The Apple Watch represents a completely new product for both Apple and customers who might consider preordering one April 10. So it makes sense that the company is trying to find as many ways as possible to outline what its latest device can do.
Apple has started rolling out guided tour videos of its smartwatch. The first four Apple Watch videos appeared on the company's website April 3 and cover the Messages app, the Digital Touch feature, and the different watchfaces available to users.
Here's what we learned from watching the first four guided tour videos.
Gestures and Force Touch
It's probably not surprising on a device with only two buttons -- the Digital Crown and a Friends button just below it -- but your fingers will do much of the walking when it comes to controlling the Apple Watch. Apple's videos give a better sense of the new controls you'll need to master.
You'll swipe up to see Glances, which are bite-zied snippets of content from apps that you access the most, like weather or stocks or sports scores. You'll swipe down to see any missed notifications.
The videos also go into greater detail on Force Touch, in which you press firmly on the Apple Watch's pressure-sensitive display to access additional controls. You'll use a Force Touch in the Messages app, for example, to bring up reply options. A Force Touch in Maps lets you search for locations.
Get to Know the Digital Crown
When you're not swiping or pressing firmly on the Apple Watch's screen, you'll likely be using the Digital Crown to control the device if Apple's videos are anything to go by. Apple compares it to the scroll wheel on its old iPod music player. You'll use the Digital Crown instead of a finger to scroll through information -- Apple points out that not only does this mean you'll be able to control the speed of scrolling, you'll also be able to read the Apple Watch screen without your finger getting in the way.
The Apple Watch videos showcase some of the other Digital Crown features, such as how it's used to zoom in on photos, since the pinch-to-zoom gesture common for iOS devices isn't practical on such a small screen. Pressing the Digital Crown will summon up all the apps on your Apple Watch, and pressing and holding it activates the Siri voice assistant. (The introductory Apple Watch video also notes that Siri is voice-activated when you raise your wrist, so be prepared to see a lot of Apple Watch wearers making like Dick Tracy and talking into the device.)
You'll Use the Apple Watch App a Lot
Many iOS users groaned when the iOS 8.2 update added an undeletable Apple Watch app to their iPhones. But if you're an Apple Watch adopter, you're going to spend plenty of time in that app. Not only does it have an App Store feature for adding watch-compatible apps, it's also where you'll manage some of the information that's accessible on the Apple Watch.
For instance, you manage which friends appear when you press the dedicated Friends button through the Apple Watch app. Friends pop up in a circle with their initials on the watchface; you use the Digital Crown to scroll to the friend you want to call or message.
You can also use the Apple Watch app to customize a list of tailored responses to send to people in the Messages app. Those are just two examples from the videos released so far, but it seems like the Apple Watch app on your smartphone will play more of a management role than you might have figured.
How to Customize the Look of Your Watch
Apple had previously talked up the ability to personalize the Apple Watch's watchface, but a 2-minute video called Faces details just how much you can change around. Pressing on the current watchface brings up a Faces gallery where you swipe until you find the look that you want. You can then tap to select that design as your watchface or hit the customize button to tweak the look and feel even further.
Drilling down into the customization screen, dots at the top of the screen show how many customization options you have, while a green outline shows you the area you're able to change. You can add hour and minute numbers, change the color, and place different at-a-glance items around the watchface to display things like the current temperature, your next appointment, or a digital readout of the time. Tapping any of those areas takes you to a corresponding app.
More on Digital Touch
The Apple Watch's Digital Touch capabilities are entirely new to Apple devices -- and smartwatches, really -- so it makes sense that Apple would dedicate an entire video just to explaining the feature. Digital Touch is a communication option within the Friends app. If your contact also has an Apple Watch, a Digital Touch icon that looks like a pointing finger will appear with the icons for making a call or sending a text message.
Your Digital Touch messaging options include drawing a sketch that will animate on your friend's watch exactly as you draw it on yours. You can also send a tap, which your friend will feel in the same pattern that you tap it on your Apple Watch. Place two fingers on the screen, and you'll send your friend a digital representation of your heartbeat.
Apple will start taking orders for the Apple Watch on April 10, with delivery slated for April 24. The watch will also go on display at Apple retail stores on April 10, giving you the opportunity to try on the watch yourself. Prices start at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport, with the standard Apple Watch costing between $549, and $1,049. The high-end Apple Watch Edition and its different shades of gold start at $10,000.
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