Apple Watch Apps Booming, But Display Toughness Questioned - InformationWeek

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IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
4/22/2015
12:07 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Apple Watch Apps Booming, But Display Toughness Questioned

The Apple Watch will have no shortage of apps available out of the gate, but the most popular model is also the most susceptible to damage, according to tests.

10 Apple Watch Apps: Which Ones Will You Use?
10 Apple Watch Apps: Which Ones Will You Use?
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

The Apple Watch officially and finally arrives on Friday, at least for some people. Those lucky enough to place a preorder for an April 24 delivery should receive their wearable shortly, but many Watch orders won't ship until May or June.

Developers have been busy preparing apps, and the Apple Watch is primed to be a big hit. There's a concerning report about the glass, however, that may cause problems for Apple.

Apple has approved about 4,000 third-party applications for the Apple Watch so far, according to Trip Chowdhry at Global Equities Research. Stand-outs include Instagram, Uber, and Yo. Some 70% of developers are using Apple's new Swift programming language and they're going gaga for the Taptic Touch technology. Taptic Touch responds to specific increments of pressure, rather than just registering taps.

Believe it or not, Microsoft is among the many developers taking aim at Apple's wearable.

Owners of the Apple Watch will be able to tap into their OneDrive cloud storage from their wrist, as well as control PowerPoint presentations. The Watch will let presenters move through their slides, see the elapsed presentation time, and even check the total number of slides in any given deck. Microsoft continues to deliver good stuff to competing platforms.

There's a shadow lurking in the corner, though, and it may become a big headache for the watchmaker.

Remember Bend-gate, when videos of people bending their iPhone 6 Plus popped up all over YouTube? Prepare yourself for Scratch-gate. A new video from the same team that brought you bent iPhones reveals just how easy it is to scratch the glass of the Apple Watch Sport.

The Apple Watch comes in three models: Sport, Watch, and Watch Edition. The Sport has what Apple calls Ion-X Glass, while the Watch and Watch Edition have sapphire displays. Sapphire is incredibly resistant to scratching, so owners of the Watch and Watch Edition likely won't have anything to worry about.

The Sport? Well, that's another matter.

Unbox Therapy got its hands on the Ion-X display component for the Apple Watch. Unbox Therapy put the display through several scratch tests using a key, a knife, steel wool, and two different types of sandpaper. The Ion-X glass resisted the key, knife, and steel wool easily with no visible marks. The sandpaper, on the other hand, absolutely wrecked the Ion-X glass.

[Read about Apple and healthcare.]

It's fair to say the Apple Watch will rarely -- if ever -- come into contact with keys, knives, steel wool, and sandpaper. There are some everyday scenarios, however, that could replicate the damage done by sandpaper to the Ion-X glass. Consider how often you bang your watch into things as you walk around. Some of those things could have a rough texture akin to sandpaper, such as stucco walls.

We'll soon know just how resistant to scratches the Apple Watch Sport truly is. The Sport is the least expensive of the Apple Watch variants, and is therefore expected to be the most popular. Some estimates place preorders for the Sport model at 62% of the total.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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impactnow
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impactnow,
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4/27/2015 | 12:05:24 PM
Re: Whats the point

 

I think in many ways watch is a misnomer for what Apple is trying to accomplish. They are really looking for a wearable version of an iPhone whether this is it I am not sure. This may be an item that looks good but ends up in a drawer very quickly.

Watches in the traditional sense were timepieces and really a piece of jewelry. This is definitely not that!

impactnow
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impactnow,
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4/23/2015 | 2:35:19 PM
Re: Yet one more device
The question is will it work with a scratch. Any walk around the mall will show people still usng their phones with shattereed screens. Will the watch still function with wear and tear scratches? I am sure their will be an aftermarket provider addressing these scratches asap.
impactnow
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impactnow,
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4/22/2015 | 12:40:17 PM
Yet one more device

I am sure there will be some tweaking required from the initial model but I think scratching is just one issue. Overall usability and batter life is yet to be seen. I am anxious to see what actual consumers say and how this will fit into our already crowded cadre of devices.

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