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Review: Apple Watch
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Jun 21, 2015, 08:52 AM
 
As with all new Apple product launches, it can be difficult sometimes to separate the reality from the hype. The hype is understandable, of course - Apple is the biggest technology company in the world, and it doesn't often launch into all-new product categories. The Apple Watch is the first completely new project to come from Apple under its "new" management team, headed since 2011 by CEO Tim Cook, and its success or failure is therefore critical. According to some estimates, the total combined number of Android Wear-powered smartwatches shipped by all OEMs, including Samsung, LG, Sony and Asus, totaled just over 700,000 units in 2014. Pebble announced that it had shipped its one millionth smartwatch on the last day of 2014. Does the Apple Watch have what it takes to take the technology mainstream? Read on in our full review of the Apple Watch.


     
msuper69
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Jun 21, 2015, 02:04 PM
 
"Always on" isn't needed.
Apple has the right idea to save battery.
It's simply not a problem.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 21, 2015, 04:57 PM
 
I prefer the display to switch off - it's more discreet -, but (after only three days) I do find myself occasionally irritated that I can't see the time without twisting my arm or tapping the screen. It's growing on me more and more, though.
     
Charles Martin
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Jun 21, 2015, 05:22 PM
 
Speaking as someone who doesn't have one, I can see where having to lift your arm all the way up to viewing level would be annoying -- sometimes a quick flick of the wrist to check the time would be useful -- and the only other way to turn the screen on, as I understand it, is to use your other hand to press the digital crown. So I can see where Sanjiv is coming from in wanting to avoid that issue.

That said, I think Apple will refine the Watch to understand other "wake up" gestures over time, which will hopefully find the happy balance between the battery-draining "always on" and "there when I want it," which would still conserve the battery but prolong screen life by being off most of the time.
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Spheric Harlot
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Jun 21, 2015, 05:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Charles Martin View Post
Speaking as someone who doesn't have one, I can see where having to lift your arm all the way up to viewing level would be annoying
You don't.
     
Sanjiv Sathiah
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Jun 21, 2015, 08:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by msuper69 View Post
"Always on" isn't needed.
Apple has the right idea to save battery.
It's simply not a problem.
Doesn't the user who has forked out the cash for "the most personal device we've ever created" have the right to use the device the way they want to use it? It would be a simple setting tweak for users who want to be able to glance at their wrist without having to lift it up every single time just to be able to tell the time.

I'm pretty certain that it is inevitable that Apple will have an always-on option for the the Apple Watch, whether it is this generation (courtesy of an update) or one that succeeds it. Android Wear devices already have the capability - I don't see any reason why Apple can't or wouldn't permit it as a matter of course. Otherwise, there was no special need to switch to an OLED display for this device - they might as well have stuck with an LCD panel.

As I said in the review, the way I use it, I would still be able to get home without worrying about battery life with an Apple Watch with the option of an always-on display.

Thanks for reading the review!
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Charles Martin
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Jun 21, 2015, 08:46 PM
 
I'll take your word for it Spheric, but I gather from our staffers that have one that you do have to raise it up quite a bit for it to turn on.
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msuper69
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Jun 21, 2015, 11:55 PM
 
Charles: As the happy owner of an Apple Watch, it only takes a little twist of the wrist for the display to come on. It becomes natural very quickly.
     
msuper69
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Jun 21, 2015, 11:56 PM
 
Sanjiv: If Apple did not use this energy saving feature, the battery life would be adversely affected and there would be a boatload of pissed off people.
     
Sanjiv Sathiah
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Jun 22, 2015, 12:46 AM
 
msuper69: I totally get that, but I also suspect that Apple wasn't really sure how people would use the device once they got it. After speaking with some people from Apple about the always-on capability, I believe that it seems possible that Apple has opted to be particularly conservative by not enabling always-on functionality from the outset. Once they have more telemetry from how users are actually using the Apple Watch in the real world, and how much battery is typically left at the end of each day's usage, then they could enable always-on functionality as an option for those users. The caveat being that you can, naturally, expect to chew up more battery life. Android Wear devices currently on the market allow you to choose between always-on and activate on wrist lift.

I don't want to have to change the way I tell the time by making deliberate wrist movements as is currently necessitated with the Apple Watch. A device that is truly personal should adapt to the way I want it to work, not vice versa.
( Last edited by Sanjiv Sathiah; Jun 22, 2015 at 01:41 AM. )
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DiabloConQueso
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Jun 22, 2015, 09:07 AM
 
"Doesn't the user who has forked out the cash for "the most personal device we've ever created" have the right to use the device the way they want to use it?"

No, but the user does have the right to check the watch out and decide if the features and use-cases suit their needs before handing over money in exchange for the watch.

The act of purchasing a device doesn't afford you any "rights" as to how the device operates, aside from being ensured that the device will work as advertised. It's up to the consumer to discern whether or not the operation of the device suits their needs before purchasing the device.

It's as simple as "Here's the Apple Watch, here's how it operates, here's what you can do with it, and here's how you use it -- do you want to buy it or not?" If having an always-on screen is some kind of right you feel you need afforded to you, then that's something you find out about pre-purchase, not post-purchase.
     
