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FAQ: Everything you need to know about the Apple Watch

Caitlin McGarry, Susie Ochs | March 12, 2015
Catch up on everything we know about the Apple Watch before its April 24 debut.

Below the Digital Crown, you'll find a button, which Apple simply refers to as "the Button." Press it to access the Friends app, which brings up a Contacts-style collection of the people you like to stay in touch with. Tapping a picture of a friend lets you send them a message, make a phone call, or make contact with the Apple Watch's Digital Touch features (which we'll talk about below).

You can touch and tap on the screen too, but if you recall using the sixth-generation iPod nano (the little square one from 2010 that you could buy watch bands for, remember?), the size of your fingertip is bound to obscure part of what you're trying to tap. That's why the Digital Crown is there, to let you navigate the Apple Watch while still being able to see the entire screen.

That said, there's one gesture that works pretty well on even a watch-sized screen--swiping. Swipe up from the clock face to see little bits of information--your calendar, your location, current weather data, and so forth. Apple calls these "glances," and they strip out the most relevant information from apps and put them into a form you can digest just by looking at your Watch's screen.

When you do touch the Apple Watch, its screen can actually distinguish between a regular tap, which you'll use to select things, and a harder touch, which is how you'll access contextual menus--kind of like right-clicking with your mouse. Apple calls this technology Force Touch, and it's enabled by tiny electrodes in the display. Check out our hands-on video for a glimpse of how the Digital Crown, Digital Touch, and Glances work in real life.

Can the Apple Watch do anything my iPhone can't do on its own? Apple showed off a really cool-looking feature called Digital Touch, as we mentioned above, that you can use with other Apple Watch wearers. Digital Touch lets you tap out a pattern on your watch face, which your friend will see and feel on his or her own Apple Watch. You can also draw each other little pictures. And if you hold down two fingers in Digital Touch, you can send your heartbeat, which shows up on your friend's watch as a glowing, pulsing heart. This might encourage couples to buy his-and-hers watches so they can let each other know anytime how their hearts flutter for each other... or pound like hammers when they get really mad.

Can I use the Apple Watch to pay for things? Yep! The Apple Watch has near-field communication, or NFC, technology, just like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. That means you can wave your watch near an NFC-equipped payment terminal to pay, just like you would your new-model iPhone.

 

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