Reflections on the Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Last fall, after the announcement of the Apple Watch, we did a post with our speculations regarding the product. How the sales would go, the features, so on and so forth, were covered. Let’s be honest: the Galaxy Gear (Samsung) didn’t work out well; and really, who has any of the Android Wear lineup? But our conclusion was this: the Apple Watch isn’t going to be a flop — and that still holds true. However, there are some pros and some cons to this new device.

Apple announced the release of the three Watch models (Sport, Watch, Edition) on April 6th, and opened the store for pre-ordering on April 10th at 3:01 AM Eastern Time. Since then, as reported by the LA Times and USA Today, the Watch is back-ordered four months, putting shipping dates into the summer. Jeff Perkins, VP for PGi, a web conferencing company based in Atlanta, GA, counts himself one of the lucky few who were able to beat the rush by ordering at 7 AM. Despite this, his Watch doesn’t ship until some time in May.

Pros:

The features of the Apple Watch are, well, jaw-droppingly good. Heart rate monitoring, texting, fitness tracking, notifications, telecommunications, just to name a few. The usability of the Watch is also good. The “digital crown” (scroll wheel) is seamlessly integrated into the Watch’s interface. It serves as a home button, a scroll wheel, and more.

Another well-designed feature of the Watch is the display. Besides being a touch screen, it is also pressure sensitive, which allows for a much better level of user interaction with the device. Press firmly on the screen while inside of most apps for access to menus, such as the search and layers dialogue when in Google Maps. You can even send your heart rate to a friend if you like! (Although the usefulness of this feature is beyond me) Despite all the great things about the Watch, there are a few issues.

Cons:

The main problem with the Watch is obvious: the price. We all know that Apple products are expensive, but thankfully, iPhones can be subsidized with the purchase of a contract with the phone; not the case with the Watch. The Sport edition is the only one I would consider buying, at $349 for the 38mm case model and $399 for the 42mm model. Prices continue to go up from there: the Watch model ranges from $549 to $1,099, which is pretty expensive for a watch! But it doesn’t stop there. The Edition model ranges from $10,000 to $17,000; yes, that’s still less than a Breguet Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, but that’s more than a pre-owned Rolex Men’s President Yellow Gold Fluted Custom Champagne Diamond Dial from Luxury of Watches!

Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for most customers. LA Times reports that, “Pre-orders for Apple’s smartwatch began at 12:01 a.m. PDT Friday…By 12:40 a.m., the Apple Watch Edition — the most high-end of the three models — in rose gold showed a ship date of July. For the yellow-gold version, which ranges in price from $10,000 to $17,000 depending on the strap, it was even longer: August. By 8:30 a.m., the yellow-gold with a red strap and the rose-gold case with a matching strap no longer had an option to buy.”

There is one final con: the compatibility of the Apple Watch. Apple notification emails had a small blurb at the bottom of the message to inform users of some sad news: “Apple Watch requires iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus and iOS 8.2 or later.” So if you were planning to use this with your iPad mini (whether with cellular or not), sorry. If you have an iPhone 4S, too bad. And if you’ve been resisting the update to iOS 8 but you want the Watch — well, you have a decision to make.


All in all, the Apple Watch doesn’t have the appearances of a flop. The Watch isn’t officially available for purchase until the 24th, but the volume of pre-orders has sent the delivery dates skyrocketing into August. Perhaps we’ll be able to get one to review; keep your fingers crossed!

Until then, be sure to subscribe to Handz Studioz via email so you can be notified about all of our new posts! Please share us with your community, and keep on the lookout for our next post, which will most likely be an in-depth review of the Fitbit Charge HR.

-The Editor

External Links:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/personal/2015/04/09/apple-watch-pre-orders/25522489/
http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-apple-watch-20150410-story.html
http://www.apple.com/watch/

The Smart Watch Industry: Will It Work for Apple?

The Samsung Galaxy Gear can be summarized with one word: flop. Let me repeat that: FLOP. The simple truth is that people just didn’t really want the Gear, and it was too expensive, etc. Personally I think that the Apple Watch will do quite well. Why? Because it’s an Apple product.

