Tag Archives: Apple Watch

10 Apps for Your Smartwatch

By Chantal Bechervaise

Smartwatches, like smartphones, are technological tools that can help you to be more productive, efficient and get more out of your day. They can also help improve your health by tracking fitness goals. But Smartwatches can do more than send email, answer your phone, and monitor your fitness. The number of apps that are available for smartwatches keeps growing, and whether you are an Apple Watch or Android Wear fan, there are apps out there for all your needs.

Here are 10 smartwatch apps to try out. Some may only be available for Apple Watch or Android Wear, and some are available for both.



If you are located in a city that is supported by Citymapper, this is a must-have app. Citymapper provides clear and precise instructions on how to get from place to place using public transportation. There is A to B journey planning, real-time info on all modes of transport (next departures and line status), integration with Uber and Hailo, weather alerts, and everything you need and may not even realize that you need to manage your life in the city.

Platform: Apple Watch, Android Wear
Cost: Free


Sleep as Android

sleep250Common alarm clocks ignore your sleep cycles; they wake you on schedule even if you are currently in your deep sleep cycle. Waking up from a deep sleep is unpleasant, it makes you tired and it may negatively affect your productivity during for the day. Sleep as Android is different. It tracks your sleep to find the optimal moment for you to wake up. It will wake you during your light sleep cycle. This app also graphs your sleep and shows you an analysis of your sleep patterns and cycles.

Platform: Android Wear
Cost: Free for a two week trial, then you need to purchase an unlock code for $4.45

Sleep Time

This app is similar to the Android one mentioned above. Sleep Time uses Sleep Lab™ with sleep cycle analysis and provides detailed monthly and weekly graphs and an advanced wake-up optimization algorithm.

Platform: Apple Watch
Cost: Free version or you can upgrade to premium for $4.99 per month



yum-yum250Yum-Yum! displays step-by-step instructions for cooking more than 1,000 recipes, all developed by real chefs. The app provides pictures of all the dishes and an advanced shopping list and then guides you step by step through the cooking process. Once you have finished preparing the food, the watch switches into timer mode so you know exactly the right time to serve.

Platform: Apple Watch
Cost: Free (includes in-app purchases)



shazam250Shazam is one of the world’s most popular apps and it is available for your Apple Watch too. If you don’t know the name of a song you don’t have to pull out your phone. You can launch the app on your Apple Watch and wave your arm around to find out a song’s title and even the lyrics should you feel the need to sing along!

Platform: Apple Watch
Cost: Free

Productivity Apps

IFTTT (If This Then That)

IFTTT saves time by automating different everyday actions with the use of ‘recipes’. For example, there is a recipe for when you like a photo on Instagram or you can find recipes to control your Nest thermostat. Android Wear users have a channel with recipes specifically designed for smartwatches. (https://ifttt.com/android_wear). IFTTT is available on Apple Watch with Do Button and Do Note apps.

Platform: Apple Watch, Android Wear
Cost: Free


I love making lists and staying organized. Todoist is a simple to-do list and task manager. You can bring up any of your lists on your smartwatch and check off items as you go. Perfect for grocery shopping!

Platform: Android Wear
Cost: Free (has in-app purchases)


Workflow is your personal automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows on your Apple Watch. Workflow includes over 200 actions, including those for Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, and iCloud Documents.

Platform: Apple Watch
Cost: $4.99

Games (You won’t be able to put them down because they are attached to your arm!)


triviacrack250Triviacrack is a streamlined version of Trivial Pursuit. You play against other online opponents or friends and choose trivia questions from 6 different categories. As you answer questions correctly, you collect characters that can be used as little avatars. Once a game starts, it can be played entirely on Apple Watch.

Platform: Apple Watch
Cost: Free

Tetrocrate 3D

This game brings back lots of memories for me. It is a falling brick game that challenges you to drag blocks around, spin them and land them to fill spaces without leaving gaps. When you create a gap free line, it disappears.

Platform: Android Wear
Cost: Free

Do you have other great apps to try for smartwatches? Please leave a comment below with your suggestions.

CBechervaise67Chantal is located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is passionate about everything related to the World of Work: Leadership, HR, Social Media and Technology. You can read more from Chantal at her TakeItPersonelly blog or follow her on Twitter @CBechervaise.

