With watchOS 2, the Apple Watch comes into its own | Techno stream

With watchOS 2, the Apple Watch comes into its own

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

With watchOS 2, the Apple Watch comes into its own.

I’ve been wearing an Apple Watch (gold finish over aluminum alloy, $399) running watchOS 2 for the better part of a week and while it is an improvement, there were virtually no third-party apps ready to test on it. Of Apple’s own Watch apps, only two — Stocks and Weather — are now “native,” and I have to admit, the change wasn’t particularly noticeable. By the way, if you’ve been eagerly awaiting the big update, then you know that we all had to play the waiting game as Apple postponed Wednesday’s release to deal with an unexpected bug.

The aluminum-alloy Sport model now has gold and rose gold finishes, a variety of new bands and even the new Hermès models that feature impressive leather bands, the word “Hermès” etched on the back and custom Hermès watch faces. As always, it’s what’s inside that counts, and even though Apple didn’t change any of the components, the Apple Watch has a slew of new and useful tricks thanks to watchOS 2, which releases today and is available for all current Apple Watch owners. The best way to think about watchOS 2 is that it puts the watch more firmly in control of the experience, making it somewhat less reliant on your Bluetooth-tethered iPhone. Offering far more active watch faces, many of which offer more live information and, when the third-party apps arrive, more watch-face integration options for third-party companies like CNN and MLB, both of which are this close to releasing updated Watch apps.

You access watchOS 2’s preloaded Time-lapse faces by pressing down harder on your existing watch face until your feel the Force Touch vibration, then you can swipe though additional face options. Once you select one, the watch face will run through the time-lapse video when you lift your wrist and or tap the watch face (you can now set, in the Watch app, how long the watch stays active when you tap it — 15 or 70 seconds).

Time Travel takes the extra bits of information on your Apple Watch face, like temperature and your calendar, and lets you scroll forward and back in time using the digital crown on the side of the watch. Even though I couldn’t use the Time Travel with third-party apps, I found it most useful for seeing what the temperature would be when I usually leave the office at around 5:30 p.m. and for figuring out if I had a a mid-morning meeting the next day. She can be listening for the magic words, “Hey Siri.” Before you get started, you’ll have to setup the new “Hey Siri” functionality on your iOS 9 device (iPhone 5S and up). Also you do have to raise your wrist to wake up the watch and, unlike the iPhone, which can be trained to your voice, Apple watchOS 2 will – at least in my tests — listen to anyone who says “Hey Siri.” You can use “Hey Siri” to ask for the new transit directions.

Then I said “Transit direction to Carnegie Hall.” Siri understood me both indoors and about 75% of the time outdoors on New York City’s busy streets. Unfortunately, aside from Weather and Stocks (which did not gain much benefit from the switch to native), I did not get the opportunity to try out new third-party apps, but did see some watchOS 2 native apps in action.

I saw it work with the spoken word, which means the app uses the watch’s microphone and then the watch spoke the translated text, which means the app uses the Apple’ Watch’s speaker. It will also, according to iTranslate, use Time Travel to show you phrases that you may want to use at different times of the day, for the region you’re in. You can’t always, at a glance, see where the apps are, and at that size some look very similar. (Weather and OneDrive are good examples.) I actually like Samsung’s Gear S2 circular app interface better. Adds more life to Apple Watch screen • Time Travel is genius • ‘Hey Siri’ is fun and useful • Access to native Apple Watch hardware could transform apps

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