WSJ: Jony Ive Became ‘Dispirited’ After Apple Watch and Sometimes Failed to Show Up to Meetings – MacRumors

Ive reportedly wanted to position the watch as a fashion accessory, but some Apple leaders envisioned it as an extension of the iPhone. Eventually a compromise was agreed, and the $349 watch was tethered to the iPhone, with Apple creating a $17,000 gold version and partnering with Herm├Ęs.

I don’t have a WSJ subscription, so I’m liking to MacRumors’ article about this. This jibes with what I’ve been saying about the Apple Watch from the beginning. It always seemed that the Apple Watch was a vanity project for Jony Ive, given his interest in watches, and the fact that a disgustingly priced gold model was released. I still remember the look on Tim Cook’s face when he announced the price of the gold model.

The company sold about 10 million units in the first year, a quarter of what Apple forecast, a person familiar with the matter told WSJ. Thousands of the gold version are said to have gone unsold.

I’m surprised that Apple forecast 40 million units, because, if I recall, the rollout to different countries didn’t occur very quickly. However, I’m sure Apple is satisfied at how the Apple Watch turned out.

I find this bit interesting:

According to sources who spoke to WSJ, Ive pushed for the Apple Watch to be made despite disagreements from some executives, who questioned if a device so small could have a killer app that would compel people to buy it.

That is certainly the weakness of the Apple Watch, or at least it was at the beginning. It’s a new product category, but it has been clear over the years – especially the first few models and watchOS versions – that Apple did not have a clear vision for the device, but was just trying to see what worked.

Even now, the Apple Watch is a bit of an odd device. While it is very useful, and I wear one, it doesn’t have any “wow” factor. Sure, I can get notifications, unlock my Macs with it, even make calls without my phone handy (I have the cellular model), but it is still just an extension of the iPhone that, if I didn’t write about this stuff, I probably wouldn’t use.

Source: WSJ: Jony Ive Became ‘Dispirited’ After Apple Watch and Sometimes Failed to Show Up to Meetings – MacRumors

Using Airplane Mode on the Apple Watch

I got a question about using airplane mode on the Apple Watch. As you probably know, airplane mode turns off all wireless communication on your device. You can do this on the iPhone, and on the Apple Watch. And, if you want the two devices to mirror each other, go to the Watch app on your iPhone, choose General > Airplane Mode > Mirror iPhone.

Airplane mode settings

If you do this, then activating airplane mode on either device will also activate it on the other device.

To activate airplane mode, go into Control Center on your Apple Watch and tap the little airplane button.

Airplane mode watch

So the question I had was about why when you deactivate airplane mode on one device the other device doesn’t also deactivate. While it’s not that obvious, the two devices can’t communicate with each other when airplane mode is active, so one device can’t tell the other to deactivate it.

In addition to Bluetooth and wifi, airplane mode turns off cellular service and GPS, so there may be cases where you only want to turn those services off, yet use Bluetooth and/or wifi. To do so, tap on their buttons in Control Center on the device where you want to use them.

I use airplane mode regularly when I go to the cinema or theater. It’s easier than turning off my phone, and it works just as well to ensure that it won’t make any noises. However, if you have notifications set to play alert sounds, they will still do so, so make sure to turn your phone to silent as well.

Problems with the Air Quality Index on the Apple Watch in the UK

Last week, Dave Mark posted an article about Apple Maps and the air quality index on The Loop. I had chatted with Dave before he had published this, pointing out that the system used in the UK is different from that in the US. In the US, the scale used goes from 1 – 500, and the UK uses a scale from 1-10.

Here in the UK, I do see the current AQI on Apple Maps, with the appropriate number, and a color that gives a visual idea of where it is on the scale. As you can see here, the AQI is quite poor, because there is very high pollen (death to rapeseed!), and Maps shows that with an orange background.

Aqi maps

My Apple Watch, however, gives different information. It shows that the AQI is indeed 8, but if you look at the AQI complication, you can see that the little dot is down at the green end of the scale. When I tap the complication, it says that the AQI is Good, which is clearly wrong.

Aqi watch2     Aqi watch1

It seems that, while the weather app on the Apple Watch is getting the right number, it’s not using the appropriate scale. It thinks that this is the US scale, so no matter what the AQI is in the UK, this will show as Good, because it’s matching it to a scale that goes up to 500.

This is a minor problem of localization: the Apple Watch knows where I am, and should provide the correct information. But it’s a pretty dumb one, that is easy to fix.

The Most Lamentable Tragedie of Sirius Unresponsivus

Siri and I have never gotten along. Whether it’s asking Siri to play music, or using Siri to control Apple Maps, this gizmo has never been in any way useful to me. I do use Siri occasionally: to perform simple math calculations on my iPhone, when I want to add something to my shopping list, or, when I’m in the kitchen, and want to set a timer.