Mobile Payment Options

By Tracey Dowdy

Despite the fact that virtual wallets have been around for a while, we’ve been slow to jump onboard. In fact, according to a study by the Federal Reserve, only 13 percent of consumers use their mobile devices to pay at restaurants or retailers. Why is that? About half of us trust our phones for mobile banking, so why have we been hesitant to take advantage of a mobile wallet?

On the plus side, it’s a simple process. You download an app, enter your credit card information, and when you’re ready to make a purchase, simply open the app and have the cashier scan your device or tap it on the pad.

Experts say mobile payments are safer than a magnetic strip debit or credit card, which holds your name, card number and expiration date encoded on the stripe without protection. Most apps generate a unique bar code for each transaction instead of transmitting your card information, and going one step further, Apple Pay doesn’t even store credit card data. New, more secure debit and credit cards are set to launch in October, but until then virtual wallets seem to be a safer option.

On the downside, you can’t use mobile payment options everywhere. Despite developers best efforts, not every retailer and restaurant can or will accept mobile payments. Of all the options, Google Wallet and Apple Pay are the most widely accepted, but with retailers like Target and Wal-Mart launching their own versions, it appears no one system will be universal.

Here’s a look at some of the major players so you can decide if mobile payments are right for you.

Apple Pay

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus come with an NFC (Near Field Communication) chip embedded in the top of the device as well as an SE (Secure Element) chip that generates a one-use code (a token) for every transaction instead of transmitting your debit or credit card number. The token can’t be used again for subsequent purchases and is only matched to your card by the bank. The iPad Mini and iPad Air 2 also come with Apple Pay but don’t have NFC, so you’ll only be able to use them for in-app purchases.

iPhone 5 and older users will need an Apple Watch to use Apple Pay, since the watch is tethered to the phone and will use your Touch ID to make purchases. The app works in Airplane mode, uses a fingerprint reader for added security and is supported by roughly 300 banks in the U.S. The Apple Pay website reminds us that Apple never sees details of your purchases and provides a complete list of participating banks both in the U.S. and U.K.

Google Wallet

The second major player is Google Wallet, which in theory is similar to Apple Pay but in practice quite different. Using NFC technology, Google Wallet creates a MasterCard number unique to your phone. There’s no credit check and you won’t receive a physical card, only a number. When you pay, the retailer gets that number and the debit or credit card you’ve attached to the account is charged. However, unlike Apple Pay, Google Wallet sees every purchase you make. It also works as a peer-to-peer payment system, allowing you to transfer money to another account.


Your favorite one-click, online payment service is also getting into the mobile wallet game. The newest version has customers “check-in” when they enter a store that accepts PayPal payments, which then transmits your account details to the retailer. Cashing out is then as simple as telling the cashier you want to use PayPal. The store simply matches your account to your purchase. As an added plus, the app is available on Android, Apple and Windows Phones.

Android Pay

Google recently announced it will launch Android Pay as a second way to pay with your phone. Instead of opening an app, Android Pay will come with the phone, so payment is as simple as unlocking your phone and holding it near the terminal to complete your purchase; it’s as simple as tap and pay. If the store has a loyalty card, Android Pay will prompt you to use it.

According to Google, Android Pay is more secure as it doesn’t include your actual credit or debit card number with your payment but instead generates a virtual account number, thereby keeping your personal details safe. Android Pay will also make use of the native fingerprint recognition software coming in Android M (the next mobile operating system update), though it should work with NFC-equipped devices with Android 4.3 and above. Once launched, Android Pay will be for tap and pay, and Google Wallet will primarily be for peer-to-peer money transfers.

To paraphrase a quote loosely attributed to Mark Twain: If you don’t like the mobile payment options out there now, just wait six months. Retailers, developers and other major players are constantly working to improve the tools and draw you in. Mobile payment technology is certain to become more user friendly and secure as more consumers get onboard.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


5 Gadgets for Your Mobile Lifestyle

By Chantal Bechervaise

When someone says “work-life balance” what is your reaction? To a lot of people, it means making a choice or sacrificing one thing for another. I prefer the term “work-life integration,” as it is not simply picking one area of my life over another but adapting to priorities as they come up and making changes to my daily routine as needed.

Part of my work-life integration involves adopting a mobile lifestyle. I use technology to help me maximize my productivity and to help keep me organized. Technology helps me to focus on what is important in my life, whatever my priority may be at the time. I use technology to help me set and achieve work goals and to monitor and maintain health goals. It also allows me to stay connected to family and friends and enjoy my family time and ‘me’ time too.