Sanjiv Sathiah
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Jun 22, 2015, 07:55 PM
 
DiabloConQueso: I just don't get the mentality of die-hard Apple loyalists like yourself who seem to think that Apple can do no wrong! Hilarious. Further, what you are saying is completely without logic in a day and age where products are routinely given software updates that enable additional functionality long after they have left the factory.

In fact, Apple Watch OS 2 will bring a raft of additional features to the Apple Watch that weren't there in the device at launch. Apple also welcomes feedback and feature enhancement requests for its devices at Apple - Feedback

I strongly suggest to any users who want the Apple Watch to deliver additional functionality, like the ability to choose an always-on display mode, to log in and provide their feedback.

Apple does listen to feedback, as the Apple Music Taylor Swift royalty episode also clearly demonstrates. Apple also routinely adds new software features to its devices and during the WWDC Keynote referred to making software changes in response to "most requested features" from users.

Apple does not live in a vacuum where it is totally unresponsive to constructive criticism and feedback. When I go into product briefings with Apple, the product specialists and engineers I talk to welcome open feedback about what I perceive to be areas where they can further improve their products. I'm not, after all, asking for Apple to ruin their product - I'm asking them to make it better - why wouldn't you want that to happen?
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DiabloConQueso
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Jun 23, 2015, 12:37 AM
 
I don't know how you discerned that from what I posted, but I agree with most all of what you said and never insinuated that Apple doesn't listen to feedback.

My point was that purchasing a device and expecting it to do something it clearly doesn't do, as if that expectation is some kind of "right," is not realistic.

The Apple Watch does what it does, and will continue to do more in the future -- but at the end of the day, and I'm not apologizing for Apple nor professing any kind of loyalty to them, the watch does what it does and no more. There's nothing beyond that that gives the user any kind of "right" to demand that Apple do something one way or another, or to cater to personal whims.

In other words, expecting Apple to put in a plethora of potentially-conflicting options would do nothing more than devolve the watch into the flaky, infinitely-customizable-but-never-perfect hodge-podge that is Android.

Apple doesn't need to offer a setting for every individual's whim or risk being called some kind of "rights trampler" if they don't. They offer plenty of customization except for the ridiculously fickle -- but at the end of the day, it's a product and it does what it does -- "rights" of the consumer or not -- just like any other company with any other product.

I don't know where you got the idea that I'm a die-hard Apple loyalist, but you'd probably take that right back if you saw what kind of device this very post was written and submitted on.
     
Sanjiv Sathiah
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Jun 23, 2015, 01:55 AM
 
With regard to my specific use of the term "right," that was directly in response to a previous post. But users do have rights you know!

There is nothing about having a smartwatch released in 2015 having an always-on display that is a "whim." It was widely accepted by the industry at large in 2014, that smartwatches should have an always-on display as a minimum level of functionality, along with a few other must-haves like high levels of water resistance.

However, Apple, being Apple, can get away with more things than the average tech company. If an Android Wear device came out today without an always-on display, it would be laughed straight back off the market!

I'm sorry to hear that you are typing your response on anything other than a Mac. : )
( Last edited by Sanjiv Sathiah; Jun 23, 2015 at 03:25 AM. Reason: Typos, clarification.)
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Mike63
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Jun 26, 2015, 03:25 PM
 
I have a moto 360 and a zenwatch. Neither have ALWAYS ALWAYS on. If the watch sits it will go to sleep. The always on mode was barely visible while in ALWAYS on MODE. It had dramatic drain effect on the battery resulting in watch not lasting a full day. The display on the 360 is OK except for the visible wedge of black at the bottom. I have a pebble steel also. While it has "ALWAYS ON" display, it is less than impressive to look at. Visually the screen on the pebble is just BLAH..I got the Watch and while the first OS has limitations, it is still brand new. Version 2.0 has some well thought out enhancements. To complain about the limitations without owning an Apple watch seems like a bit of envy. It is just for iPhone owners at this point. Who is to say that in a couple years Apple decides to do something like they did in Post V1 iterations of iPod, like open Watch OS to the Android and handful of Microsoft phone users??

When people say you have to lift theWatch to eye level for the screen to come on, is BS also. Simply twisting your wrist toward your center will activate the screen. Some feel that it comes on too often. Watch 1 is currently the BEST SMARTWATCH feature for feature than any of the others. Question is, how long is the adoption curve gonna take. It may not be as fast as iPod over the longterm, but it will be a profit engine that will replace the surely soon to be extinct iPod. When the phone is in your pocket or even in the other room, you can answer a call and speak and hear from it. The siri response is better than anything on google. I am an Apple homer, I admit, but I am a tech lover also. ALL products in the Android playpen are for the MOST part uninspiring. Android is simply a parallel of Winblows of the 90's.....a rip off of Apples' proof of concept. The original GUI that was showcased by Xerox was enhanced dramatically by Apple. Microsoft came along and made a poor mans version called Windows. Google stole the phone iOS interface and made a current day Windows for cell phones. Look at the original Android handsets. They had to shelve them when Eric Schmidt was on the Apple board and was given access to the first iPhone. Android works, but why would you want to use it? I tried, believe me. 3 times I tried Android, but disappointment and return to iOS was inevitable each time. Android is fools gold. Apple makes stuff that is just fun to have and use. Once you go Apple and Mac, you rarely go back.
     
   
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