However, unless my iPhone is just a few feet away – and this is with a cellular Apple Watch Series 4, on the same wi-fi network, the usual response is this:

Siri

I wait for that tap, and it usually never comes.

Apple Sued Over Swollen Batteries in Apple Watches – MacRumors

New Jersey resident Gina Priano-Keyser has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Apple this week in U.S. district court, accusing the company of fraudulent business practices and breach of warranty related to the Apple Watch, according to court documents accessed by MacRumors.

Priano-Keyser alleges that all Apple Watches up to and including Series 4 models are prone to a defect that results in the lithium-ion battery swelling and causing the screen to “crack, shatter, or detach from the body” of the watch “through no fault of the wearer, oftentimes only days or weeks after purchase.”

The plaintiff believes that Apple either knew or should have known that the Apple Watch models were defective before selling them, adding that they pose “a significant safety hazard to consumers” — a “number” of which have suffered “cuts and burns” as a result of the scratched, shattered, or detached screens.

Apple has acknowledged the possibility of swollen batteries in select Apple Watch models in the past, and offered free repairs up to three years after purchase. However, the complaint alleges that the company often attributes the issue to “accidental damage” and thus “refuses to cover repairs” under warranty.

Priano-Keyser states that she purchased an Apple Watch Series 3 in October 2017. In July 2018, while charging, she alleges that the screen “unexpectedly detached” from the watch’s body and cracked. Her daughter “pushed the screen back into place,” but the Apple Watch has been “unusable” ever since.

The plaintiff booked a Genius Bar appointment in August 2018, but upon inspection, she alleges that Apple denied to repair the Apple Watch free of charge under warranty and instead quoted her an out-of-warranty fee of $229 for service.

I follow an Apple Watch group on Facebook, and have long been surprised at how many people have this problem. Members of the group regularly post photos of their watches like this – see the MacRumors article for a photo – and many have said that Apple wouldn’t fix them. (Those with AppleCare are covered, if it’s within the two-year period.)

This is the kind of thing that looks rare, but when I see as many photos of this happening in a group with 17,000 members, it’s clearly not that rare.

Source: Apple Sued Over Swollen Batteries in Apple Watches – MacRumors

How to Sync, View, and Use Photos on the Apple Watch

With the arrival of the Series 4 Apple Watch, and its larger display, viewing photos on your wrist is a lot more interesting. You can sync photos from your iPhone to your watch; you can view them and show them to others using your wrist computer; and you can use them to create personalized watch faces. In this article, I’m going to tell you everything you can do with photos and the Apple Watch.

Read the rest of the article (and see the bonus cat photos) on The Mac Security Blog.

Apple Watch Series 4 Review: Bigger, Bolder, Better

It has been interesting following the Apple Watch over the last three and a half years. From a device that seemed like it was looking for a reason to exist, the Apple Watch has now become, as Tim Cook has said, the most personal device that Apple has ever made. With steady evolution through its iterations – adding such features as GPS and LTE – the Series 4 marks the first change in the form factor of the device.

Compared to last year’s model, the Series 4 is larger (from 38mm and 42mm the device has moved to 40mm and 44mm), and a tad thinner (.7mm). That tiny difference in size masks a huge difference in the size of the display. By shaving off the edges of the bezels around the screen, Apple has been able to increase the display sizes by 32% and 35% respectively for the 40mm and 44mm models. (Don’t worry if you have any existing bands: the 38mm bands will fit the 40mm watch and the 42mm bands fit the new 44mm model.)

Read the rest of the review on The Mac Security Blog.

Apple Watch: Hello New Faces, Goodbye Old Faces

With the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple has introduced two new information-rich faces that take advantage of the new device’s larger display. The Infograph and Infograph Modular faces offer lots of complications, in an attractive multi-color layout.

As Jason Snell wrote recently on Macworld, Apple Watch faces are a mess. None of the older faces have been updated for watchOS 5 and the new watches, and the new faces are missing some key complications, as I wrote last week. It really surprises me that you can’t add the Phone, Messages, or Home complications to the new faces. And I’m even more surprised that the old faces have been completely ignored.

One point that Jason makes, which I’ve been thinking about last year, is that the Explorer face is still the only one that shows your cellular connection, with a complication that shows from one to four dots.

Why not build that feature as a complication? Why not let other faces display that information? A year later, the Explorer face remains unchanged, and remains the only place you can view connection status on a watch face.

It seems important to have the possibility to see your signal strength if you have a cellular Apple Watch, and this omission is puzzling.

I’ve settled on the following three faces on my watch for now: two “analog” Infograph faces, and one Infograph Modular.

