The Apple Watch: What Can it Do?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on March 24, 2015, Reviews

With the Apple Watch release just weeks away, people are already registering to get first dibs at one of the devices. After months of rumours we’re finally getting a solid idea of what the Apple Watch is actually going to be able to do, so we’re here to tell you what’s what so that you can decide whether this is a great investment for you or not. Think you might be in the market for a little wearable tech? Then read on to find out more.

The Apple What?

Just in case you’ve been cut off from technology for the last few months, let’s hit the basics of the Apple Watch before we look at it in detail. In simple terms, the Apple Watch is a smart watch, just like the ones made by Pebble, Samsung and Sony. But this is an Apple device, rather obviously. The watch is going to be available in two sizes, 42 mm and 38 mm, designed for men and women. The face of the watch is square, with rounded corners. Right now there are around 38 different designs for the watch, depending on the casing that you choose, the colour and the band you want. All in all, fashion wise the Apple Watch is going to be pretty flexible.

Need to Know Info

The Apple Watch is touch screen, though it also has a button on the side that seems to act in much the same way as the scroll wheel on an iPod. In terms of charging, Apple have come up with a clever little design that lets the Watch’s charger connect magnetically to the back of the watch itself, so there’s no need for charging ports. Battery life isn’t expected to be brilliant on first generation models, though Apple are being notoriously shady with exact details, but you should be able to get a full day’s use between charges.

The exact price point for the Apple Watch hasn’t been released yet, but given the price point of other Apple products you can expect to be paying around £300, depending on the model you choose and the style options you go for. In order to use the Apple Watch you’re going to need an iPhone, obviously, and so far the Watch is compatible only with the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6 and 6 Plus models, though there’s some compatibility with iPads too.

Alright, there’s the need to know stuff, so what about the important question? What can the Apple Watch actually do?

Instant Contact

The primary use of the Apple Watch for most people is probably going to be its notification abilities. You can choose to have sound reminders, or tactile (vibrating) reminders sent from your phone to your watch. This means that you can see who’s calling, who texted you, what the subject line of that email or the basics of that Facebook status were, all without having to take your phone out of your pocket. For many of us, this convenience is more than enough to warrant having an extra piece of tech around.

Of course, alarms, calendar reminders and app reminders can also all go through your watch. And you can talk to Siri too- asking her to perform actions on your phone without actually having to grab your phone from wherever it is. So far, not too bad. But there’s more…

App Control

By downloading a companion app to your smart phone, you will be able to control several simplified apps from your wrist. There are a few of these that have already been announced, including Maps, iMessenger, Calendar, Mail, Weather and even the shutter button for the camera. How well these apps are going to translate to the small screen of the Apple Watch remains to be seen, though with Siri’s voice technology constantly improving the ability to dictate an email rather than actually write it on screen is going to be a bonus.

Health apps are kind of a big deal on the Apple Watch too, since it includes a built in heart rate monitor that will be able to send info to your fitness apps as you’re exercising, in much the same way as, say, a Nike Fuel Band does. There are sure to be a whole slew of Apple Watch ready apps being released after the watch’s launch date, though the majority of these are probably going to be mini versions of regular apps, rather than all new ones.

What Else Has it Got?

There are a couple more features that are worthy of mention. For the real Apple fans out there, who have the whole set of Apple tech, your watch will also be able to control your Apple TV (which will take the pain out of trying to find the remote).

One thing that isn’t a big deal now, but soon will be, is that unlike a lot of other smart watches, the Apple Watch is NFC equipped. Basically, that means that you will be able to connect your watch to your Apple Wallet and use it as a payment system. In the UK that payment system isn’t quite in place yet (though it’s already being rolled out in the States), but expect to be able to pay for your coffee with your watch in the not too distant future.

The Apple Watch can also hook onto your phone’s internet connection, and that means you can use it to control home tech, if you happen to be set up with digital thermostats and the like. Oh, and you can use it as a music player too, which is definitely more convenient than having to get your phone every time you want to change tracks.

What’s the Verdict?

Despite the fact that the Apple Watch hasn’t been released yet, it’s already clear that this is going to be the must have gadget of the year. And it certainly promises an added layer of convenience for iOS users. Whether that convenience is worth paying the high price for is debatable. Right now the Apple Watch is pretty much just a remote control for your phone that means that you don’t need to have your mobile on your desk all the time. However, the release of a new Apple product does tend to inspire developers to get creative, and chances are that it won’t be long until we see some pretty nifty little apps that make full use of the Apple Watch’s capabilities. So, worth buying? If you’re looking into investing in future tech, it could well be.