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Apple Watch: Big Questions Still Linger

by Todd Haselton | September 10, 2014September 10, 2014 7:30 am PST

Apple finally announced the Apple Watch yesterday, in addition to a mobile payment service, the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus and more.

The company showed some of the device’s functionality for a bit, its design just a tad, and told us that we can expect three different models (Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Edition) each with two different display sizes. We know the watch is launching in early 2015, but the company still very much left us in the dark.

We already talked about our five favorite features, but there are still many questions that remain and here are just a few.

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Battery Life

This is a big one. How long will the Apple Watch last on a single charge?

One of the main problems with Android Wear is that most of the units on the market today get about a day of life max. Other products like the Pebble Steel and Pebble are much better, but they employ eInk displays that don’t chug battery juices. The Apple Watch has a full color touchscreen that will no doubt suck the device’s battery dry, at least if other smartwatches are any example.

Can the Apple Watch get through at least a day of battery life, or more? That’s going to be a major selling point if it can.

Pricing Details

Apple only told us yesterday that the Apple Watch will start at $349.

That’s presumably for the Apple Watch Sport which has a rubber wristband instead of the metal options offered by its more expensive brethren. Also, we assume that applies only to the smaller of the two watch faces. How high will the price go, for example, if someone wants to buy the gold model with the largest screen possible?

Apple hasn’t said yet, but it’s certainly going to limit the number of people who are going to dive in for the watch.

Visibility in Sunlight

We had a chance to check out the Apple Watch in person yesterday and it was bright enough in Apple’s controlled environment, but what about outdoors?

The first crop of Android Wear watches, including the G Watch and the Gear Live, were hardly visible under direct sunlight. Again, the Pebble has a leg up in this department with its eInk screen, which is much more readable in the brightest of conditions. If Apple is selling this as a lifestyle product and a sport/fitness device, it’s going to need to be bright enough to see outdoors.

After all, what good are maps, access to Siri and notifications if you can’t see anything?

Software Controls

Here’s another big question that remains: how well will we be able to control the notifications and software on the Apple Watch from iOS?

We haven’t yet had a look at the companion app, and the Apple Watch on display yesterday was simply looping through many of the features it will offer. We need to see how well we can control things like notifications, what kind of software management features there are, how well it works with mobile payments and all of the other features Apple promises it will do well.

It all looks great on paper and in demo videos, but we need to hold judgement until we see for ourselves.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of other questions that still remain.

Will app developers flock to the Apple Watch and create must-have apps that make the device stand out more against the competition? What can we expect to pay for these apps? Can we manage them on our device better than we can with Android Wear, which basically just offers an Android Wear component to existing Android apps?

We have some time to learn more about this, and as developers dig through WatchKit we hope our questions get answered one by one.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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