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Hands-on: 48 hours with the Apple Watch

Michael deAgonia | May 4, 2015
It's seemed like a long wait from when rumors of the Apple Watch first emerged two years ago to April 10, 2015, when Apple began accepting pre-orders. I was one of the lucky early purchasers and my Watch has finally arrived. So was all that anticipation worth it?

The other important technology is the Force Touch display, which offers access to settings or other hidden options via touch screen when you press down on the screen more firmly. (It's the same haptic feedback technology used in the new MacBook's trackpad.) I found it worked well in daily use. Force Touch provides access to a variety of options without cluttering up the interface with superfluous icons or menus.

Getting started

The initial setup and pairing process is pretty slick, even for Apple. After I removed the Watch from its casing and pressed the side button, startup took about a minute. Once the Watch boots up for the first time, you then have to tap the screen to select a language. It then needs to be paired — for that, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have to be enabled on the iPhone. Tap on the Start Pairing buttons on both devices, and the process is initiated.

At this point, a "swirling dust" animation begins on the Watch. On the iPhone, the rear camera is activated and a Watch-sized square appears on the screen. You have to align the Watch display within this square to initiate the link. Once the two devices are linked, the iPhone displays a similar animation that syncs up with the one on the Watch.

Apple has provided videos and a user's guide to help new owners get started.

If you were anticipating its arrival as much as I was, you're likely already aware that the Watch is designed to offer quicker access through Watch apps to functions you'd normally do on the phone, such as receiving notifications and alerts, and to track fitness and health goals.

Customization and personalization is key to using the Watch, but customizing the various faces and application settings can feel daunting and even a little overwhelming at first. There are so many configuration options available — and that's before you take into account third-party Apps and Glances.

The Watch comes with a variety of faces, most of which can be tweaked by force-pressing the face and tapping Customize. But you need to use the Watch app on the iPhone to configure app preferences. There are default settings in place on the iPhone app to help get you up and running as quickly as possible — mostly by mimicking the way your iPhone apps are configured — and that's probably the best way to proceed at first. Over time, you can then decide which apps you need, and which notifications you want; I found that I had to cut down considerably on the number of notifications I'd allow to interrupt my day.

 

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