I once was in a class (long ago) where the teacher commented, “If Apple released an iToilet, people would line up outside the stores to buy it.” It’s amazing the truth in this statement, as silly as it sounds. Let’s look at the economy of the US (I’ll try not to make this boring): the US economy is a free market system, meaning that the government is involved as little as possible (thank God), and competition among businesses controls the prices and wages. Another part of the free market system is that the customers can go wherever they want to buy the products. Thus, a company that has a history of good products will have a loyal following of customers. Now I’m not saying that Samsung is a bad company, or that they make bad products; rather, they make great products. But Apple was the company that made the smartphone popular, and really everything after that is just another company’s take on the smartphone.

Another reason why the Apple Watch should do well is that there are supposed to be several models to choose from. Apple put the three models up on their website: the Apple Watch, the Watch Sport, and the Watch Edition.

Apple Watch
The Watch will have a stainless steel back, a sapphire crystal display, and choice of leather, fluoroelastomer, link bracelet, or Milanese loop for a band.

Watch Sport
The Watch Sport will have strengthened “Ion-X” glass, an aluminum back, and a fluoroelastomer (high-durability rubber) band, with five colors of bands to choose from.

Watch Edition
The Watch Edition will have an 18-carat gold back, a sapphire crystal display, and a leather band. On the Edition all of those are customizable, save for the display. You can choose what color of leather and gold you would like.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear didn’t really have any options to choose from; you just bought it or you didn’t. Apple is doing things the right way here.

To answer the question in the title: we think so. Apple is doing things the right way here, with customizable options; they’re not taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach. People like to have options, they like to be unique, even in things as small as the kind of watch they wear. If Apple can provide that to customers (and it looks like they’re going to), the Apple Watch will probably do very well.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and follow! Please share Handz Studioz with others who would enjoy our posts!

By the way, we’ve started to post daily, so you can look out for a new post each day!

-The Editor

External Links:
http://www.apple.com/watch/apple-watch/
http://www.apple.com/watch/apple-watch-sport/
http://www.apple.com/watch/apple-watch-edition/

iOS 8 Review — Handz Studioz Goes in Depth (Part 1)

Update Screen
My first reaction to iOS 8: “Holy *beep*” OK, not really, but speaking of sound effects, one of the updates added the ability to send short audio messages through iMessage. That’s just one of many added updates, so in order to save time and keep posts shorter, the iOS 8 review will be split into two parts. In Part 1, we’ll look at all the features that were added in iOS 8, and then I’ll review the Messages (iMessage), Camera, Photos, and Mail apps, which were, of course, part of the update. In Part 2, I’ll review the remaining features and apps in iOS 8.

What’s new in iOS 8? A LOT:

  • The ability to edit .rtf (Rich Text Format) files in Notes
  • Tips App
  • Time lapse in camera, burst mode patches for front facing camera in iPhone 5s, panorama mode for iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display
  • A “Recently Deleted” folder in Photos (it’s like the Recycle Bin on Windows machines)
  • Safari updates such as different tab layouts
  • A much improved Control Center
  • A new keyboard, QuickType, which is basically just the Android keyboard, because now they added suggestions to a bar above the keys.
  • iCloud Drive
  • Believe it or not, improved battery life!
  • And more

So as you can see, iOS 8 was a big update, but you’re now probably wondering, “Can I get this on my iDevice?” Here’s a complete list of compatible devices from Evad3rs:

  • People had said the iPhone 4s would be dropped, but it is supported.
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad 4
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Mini 2 (w/Retina Display)
  • iPod 5th Generation

Before you go to update, double check how much space left you have on your iDevice (Settings>>General>>Usage) because this is a big update. The download is 1.1 GB, and with the way Apple has it set up, it took me about 15 minutes to download at fairly good internet speed. The unpacking of it takes about another 30-45 minutes, and then the install takes about 45 minutes as well; this update takes a long time. I wouldn’t recommend starting it before bed, however, because you have to manually start the install after the downloading and unpacking is complete.

Now let’s get on with the review!
Messages
I really like the new iMessage App. The biggest hype about this has been the ability to send audio messages through iMessage. Personally, this isn’t the biggest deal to me, but it is pretty cool. Now the part that I really like is the integration with notifications. Now, when a notification of a message pops up at the top of the screen, you can just swipe down on the message to reply right there! This makes things SO much faster, and is definitely a pro from this update.