I have come across several different tech gadgets that help me with my mobile lifestyle. Below are 5 gadgets that can keep you organized and on-the-go, so that you can focus on whatever is important to you.

Smartphone Power Boost Pen

power-penThis handy little device is more than just a writing implement. It will help keep you topped on for those times when you are about to run out of power but need to make a call or send an email.  The Smartphone Power Boost Pen is a portable backup power source that charges your iPhone, Blackberry or Android smartphone. All you need to do is separate the two halves and connect the universal charging cable, with its built-in Lightning, 30-Pin and Micro USB adapters. It provides 400 mAH, which is enough to charge a completely dead iPhone up to 33 percent battery life. That’s enough to keep you going until you can plug into a regular power source.

Available at: Sharper Image

Pyle’s 5 in 1 Multifunctional Rocket Torch Flashlight

rocket-torchThis cool tech gadget is a flashlight, Bluetooth speaker, call answer microphone, FM radio, SD card reader and AUX-in jack all wrapped up into one lightweight device. It is perfect for nearly any activity such as camping, traveling or relaxing on the beach. The Rocket Torch is water resistant and weighs less than a pound. A great travel companion wherever you go.

Available at: Pyle
Cost: $44.99

Satechi Smart Travel Router with USB Port

travel-routerThe Satechi Smart Travel Router / Travel Adapter with USB Port adapts to fit into four of the most common plug configurations used around the world and also features four different modes for your wireless networking needs. You can charge two devices at the same time using either an AC power port or a USB power port. This compact adapter is convenient for charging smartphones, laptops, music players, cameras, e-readers, handheld game consoles, tablets, and other devices. It can also be used as a router.

Available at: Amazon
Cost: $39.99 (sale)


chipoloHow much time do you spend each day looking for keys or other important things such as your wallet or purse? Chipolo is a simple to use, Bluetooth-based item finder for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 8.1 Devices. It also has a pre-drilled hole so that you can attach it to your key ring and is small enough to fit inside a wallet. After the initial set-up, the idea is that you are connected 24/7. If the item that the Chipolo is attached to goes out of range from your phone and disconnects, the app will pinpoint the last location on a map. It will also send you a push notification letting you know that your item may be lost. You can also attach the Chipolo to a collar to keep track of pets.

Available at: Chipolo
Cost: from $29.95

Smart watch

Apple unveils new gadgetsWhether you are a fan of the Pebble, Sony, LG, Motorola or Apple Watch, a smart watch is a great addition to your mobile lifestyle.  A smart watch can keep you hands free and is highly customizable. After trying two different models, I cannot imagine being without mine. I can check email notifications and respond with a few simple swipes, all without pulling my phone out of my purse. I also use my smart watch to track health goals, steps, calories burned and sleep patterns. Smart watches are the leaders in wearable technology and will continue to improve and dominate the market.

Available at: Amazon, Apple and others
Cost: Varies but anywhere from $200 and up

Do you have any other tech gadgets to add to the list that help you with your mobile lifestyle?

CBechervaise67Chantal is located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is passionate about everything related to the World of Work: Leadership, HR, Social Media and Technology. You can read more from Chantal at her TakeItPersonelly blog or follow her on Twitter @CBechervaise.

Pros and Cons of the Apple Watch

By Tracey Dowdy

Apple isn’t the first to offer a smart watch – Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and Pebble watches have been on the market for some time – but once again they’re hoping to change the game with the release of the Apple Watch.

Though the Watch was launched April 10th, buyers won’t be able to walk out with their watch until the 24th. With a price point starting at $349 and topping out at $17,000 – no that’s not a typo, $17,000 – consumers would be wise to consider what the Watch can and can’t do before handing over their debit cards.

To help you decide if the Watch is a toy or a tool, here’s a little of what you should know:


Sleek design – Design has always been an important feature of any Apple product and the Watch is no exception. Mimicking the style of the iPhone with its’ rounded corners and offering interchangeable straps, the Watch has either a sporty or more sophisticated look. Retina display is sharper than other smart watches and using the Digital Crown (a small knob on the side) allows users to scroll or zoom without blocking the screen.

Solid construction – The Apple Watch Sport offers scratch resistant Ion-X glass set in aluminum and the Apple Watch (stainless steel) and Apple Watch Edition (18k gold) have sapphire crystal display, which is heavier and more scratch-resistant.

