the background. It’s perfect for movie theaters, plays, and those times where you just don’t eat to be disturbed. Head on over to iMore for detailed instructions on how to enable it (it’s really easy).
For a complete list of new functions, iMore has you covered there as well.
The new Apple Watch is here. There are a bunch of things that users wanted, and they (we) got quite a few of them.
Being a swimmer, the biggest thing I wanted was a waterproof watch. And the Series 2 is waterproof! That means I can go for a swim and track my workout.
Runners and cyclists wanted GPS to track their workouts. And the Series 2 has GPS.
Some new features:
- The OLED display on the new Watch is brighter
- The workout app tracks both pool swims and open water swims, recording laps, distance, and stroke style
- GPS: no iPhone needed: run, cycle and hike and the Series 2 will receive a GPS signal. It will calculate your distances, and show a map of your workout in the Activity app on your iPhone.
- A new dual-core processor, which is 50 percent faster than last years model.
- Better battery life (the battery is slightly larger)
English to Italian, Apple Watch app, is now available on the app store. Like the ENG to GER version, it’s ideal for people traveling to countries where they speak Italian.
The Apple Watch: one year later
When Apple introduced the Apple Watch one year ago, many people were excited, and many people rolled their eyes and wondered why. As a former programmer (of the Newton of all things), I saw an opportunity. So I dove in because I knew the watch was limited in functionality (to me that was a plus). But it also gave me the opportunity to check out the features of this new Apple device. And it turns out, it’s a pretty handy little gadget, although not without it’s flaws.
If you have an iPhone, you probably take it out of your pocket dozens of times a day, maybe hundreds. When you’re wearing the watch, that number goes down drastically. When you get an email you can just glance at the watch and see if it’s anything important. With apps like Outlook and Airmail (to name a few) you can read them, delete them and with Airmail even send a canned response or snooze it. The same goes with text messages. It may sound trivial, but it’s a time saver. When someone calls, you can glance at the watch and see if it’s someone you want to speak with or send it straight to voicemail. By sliding up on the watch face you can select “answer on the phone” and that will give you time to dig your phone out and answer. The person on the other end is put on hold. It all works seamlessly, as Apple products are supposed to work. And Apple Pay works great on the watch as well. You’d think it would be silly to use your watch instead of your phone, but again, the phone stays in your pocket and it’s faster and seamless. And the checkout people get a kick out of it. A few developers have done a great job of building watch apps. If you’re an OmniFocus user, the watch app is very useful, looks great and loads quickly. And 1Password puts passwords on your wrist, again saving you the trouble if pulling that phone out. There are lot more worth mentioning, perhaps in another article…
If you work out, the watch is also helpful. Although to be fair, this is where the battery shows its limitations. Over the past year I have heard and read about hundreds of people who have gotten into better shape and lost weight because of the features on Apple Watch. Seemingly trivial things like standing up more often, to walking more. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s not trivial if it helps you get in better shape and lose a few extra pounds. If you’re a runner, you’re in luck as there are quite a few good apps that can track your running. You might need to bring your phone along, but some apps, like Runkeeper, have a watch 2.0 app, so no phone is needed. But be aware, if you like going for long runs, the battery will drain pretty quickly. That’s something Apple needs to fix in the next version. And making it waterproof would mean swimmers can use it. There are a lot of possibilities for athletes. But to be honest, that’s going to come in the next rev of the OS and with the next Apple Watch.
But there are limitations. It can be painfully slow at opening some apps. Because it uses Bluetooth to communicate with the phone, it can take too long to open some apps. In the time it took to open my Hue app, I could have gotten the phone out of my pocket, unlocked it, read an email and then opened Hue. That would have been faster. But some apps open fast enough.. And now that OS 2.0 is out, apps open a lot faster because they don’t need the phone. They are on the watch. And Apple has just announced that all watch apps must be 2.0 compatible as of June 1st. That’s great news. And because the watch has WiFi built in, the watch knows the WiFi networks you have connected to in the past. So you’ll get your text messages even while your phone is out of Bluetooth range. The first time it happened to me I was pretty surprised. So I sent a response to see what would happen. Of course it was sent. For me, that pointed to some new features that I am sure are coming soon. Receiving email, for example.
One of the criticisms that I’ve heard is “there’s no killer app for the Apple Watch”? This is a silly question because the day of the killer app has passed. There’s no such thing. Not for Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, Android or anything else.
And then there’s the question: do I really need an Apple Watch? Of course not. But how many things do you own that you don’t really need. You have them because you want them and have a reason to have them. And there’s this gem: how many has Apple sold? The approximate response is, who cares. Do you buy something because everyone has it or because you want it and or have a reason to use it?
After one year, the Apple Watch has come a long way thanks to some great apps and Apple’s quick upgrade from the initial OS to OS 2. The glass is either half full or half empty. I think the glass is half full.
for a short video demo head over to the software page.
I just submitted my first app to the Apple Store. Traveling to a foreign country? This app might come in handy.
The first app is “ENG to GER” (English to German). ENG to ITA (English to Italian) is almost done. Coming soon: ENG to SPA, ENG to FRE and GER to ENG.