The Apple Watch debuted last April, but to some decidedly mixed industry reviews. Geoffrey A. Fowler, personal technology columnist with The Wall Street Journal, opined, “if you can tolerate single-day battery life, half-baked apps and inevitable obsolescence, you can now wear the future on your wrist.”
Fowler makes it clear the gadget does offer some neat functions—message dictation, Apple Pay, Siri, weather/news updates, e-mail monitoring, taking photos and answering calls—but he leaves his review hoping to “see a significant improvement roll in before too long.”
Well, Apple must have heard Mr. Fowler because on September 21st the tech giant rolled out its long-awaited operating system watchOS 2, five days later than planned after developers found a bug at the last minute. Anyway, the update greatly improves the smartwatch’s capabilities, including smoother and faster processing of third-party applications, which bogged down original processing times, frustrating just about every one of its users. Also, Apple Watch users now can happily run native apps directly, instead of having to fuss with them through their iPhone.
NEW FEATURES ABOUND
The new tweaks to watchOS 2 offer faster app launches, haptic feedback, improved standalone properties, Digital Crown, accelerometer, heart rate sensor, speaker, and microphone. Other features include:
Time-lapse. Choose from a selection of dazzling time-lapse videos shot over 24 hours in iconic locations around the world.
Photo. Pick a special image from the Photos app on your watch and set it as your watch face. And with the Live Photos feature, you’ll also see a beautiful animation of the motion before and after you took the photo.
Photo album. Every time you raise your wrist, a different image from your Favorites, or any album you select, will appear on your watch face.
Time travel. Turn the Digital Crown to see what’s happening — and what’s already happened — yesterday, today, and tomorrow. You can check the weather for today’s lunch date, as well as review your schedule for tomorrow.
Get transit information. When it comes to directions, Maps shows you the best route from your current location. Transit also lets you combine more kinds of transportation in a single trip. In select cities around the world, you’ll see detailed maps and accurate train, subway, and bus schedules.
Reply to email. The Friends feature on Apple Watch allows you to add multiple Friends screens, each of which can hold up to 12 contacts.
Apple Pay. You make purchases using store credit cards through Apple Pay.
Siri. Apple’s personal assistant responds to your voice as its command. Check your Glances, get transit information, look up a word in the dictionary, and calculate a tip.
Nightstand mode. After your day is done, you can connect the charger and Apple Watch will automatically go into Nightstand mode, a digital display that illuminates whenever you touch the screen, the Digital Crown, or the side button. Nightstand mode even changes how the watch buttons function. When an alarm sounds, you press the side button to turn it off, or the Digital Crown to snooze.
Mr. Fowler, presumably, your wish has been granted.