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Apple Watch: Five key new things we’ve learned

Apple Watch: Five key new things we’ve learned

Until now, Apple Watch information has either been from tightly controlled official plans or somewhat wild speculation about what the much–hyped device can really do.

But the revelations found buried inside the latest beta release of iOS 8 have dumped a ton of new details onto our virtual doorstep.

A new Apple Watch Companion iPhone app, which will be required in order to make to the smartwatch work, is the source of all the juicy info.

Screen shots have shown all the settings for the timepiece, replete with the inside line on the coolest features.

Here’s our pick of the five key new Apple Watch functions you need to know about.

1 Control the home screen from your iPhone

apple watch edition

Sure, that nest–like screen of apps looks great on the Apple Watch’s display.

But getting them into an order you want is going to require child–like fingers or impressive dexterity, right? Wrong.

Apple is going to let users rearrange apps via a virtual watch face, accessible from within the Companion app on an iPhone.

Think of it like sorting your iPhone or iPad apps via iTunes and you get the idea.

2 Fitness first

ios 8 healthkit

We already knew that fitness formed a big part of Apple Watch plans.

But now we know a whole lot more. You can use the Companion app to give you ‘stand reminders’, telling you to get off your backside if you’ve been sitting down for 50 minutes.

What’s more, you can get activity progress updates every four, six or eight hours, daily goal notifications and even a weekly summary of your fitness levels every Monday.

3 Messaging smarts

apple watch sport white

Because the Apple Watch lacks a keyboard because it's just too small to realistically tap out missives on the go, dictation plays a huge role when it comes to sending texts and email.

New drill-down features show that you can choose whether to have your dictated message sent as a transcript or audio file, while you can even set up default text replies.

As with the iPhone, you can choose to receive text alerts only from a select list of contacts, or bin them altogether.

4 Monograms

apple watch apps

One of the big concerns for watch fanatics is just how the Apple Watch will measure up to fancier Swiss timepieces.

Apple appears to have solved this with a new feature called Monogram.

This will allow you to add up to four initials which will sit behind the key watch face functions.

It won’t get in the way of a flashing red dot that will glow every time you get a notification.

5 Screen zooming

apple watch variants

This being an Apple product, zooming into the touchscreen is nigh on compulsory.

The Companion app reveals just how this will be done.

Double tap with two fingers to get a close up view, use two fingers to pan (just like on a Mac’s touch sensitive trackpad or iPad display) and double tap again to tweak the zoom.

This should come in handy when apps deliver a lot of information to the screen in one go.

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