Mail
The Mail app didn’t change much, other than to add more features when you swipe a message to the left or right in your inbox. Swiping from right to left brings this up:
Swipe Right
and swiping from left to right brings this up:
Swipe Left
A bug that I’ve noticed in the app is with displaying unread messages. You know how it will say at the top, “Inbox (X number of messages),” right? Let’s say that you got two new messages. It would say “Inbox (2),” and then it would change to “Inbox (1)” after you read one message. However, in the iOS 8 Mail app, the number does not change until you open a different email. For instance, it would not say “Inbox (1)” until you open the second message. Likewise, it won’t just say “Inbox” until you open a message that you’ve already read. It’s not really a big deal, but it is annoying, at least to me.

Camera
The changes to the Camera app were diverse, depending on which model of iDevice they were applied to. The whole Apple lineup received a time lapse function that allows you to take those cool videos of clouds moving and things like that; they also received a self timer (3 and 10 secs) so that you can take family photos and the like. Beyond that, things are different for different devices. The iPad Air and iPad Mini w/Retina Display got the panorama feature added to their cameras, and the iPhone 5s apparently had a glitch that disabled burst mode for the front facing camera, which was fixed (I don’t have a 5s so I don’t know much about this glitch).

Photos
On to the last part of the review today: the Photos app. Photos got a major overhaul in the iOS update. Two new albums were automatically added the the Photos app: Recently Added and Recently Deleted. Recently Added holds all of your photos that were, well, added recently (imagine that!). Recently Deleted holds all of the photos that you recently deleted (that’s a deep thought!). It’s basically like the Recycle bin on Windows machines, except that it only holds pictures. The photos are kept for 30 days or until you delete them permanently. I think the same applies to the Recently Added album, but I’m not completely sure because I didn’t take any pictures from August 30 to September 5. iOS 8 also added better editing features to Photos, like light retouching, color balance, and degree of saturation (color VS black and whiteness of the photo).

So there’s Part 1 of the Handz Studioz iOS 8 review! If you enjoyed this post and/or found it helpful, leave a like, and please share this post! If you enjoyed this post, please follow Handz Studioz; it’s free and your information will never be shared.

Be looking for Part 2, coming out soon!

-The Editor

External links:
https://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/
http://www.evad3rs.net/2014/04/ios-8-supported-devices-complete-list.html

Sneak Peek: What’s Coming Up on Handz Studioz — Lots of Apple

On Tuesday, September 9, Apple released information regarding its newest smartphones, the iPhone 6 and 6+, the long awaited iOS 8, and a long-speculated Watch.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said, “iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest advancements in iPhone history. The iPhone is the most loved smartphone in the world with the highest customer satisfaction in the industry and we are making it much better in every way. Only Apple can combine the best hardware, software and services at this unprecedented level and we think customers are going to love it.” Personally, agree with Mr. Cook. As you may, or may not know, a while ago we posted about speculations regarding iOS 8 and the iPhone 6; that post contained rumored specs as well as other information. Now we have confirmation about the specs and new features, release dates, etc.

As expected, Apple will release two models of its 6th-gen smartphone: the 6 and the 6+. The 6 will have a screen size of 4.7″ and a resolution of 1334 x 750, and the 6+ with a screen size of 5.5″ and a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This will allow for competition with larger phones like the Samsung Galaxy s5 and LG G3.

Apple also released information about an Apple Watch (commonly referred to as the iWatch) that will be comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Gear. You can expect more information about the Watch within the next few weeks.

Apple then released information about iOS 8, which will have a revamped messages app, a new health app, and better iCloud syncing, along with other features. You can look for an in-depth iOS 8 review on Handz Studioz after iOS 8 comes out on September 17. The iOS update begins at 10 AM Pacific Time (1 PM Eastern).

You can pre-order the iPhone 6 and 6+ starting on September 12 (today). The new iPhones will be officially out on September 19, but with cool new features such as 240 fps at 720p HD, iOS 8, a revamped camera, and more, maybe the pre-order is worth it. We’ll see what we can do about getting our “Handz” on one to review for you.

Don’t forget to follow to be notified about our upcoming iOS 8 review, the Apple Watch, iPhone 6, and more! This was just a sneak peek; there’s a lot more to be watching for. We plan to have an in-depth review for each aspect of Apple’s new lineup so you can have a relevant, comprehensive reference as these are released.

