No Walk-in iPhone 6s Sales at Apple Stores in 4 US States, China, Japan, and …

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A More Useful Apple Watch? Newly Released WatchOS 2 Inches Forward.

Fortune is here to help you avoid similar hiccups—here’s what you need to know to update that Apple-branded wrist-worn computer of yours without any problems. Since the Apple Watch first arrived, the year’s most hyped gadget has had a hard time shaking the reputation that it’s pretty, but just not that useful.

iOS 9, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, has been installed on more than half of active iPads and iPhones since it was released just five days ago, Apple announced in a press release on Monday. That’s not just the fastest adoption rate for iOS; it’s the fastest adoption rate ever for an Apple operating system. iOS 9 is “on pace to be downloaded by more users than any other software release in Apple’s history,” senior VP Phil Schiller said in the press release. Finally, press “Download and Install.” The software update has the usual performance upgrades as well as interesting new features, which you can read more about here. The update’s headline feature brings native apps to the Watch, allowing them to be run from the wrist rather than borrowing information from the phone. The first version of watchOS required the watch to mirror iPhone apps instead of running directly on the watch, which limited their capabilities and slowed down loading times.

Coming five months after the watch’s debut, the update demonstrates the speed at which Apple is coming up with new ideas for what we can do with a wrist-top computer. WatchOS 2 apps can also tap into the watch’s sensors, so the Taptic Engine, accelerometer, heart rate sensors, and Digital Crown all come into play.

Complications are small little pieces of information that sit on the face – meaning that the Watch can show updates like sports scores without clicking into apps. I’ve been using the Watch OS 2 for a week and a half, and am happy to report Apple has made progress on my biggest problem with its watch—that it is just too slow. Promised battery life remains at 18 hours, something Apple will need to address in upcoming generations given that rival smartwatches are promising more.

Then there’s new watch faces (including Live Photos, the gorgeous moving images Apple showed off with the new iPhones), third-party complications, Time Travel view, more Siri functionality, and nightstand mode, along with smaller tweaks like the ability to use multiple colors in a Digital Touch sketch. Launching Apple’s own apps such as stocks or weather from a glance screen now takes a bit less time than the seconds that used to painfully creep by. The operating system needs only 1.3 GB of hard drive space to install, so people with 16 GB phones won’t have to delete a ton of apps to make room for the update. (By contrast, iOS 8 took a little over 4.5 GB of space to install.) If your device doesn’t have quite enough space to upgrade, iOS 9 can temporarily delete some apps, then automatically reinstall them when everything is finished. If you really want to get fancy, you can set a time-lapse video from a handful of global metropolitan cities — or from Mack Lake, which I can only guess is an Apple executive’s favorite vacation spot — as your default face. For most of last week, in fact, I had my Apple Watch face set to a time-lapse of Hong Kong, a wonderfully unpolluted little video of Hong Kong, even though I don’t live there.

Other new features include updates to Siri, support for third-party workouts, new communications tools like replying directly from email notifications, and a nightstand mode that lets it work as an alarm clock when it’s charging. The update comes as Apple Inc. pulled several Chinese apps, including the popular WeChat, from its app store after third-party developers were tricked into inserting malicious code into their apps.

The malicious software isn’t believed to affect the watch’s functionality, though it could collect data on the tethered iPhone and send them to remote servers, according to security experts. There’s also an automatic low-power mode that freezes animations and stops apps from refreshing in the background, letting you squeeze a little more life out of your battery once it falls below ten percent.

It’s a testament to Apple’s marketing philosophy that it can take an action like “scrolling through my calendar” and name it “Time Travel” like it will wirelessly unlock the DeLorean that has magically appeared in your driveway; but that’s what it is. None of these apps were available in time to test, but the arrival of this capability suggests we’ll soon see an improvement over the anemic third-party apps that launched with the watch in the spring. These kind of localised city images are nothing new – Samsung used to have elegant animations of London and New York which would automatically switch as you moved from one country to another. Users should delete any Chinese apps they got or updated recently from their iPhones and iPads and get new versions from the app store once they are available.

With certain watch faces — like Modular — you can now use the digital crown to roll forward or backward in time and see corresponding events in your calendar. The release states, somewhat coyly, that “walk-in customers … are encouraged to arrive early” – a suggestion that will certainly be taken just as seriously as in years past, when the truly dedicated have waited in line for days to buy a new iPhone. Meanwhile, the Watch face complications – the smaller visual elements that show the date, weather, moon phases and other information – have been enhanced. If you’re using a sports app, you can see times for upcoming games; if you’re using a news app, you can see news updates from earlier that morning, and so on. Again, I haven’t been able to try these third-party applications, but in my limited testing on watch faces, this was a fast, fluid, and useful feature.

During my most recent marathon, my usually reliable Garmin GPS had me going faster than two minutes a mile at one point — more than three times as fast as the winners. I was able to say things like, “Hey Siri, I want to go for a run,” and Siri would open the watch’s native workout app, which meant I didn’t have to fat-finger a bunch of tiny app icons to open the app myself. And since Apple’s Maps app includes public transit directions in iOS 9, I could say to Siri, “Hey Siri, transit directions to San Francisco,” and the watch would show transit directions to the city. It’s clearly the early days of watchOS 2, despite the fact that Apple has been teasing the update since its giant developers conference this past June. A lot of people would say — and I agree — that this third-party app experience is even more crucial to the watch’s success than the native apps.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how health and fitness apps actually patch into the native sensors of the watch (like the heart rate sensor) and whether that improves the overall experience with my favorite third-party fitness apps. It’s still not a match for the mighty Citymapper – which even tells you which carriage of the train to board for a speedy exit at the other end – but surely that will come. The aluminum version of Watch — the $349 one — now comes in two new colors, gold (which is really more like pale sand or white gold) and rose gold (not pink, but you know, pink!).

All of which may lead you to ask: “Will this upgrade be the thing that convinces me to get an Apple Watch?” If you’ve been holding off on getting an Apple Watch because you thought the new software would change everything, the answer to that question is probably “no,” at least for now. Don’t get me wrong, Apple Watch is still very good at what it’s good at: it shows you near-immediate notifications, nudges you to exercise, and carries a certain cachet that few, if any, other pieces of wearable tech can claim.

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