Friday 21 October 2016

Much-hyped Apple Watch finally ticks over into Irish hands

Published 25/09/2015 | 02:30

Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a screen displaying apps available for the Apple watch
Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a screen displaying apps available for the Apple watch

Is the Apple Watch worth buying? Or should you wait until a new model some time in the New Year?

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Today, Apple finally releases its biggest new product of 2015 into Irish shops. The smartwatch, which costs from €430 to €13,300, is one of the most hyped products of the year and is being touted as the next big thing in personal computing.

But with only a day's battery life, is it the device to suit your lifestyle? Could waiting for an updated model, possibly released next spring, make more sense?

The Apple Watch, which comes in two sizes, allows you to check messaging notifications, track your health and look for directions using mapping software. Its voice recognition software also works with some apps, such as daily schedules, and it has a limited ability to play music without being wirelessly connected to an iPhone. It is also a key item to pay for things using Apple Pay, an alternative to contactless payment card shopping which has yet to be launched in Ireland.

But some analysts think that an entirely new model could appear next spring as part of Apple's annual hardware upgrade cycle.

If that happens, a new watch could include a Facetime camera for selfies and video calls, more sensors to track health and activity, and even the ability to work independently of an iPhone.

It may even include slightly better battery life, one of the gadget's current limitations.

Like other colour-screen smart watches, the Apple Watch is limited to a single day's usage on a full battery charge, meaning you need to remember to charge it every night.

Despite this limitation, the device has been generally well received by those who have bought one since it went on sale in the US and some European countries earlier this year.

One advantage is its ability to dismiss notifications such as text messages or social networking alerts without having to remove and unlock a phone every few minutes.

And earlier this week, the gadget received an update in its operating system, called OS 2. The updated interface allows more watch faces and apps to be downloaded. It also allows the gadget to perform some online functions without being connected to an iPhone.

For those interested in the device, the decision to buy now or wait until a new model in a few months time will be a personal one.

The watch will likely have a trade-in value, like an iPhone. If you're a jogger or a gadget fan, it makes sense to get one. If not, maybe not.

Irish Independent

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