Apps and Features – As wearable software, the Watch is loaded with useful and practical apps and even includes a few games. You can send and receive texts, dictate messages, listen to music with wireless Bluetooth headphones and even send your heartbeat, though why you’d want or need to remains something of a mystery to me.

Ability to send and receive calls – When paired with an iPhone 5 or 6, the Watch offers the capability to send and receive calls, including using the speakerphone, not something that will appeal to all users but certainly will for many.


Price – The relatively high price tag for even the least expensive option will be a deal breaker for many consumers. Starting at $349, the Apple Watch Sport is set in aluminum and offers a rubber strap in five color options. The Apple Watch starts at $549, is set in stainless steel, with leather, metal or rubber straps. The Apple Watch Edition is set in 18k gold, starts off at a whopping $10,000 and goes as high as $17,000.

Battery Life and charge time – With an estimated life of 18 hours, the Watch falls short of the Pebble and Galaxy Gear that promise as much as 36 hours of battery life. Remember, as with any tech, battery life depends on usage. A second complaint that’s been raised is the relatively slow charge time, common among some Apple products.

Needs iPhone 5 or later – Ultimately the Watch is an iPhone accessory, and given that it’s compatible only with iPhone 5 or 6, the number of potential users is significantly narrowed. Users need to be within Bluetooth range (approx. 30 ft.) of their phone or connected over Wi-Fi in order for the Watch to work.

Apple hasn’t launched a new product category since the iPad back in 2007 and it remains to be seen if the Watch will have a similar market impact.  One thing is certain, with this being the first generation of the Watch and with Apple’s commitment to staying at the cutting edge, the best is yet to come.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


Microsoft Band Sets a New Standard for Wearable Tech

Microsoft caught many people by surprise yesterday when it jumped into the wearable technology arena with the launch of Microsoft Band, a health and productivity device, which is worn around the wrist like a watch. Microsoft joins a crowded field, which includes the likes of Jawbone (UP24) and Fitbit (Flex and Zip), and which will soon see the arrival of Apple Watch.

Although heavier than most of the existing tech-inspired wristbands, Microsoft Band is sleek-looking and stylish, blending a heavy-duty rubberized strap with a black horizontal screen that lights up with a full-color display when activated. Although Microsoft Band is currently only available in black, there are three different sizes to fit even the largest or smallest of wrists.

Microsoft Band comes pre-charged, so you can use it right out of the box, but there is also a charging cable that snaps onto connectors on the inside of the wristband and plugs into a standard USB adaptor. When fully charged, Microsoft Band will last 48 hours with normal use, although activating features like GPS will inevitably cut into the battery life.

Once Microsoft Band is turned on, you can customize the color of the screen and also the background wallpaper. If you have one, you can sign in to your Microsoft account to populate your profile fields or you can enter them manually.

Microsoft Band is compatible with iOS 7.1 and 8, Windows Phone 8.1, and Android devices running 4.3 or later. I had a few problems pairing Microsoft Band with my Droid MAXX, as both devices wanted me to input different PINs, but they got on the same page after a few tries. As with most other Bluetooth devices, once you connect the first time they recognize each other and pair automatically after that.

Microsoft Band offers an impressive set of features, including built-in GPS, call-screening, the ability to read incoming e-mails and texts, a fully-synced calendar, a heart rate monitor, and more. But the key to making the most of Microsoft Band is Microsoft Health, an ambitious and superbly organized wellness app, which offers a wide selection of health and fitness tools.

With Microsoft Health you can set activity goals, monitor performance, track your heart rate and sleep patterns, choose from a wide range of different workouts, and even map your outdoor runs. The developers of Microsoft Health have clearly paid close attention to all the popular sports apps and have produced a winning combination of all the best features.

At $199, Microsoft Band is considerably more expensive than Jawbone’s UP24, the Fitbit Flex, or Nike’s Fuelband, but none of those devices can really compare with the style and functionality of this excellent new device. Microsoft may have been a late and unexpected arrival in the world of wearable technology, but now they are here they have undoubtedly raised the bar for everyone else!

Who Will Buy the Apple Watch?

[This updated article was originally published in September 2014.]

By Paul O’Reilly

Yesterday’s event in San Francisco cleared up a lot of uncertainties about Apple’s brand new Watch but still left many people wondering whether there is a significant market for wearable technology that basically mimics a few select smartphone features.

