Apple Inc. has revealed new details about the Watch in early software sent to iOS developers in anticipation of its release date. Apple is reportedly preparing the Apple Watch for wide release at an undisclosed date in March, barring any delays.
Developers say a companion iPhone app will allow users to customize features on the Apple Watch, from its messaging features as well as the layout of apps on its homescreen, according to a report from 9to5Mac. Customers will also use the app to set up the Watch, customizing which notifications they want to see and controlling the device’s fitness features.
The companion app manages a number of messaging options for the Apple Watch. One lets users select which iPhone contacts appear on the Friends screen, making them easier to contact. The Watch does not have an on-screen keyboard, so the app features two choices to let users respond to texts: audio recordings made on the spot or voice-to-text dictation. The iPhone companion app also features an option to write short replies that can be saved and sent from the Watch.
The Apple Watch’s fitness features are also customized with the iPhone app. The Watch includes the ability to receive updates on fitness goals, as well as an optional hourly reminder for users sitting for extended periods to stand up.
The iPhone-maker’s first smartwatch includes a limited amount of storage space for music, photos and apps, and can be locked with a four-digit code. The Watch can also be set to unlock whenever the iPhone is within range.
Apple shooting to release the Watch at an unknown date in March
Apple is expected to release the companion app with the upcoming iOS 8.2 iPhone update sometime in February or March. The manufacturer has previously said the Watch would be released in “early” 2015, then clarifying that it was looking at sometime in the spring.
Select Apple retail employees will receive training on the Apple Watch from Feb. 9-16 at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, or its offices in Austin, for a release slightly earlier than expected in March, according to a report from 9to5Mac.
The developers of Pipes, a customizable news aggregating app for iOS, have also created a virtual demo of the Apple Watch, available here.
The Not-An-iWatch is still a work in progress
Apple has been finalizing the Watch’s operating system and is trying to improve its battery life. The iPhone manufacturer is also reportedly working to refine the Watch’s inductive charging.
Apple Watch will ship in Standard, Sport and higher-end Edition variations. The aluminum and glass Sport model is priced at $349, but Apple has not announced pricing for the other two. Analysts have said the sapphire-toting Apple Watch Standard will cost around $500 while the gold Edition will cost over $1,000.