Face1 Face2 Face3

I would really like to use the Home complication on at least one of these faces, and I’m surprised that it’s not available. I’m also surprised by some of the complications that are offered, which are nothing more than eye candy. Here’s the Infograph Modular face with the Earth, Moon, and Solar complications at the bottom.

Face4

I think these are available simply as filler, since many people want to use all the complications inside the dial of the Infograph face. I don’t see how the Earth complication is very useful; I do understand that a moon phase complication is something found on many watches, but in a more stylized manner; and the Solar System complication is probably only useful for people on the International Space Station, and, perhaps, Elon Musk.

I’m also surprised that many popular third-party apps have not been updated for these new complications. For example, I use the Dark Sky app for weather, and it’s complication hasn’t been updated, even though the app itself has been updated since the release of watchOS 5. I don’t know what’s taking developers so long.

(I’m sure some of you will ask about some of the complications above, which are not in watchOS. The orange one on each of the faces is the Pedometer app, which is a step counter; and the one with the date on the face on the right above is Fantastical, the calendar app I use on all my devices.)

The Apple Watch’s Best New Faces Are Missing Key Complications

InfographThe Series 4 Apple Watch has two great new watch faces that allow you to have a high amount of information on the small screen of your wrist computer. These faces, Infograph and Infograph Modular offer a high number of complications, respectively nine and six.

But there some of the most useful complications are missing. Why can’t you add the Phone, Messages, or Home complications, as you can on other faces? You also can’t add Find My Friends, Now Playing, Remote, or lots of the other complications that let you launch apps with a single tap.

That’s probably the reason; they expect users to launch them in other ways: via the Dock (which I’ve never found practical), or from the apps hive or list, or via Siri. But people may want to be able to launch these complications more quickly. I use different watch faces for different activities, and it would be great to have some of these complications on these attractive new faces; instead, I need to fall back on the older ones, which offer fewer options.

It’s a bit surprising that the newest faces, the ones that Apple has been featuring when they show off the latest model Apple Watch, are hobbled by this. Especially since Apple Watch users have been using these complications, some for many years.

Audible’s Apple Watch App Highlights One of the Device’s Biggest Flaws

Audible has updated their iOS app, and now includes an Apple Watch app, so you can sync audiobooks from your iPhone to the Apple Watch. This allows you to listen to audiobooks on the go, using Bluetooth headphones, even if you don’t have your iPhone handy.

In theory.

In practice, this highlights one of the biggest flaws of the Apple Watch. While Apple’s wrist computer has storage that can hold its operating system, apps, music, and more, it’s extremely difficult to get anything onto the device. You’ll have seen this when you wait for an update to get copied to the Apple Watch, or if you have ever tried to put music on the device. It is slow. Glacially slow. If you want, for example, to copy a couple of gigabytes to the Apple Watch – after all, it comes with either 8 or 16 GB storage – the cellular Apple Watch 3 offered 16 GB, the GPS-only had 8, and the Series 4 comes with 16 GB for all models – you were best off doing it overnight. Copies to the Apple Watch seem to only go over Bluetooth, even though the device uses wifi for connectivity.

The Audible Apple Watch app explains what you need to do:

Audible1     Audible2

So I went ahead and tried.

First, the Audible app says that it is “preparing your content.” It’s not clear what this is doing, but it might be downsampling the file so it takes up less space. I hope not; standard Audible files are 32 kbps, which is adequate for spoken word, but if shrinks them to 16 kbps, that’s not great.

Audible3

Then it begins syncing. After about 10 minutes, I checked, and this was its progress:

Audible4

17 minutes later – note the time on my iPhone in the screenshot – it had made more progress.

Audible5

And when I checked back about 50 minutes later, it said it had finished syncing.

Audible6

Alas, it hadn’t actually synced anything. When I checked on my Apple Watch, there was nothing. (You can’t get a screenshot of the playback screen showing that there is no content, because the bit on the bottom below, explaining how to transfer audiobooks, slides up as soon as you open it.)

Audible7

The app does note that the transfer will be quicker if you put your watch on the “Magnetic Charger;” that really makes no difference.

Audible8

However, when it’s not on the charger, nothing syncs, and the Audible app informs you of this.

Audible9

This (most likely) is not Audible’s fault. Syncing content to the Apple Watch, as I said above, is a very slow process.

Marco Arment, developer of the Overcast podcast player, added syncing to the Apple Watch in the latest version of his app has. He says:

Sending podcasts to the Watch is slow. Overcast shrinks them to reduce the transfer time, but when (and how quickly) podcasts transfer is tightly controlled by watchOS to preserve battery life. Transfers still sometimes wait forever or silently fail.

So it seems like this is an Apple problem. If the Apple Watch contains storage for audio files, then Apple needs to make this process work. What’s the point of shipping the new Apple Watch with 16 GB storage if you can’t put anything on it? There aren’t enough apps for the Apple Watch to fill up all that space.