The Watch will come in three different finishes – stainless steel, anodized aluminum and 18-karat gold – and a range of different wristbands and clasps will allow users to personalize their Watches to suit their own individual tastes and styles. This emphasis on style is an indication of how Apple intends to market its new product, and could also be the first hint that establishing the Watch as a must-have device might not be the slam dunk that most people think it will be.

When Tim Cook first introduced the Watch back in September of 2014, he took great pains to let everyone know that the device would actually tell the time. In fact, the description of the Watch as “an incredibly precise timepiece” is one of the first things you see when you delve into the functionality of the device on Apple’s web site.

This surely reflects the belief that if Apple is going to have success with the Watch, they are first and foremost going to have to sell it as a timepiece rather that a wearable computer, and that could present some problems.

When the iPod first came out, most people didn’t have an MP3 player. Apple reinvented the portable music player and made a strong case why everyone should own one. Apple pulled off a similar trick with the iPhone and the iPad. Not everyone was sold on cell phones and tablets but Apple showed us why we needed them and we dutifully fell into line.

The problem is everyone already has a watch.

Not only will Apple be asking you to buy a new device, they will be asking you to ditch the device you already own, and if that device is a Rolex, a Patek Philippe or a Cartier, then you might not want to play ball. OK, not everyone owns a luxury watch but plenty of people own a watch they are very comfortable with, and unless you’re going to wear two watches – surely a fashion no-no, even for geeks – then you’re going to stick with what you know and like.

But what about all the software, GPS mapping, and other apps? Well, you already have all those on another device that you take with you everywhere you go: your smartphone. Apple is now asking you to purchase another device that does almost exactly the same things as your smartphone does, only not quite as well.

Instead of swiping and tapping your smartphone with both hands to send an email, find out what’s showing at the local multiplex, or get directions to a restaurant, you now have to use just one hand and play with an awkward side wheel to do the same thing. And didn’t Apple concede that we prefer big screens with the introduction of the iPhone 6 Plus?

Of course, the Watch has a strong emphasis on health and fitness, which continues to be the single strongest selling point for wearable technology. Sensors in the back of the Watch will track your every move, suggesting fitness goals and monitoring performance. However, there are already lots of wearable fitness devices on the market and the user experience has been mixed. People tend to wear them a lot during the first few days and weeks, and then use tails off dramatically after that. For runners, cyclists and workout fanatics, the Watch is probably a dream come true but that is clearly not the only audience that Apple is targeting with its new device.

So who will buy the Watch? The answer, of course, is millions of people, but much will depend on the reaction of early adopters. While the Sport edition will cost $349, the regular Watch starts at $549 and goes all the way up to $1,049. That’s a lot of money to give you the same functionality that you already have on your smartphone.

If we learned anything over the years, it’s not to bet against Apple. Despite the most intense competition, their devices remain the gold standard in nearly all categories, continuously winning accolades for both design and functionality. But the Watch faces a different set of obstacles: a watch industry that doesn’t need reinventing and a tech-savvy customer base that may finally decide it has all the gadgets it needs.

Follow Paul on Twitter @TheTechDad

Apple Introduces the iPhone 6 and More

Apple today unveiled two new iPhones, mostly confirming the rumors about bigger displays, a faster processor and a redesigned keyboard. But the new iPhones were just the beginning of a series of major announcements, which included the roll out of iOS 8, a brand new mobile payments system, and Apple Watch, the company’s highly-anticipated wearable device which will go on sale early next year.

Here’s a quick wrap-up of what we learned during today’s presentation:

New iPhones

As expected, Apple is introducing two new iPhones – the iPhone 6, which will have a 4.7-inch screen, and a larger 5.5-inch model which will be known as the iPhone 6 Plus. Both phones will showcase a new Retina HD display, featuring over 1 million pixels on the iPhone 6 and over 2 million pixels on the iPhone 6 Plus.

It was clear from today’s presentation that Apple spent many hours agonizing over the functionality of the bigger iPhones and was keen to adhere to a principle of Apple founder Steve Jobs, who believed that mobile phones should be capable of being operated with just one hand. Consequently, there are some new swipe and touch gestures included with the new iPhones, including a “Reachability” feature that allows users to quickly slide content to the bottom of the bigger screen.

Apple also gave assurances that the majority of the 1.3 million apps that are now in the App Store would look good on the bigger screens thanks to a “desktop-class” scaler that’s incorporated into the new devices.

Other enhancements include a brand new A8 second-generation 64 bit chip, which will improve processing speeds by up to 50 percent, an M8 motion coprocessor, which gathers data from advanced sensors, and a barometer, which can help health and fitness apps measure elevation and performance.