-The Editor

Apple’s Upcoming: iPhone 6 and iOS 8

Since Apple recently announced the dates for their annual Developer Conference (WWDC, June 2 2014) there has been much speculation about the unveiling of Apple’s rumored newest products: the iPhone 6 and iOS 8. What will they be like? Will the iPhone get a bigger screen? Will iOS 8 get Adobe Flash? Currently, this information hasn’t been released to us, but the big unveiling is scheduled to be at WWDC.

From some research I’ve been doing, I’ve drawn some pretty interesting information from sites like MacRumors, as well as some conclusions I’ve drawn myself.

MacRumors has some “specs” for the iPhone 6 on their website, and although we don’t really know anything for sure, they came up with some plausible specs for a new iPhone:

  • 2 models, one with a 4.7″ screen (due for release in September), the other (following a little later) with a 5.5″ screen.
  • A sapphire crystal screen (as opposed to the Gorilla Glass II formula used in previous models). This would make it very hard to scratch the screen, as well as giving it better drop resistance.
  • “A faster and more efficient A8 chip”

On their website, MacRumors has this picture of what they speculate the new iPhone will look like:

iPhone 6 (image from MacRumors.com)
I do not own this image. Image courtesy of MacRumors.com.

Personally, I agree with almost all of the “specs” that MacRumors put out, but there is one that I don’t agree with MacRumors on. I’m going to go over what MacRumors put out, and add some comments of my own.

I definitely agree with MacRumors on the upgrade in screen size. Since Samsung has put out their S4 and S5 models, phones have simply gotten bigger, and people like the larger screen size. In order for Apple to stay in the game, they need a bigger phone.

I also agree with the A8 chip specification. People will always want faster and more powerful, and Apple will almost definitely take advantage of that.

Now the specification that I’m not sure about is the sapphire crystal screen. In previous Apple devices, the ‘Gorilla Glass’ formula has been used. Gorilla Glass is an extremely tough glass that can withstand shocks such as being shot with a paintball gun (the Slow Mo Guys on YouTube did a video on it) or being dropped. Although it’s not indestructible, it is pretty tough, and not very expensive. Sapphire, on the other hand, is NOT cheap. If you’ve seen watches with sapphire crystal display covers then you know what I’m talking about. Making a phone with 4.7″ or 5.5″ of this material would raise the production cost significantly. Since I personally don’t think Apple would want to raise their production cost (or the consumer price which would lower sales), I think Apple will probably stick with their Gorilla Glass II screens they have been using.

Now I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the iPhone 6 part of this post, but I’m going to move on to iOS 8 speculations, (possible) new features, etc.

Leaked iOS 8 screenshot from MacRumors.com
I do not own this image. Image courtesy of MacRumors.com.

MacWorld says that one of their biggest frustrations over iOS 7 is the Mail service. Although Apple revamped the application for iOS 7, people continue to have issues with this service. New additions to the Mail App in iOS 8 might include sending all types of files, on-device spam filtering, mail groups, better security, and more.

TechRadar speculates that Apple will add an app called Healthbook, which will track your weight, sleep, exercise, or whatever else you enter into it. It would be similar to the fitness apps on Samsung devices. Other speculations from TechRadar and other sites say that Apple will add TextEdit for more powerful document editing, and Tips for better usability of the device. Speculations suggest that Preview will also be added. TechRadar suggests that Apple might add compatibility for an iWatch that could appear in 2015, getting rid of Game Center, and adding split-screen capability (multitasking) for iPads.

MacRumors concurs with the other two sites, also saying that a revamp of Apple Maps is in store for iOS 8. Apple Maps went downhill due to its lack of functions when compared to Google Maps or other applications. MacRumors speculates that Apple will upgrade its iTunes Radio function as well as add HD Audio.

Thanks for visiting Handz Studioz and we hope that you come back for more!

Don’t forget to Follow to be notified of future posts!

-The Editor.

External Links:
MacRumors: “iPhone 6: Apple’s 2014 Phone”

Macworld: “iOS 8 Changes We’d Like to See: Mail”

TechRadar: “iOS Release Date, News, and Rumors. Everything You Need to Know About the Upcoming OS”

MacRumors: “iOS 8: Healthbook and Much More” Check out this article for a timeline of iOS 8 activity.