Camera enhancements include optimal image stabilization and a number of improvements to the iPhone’s video capability, including video stabilization and the ability to shoot slo-mo video at up to 240 frames per second. There will also be “burst mode” for the front-facing FaceTime camera, which will no doubt please the selfie generation!

The new iPhones come in gold, silver or space gray and start at $199 for the 16GB iPhone 6 and $299 for the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus. Responding to calls for more storage, Apple is skipping the 32GB version of both devices, instead jumping straight to a 64GB option followed by a brand new 128GB category.

Customers will be able to pre-order the new phones from September 12, with the ship and in-store date set for September 19. In keeping with previous discounting policies, the existing iPhone 5S will now be available from $99 and the iPhone 5C for free, both with two-year contracts.

iOS 8

Apple’s new mobile operating system features an all-new Photos app, which makes it simpler to search and organize your photos, plus an updated Messages app, which allows users to add voice to a message or quickly send a video.

There are also enhancements to the keyboard, improvements to the Health app, and more synchronization through iCloud, including the ability to start an e-mail on one device and finish it on another.

iOS 8 will be available for download on September 17 and is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod touch 5th generation, and later devices.

Apple Pay

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the presentation (apart from U2 giving away their new album on iTunes for free; more on that later) was the announcement of Apple’s new mobile payments system called Apple Pay. The surprise was not the fact that Apple was getting involved in payments – that information had been widely leaked before today’s event – but just how far along Apple is in terms of development and deployment.

Making a payment using Apple Pay will be as simple as placing your iPhone next a checkout reader and holding your finger on the Touch ID button. There are currently an estimated 220,000 US merchants featuring tap-to-pay devices at checkout with more coming on stream all the time. To facilitate utilization of its payments system, Apple has already made arrangements with dozens of well-known retailers, including McDonald’s, Macy’s, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Staples, Disney and Whole Foods. The payment system will even work online, with apps like OpenTable and Groupon displaying a Touch ID button within their apps.

If you have an iTunes account, Apple will automatically add your iTunes credit or debit card to Apple Pay on sign up, and entering additional payment options is as simple as taking a photo of the relevant card. Apple took great pains to stress that they will not be tracking users purchase or spending habits. Even the cashier won’t be able to see any information, including the customer’s name and address.

Apple Pay will only work with the new iPhones but it should be operational as soon as they are available.

Apple Watch

Last but not least was the much-anticipated announcement of Apple’s first foray into wearable technology through Apple Watch (not called iWatch as most people had speculated).

Although the square face of the Watch looks a lot like some of the other wearable tech devices that have appeared over the last few years, the Apple device can be customized to the nth degree. It comes in three different versions – Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition – and each version can be fitted with a multitude of different straps to “fit your tastes and personality.”

The Watch will feature an array of custom apps that will allow you to do everything from control your music to send an “I’m thinking of you” message to a loved one through a simple wrist tap. In fact much of the functionality of the Watch relies on Haptic technology – vibrations or taps that have a specific meaning. For example, the Watch’s GPS function can send a different turn right or turn left haptic, so you know where to go without even looking at the device itself.

Along with the usual tap-to-zoom and swipe gestures, the Watch features a control wheel or “Digital Crown” that resembles a large winding wheel on the side of the device. Pressing or turning the Digital Crown allows additional scrolling, as well as a quick way to get back to the Home screen.

Despite the inclusion of email, contacts and other everyday functions, it was clear from the presentation that Apple was placing great emphasis on the health and fitness possibilities of the Watch. As well as a heart rate monitor, the Watch features several other sensors that allow the device to interact with an array of health and fitness apps, helping users both monitor current activity and set future goals.

It remains to be seen whether wearable technology is a fad or whether it has some usefulness to individuals beyond the geeky and the curious. It certainly got the Apple faithful excited, with a launch date of “early next year” eliciting the only groan of the entire presentation. Prices for the Apple Watch will start at $349.

Something for nothing

As they have often done in the past, Apple executives added a musical component to today’s presentation, inviting U2 to come on stage and play a track from the band’s new album, Songs of Innocence. Afterwards, Apple CEO Tim Cook and U2’s Bono got together to announce that the album would be available as a free download on iTunes through October 13. That represents a potential fan base of over 500 million and presumably a sizeable investment for Apple – a fitting way to end a presentation that was never short of surprise or big ideas!