Apple Watch

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Apple Watch
Apple Watch official logo.svg
Apple Watch Series 4 Extract.png
Fourth generation Apple Watch in 40 mm size
DeveloperApple Inc.
Manufacturer
TypeSmartwatch
Release date1st generation: April 24, 2015; 6 years ago (2015-04-24)
Series 1 and Series 2: September 16, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-09-16)
Series 3: September 22, 2017; 4 years ago (2017-09-22)
Series 4: September 21, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-09-21)
Series 5: September 20, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-09-20)
Series 6 and SE: September 18, 2020; 14 months ago (2020-09-18)
Series 7: October 15, 2021; 53 days ago (2021-10-15)
Lifespan12
Discontinued1st generation: September 7, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-09-07)
Series 1: September 21, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-09-21)
Series 2: September 12, 2017; 4 years ago (2017-09-12)
Series 4: September 10, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-09-10)
Series 5: September 15, 2020; 14 months ago (2020-09-15)
Series 6: September 14, 2021; 2 months ago (2021-09-14)
Units sold34 million (2020)[3]
Operating systemwatchOS
System on a chip1st generation: Apple S1
Series 1: Apple S1P
Series 2: Apple S2
Series 3: Apple S3
Series 4: Apple S4
Series 5, SE: Apple S5
Series 6: Apple S6
Series 7: Apple S7
CPU1st generation: 32-bit single-core
Series 1, Series 2, Series 3: 32-bit dual-core
Series 4, Series 5, SE, Series 6, Series 7: 64-bit dual-core
Memory1st generation, Series 1, Series 2: 512 MB DRAM[4]
Series 3: 768 MB DRAM[5][4]
Series 4, Series 5, Series 6, Series 7: 1 GB DRAM[6]
Storage1st generation, Series 1, Series 2:GB[7][5][8][9]
Series 3: 8 GB (GPS) or 16 GB (Cellular)[10]
Series 4: 16 GB[11]
Series 5, SE, Series 6, Series 7: 32 GB[12][13][14]
DisplayOLED[15] with strengthened Ion-X glass or Sapphire glass

1st generation, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3:
38 mm
33.96 mm (1.337 in) diagonal, 272×340 pixels, 326 dpi
42 mm
38.94 mm (1.533 in) diagonal, 312×390 pixels, 326 dpi
Series 4, Series 5, SE, Series 6:
40 mm
39.34 mm (1.549 in) diagonal, 324×394 pixels, 326 dpi
44 mm
44.63 mm (1.757 in) diagonal, 368×448 pixels, 326 dpi
Series 7:
41 mm
42.95 mm (1.691 in) diagonal, 352×430 pixels, 326 dpi
45 mm
48.29 mm (1.901 in) diagonal, 396×484 pixels, 326 dpi

1st generation, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, Series 4, Series 5: Force Touch
ConnectivityNFC, Diagnostics port
1st generation, Series 1, Series 2: Bluetooth 4.0[16][17]
Series 3: LTE cellular data (optional), Bluetooth 4.2[10]
Series 4, Series 5, SE, Series 6, Series 7: LTE cellular data (optional), Bluetooth 5[11][12][13][14]
1st generation, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, Series 4, Series 5, SE: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz only)
Series 6, Series 7: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz & 5GHz)
PowerBuilt-in rechargeable Li-Po battery
Dimensions1st generation, Series 1:

38 mm
38.6 mm × 33.3 mm × 10.5 mm
(1.52 in × 1.31 in × 0.41 in)
42 mm
42 mm × 35.9 mm × 10.5 mm
(1.65 in × 1.41 in × 0.41 in)

Series 2, Series 3:
38 mm
38.6 mm × 33.3 mm × 11.4 mm
(1.52 in × 1.31 in × 0.45 in)
42 mm
42.5 mm × 36.4 mm × 11.4 mm
(1.67 in × 1.43 in × 0.45 in)
Series 4, Series 5, Series SE, Series 6:
40 mm
40 mm × 34 mm × 10.7 mm
(1.57 in × 1.34 in × 0.42 in)
44 mm
44 mm × 38 mm × 10.7 mm
(1.73 in × 1.50 in × 0.42 in)
Series 7:
41 mm
41 mm × 35 mm × 10.7 mm
(1.61 in × 1.38 in × 0.42 in)

45 mm
45 mm × 38 mm × 10.7 mm
(1.77 in × 1.50 in × 0.42 in)
Backward
compatibility
watchOS 1 - 3: iPhone 5 or later
watchOS 4 - 5: iPhone 5S or later (GPS Only), iPhone 6 or later (GPS + Cellular)
watchOS 6 - 8: iPhone 6S or later
Websitewww.apple.com/watch

Apple Watch is a line of smartwatches produced by Apple Inc. It incorporates fitness tracking, health-oriented capabilities, and wireless telecommunication, and integrates with iOS and other Apple products and services.

The Apple Watch was released in April 2015[18][19] and quickly became the best-selling wearable device: 4.2 million were sold in the second quarter of fiscal 2015,[20][21] and more than 100 million people were estimated to use an Apple Watch as of December 2020.[22] Apple has introduced new generations of the Apple Watch with improved internal components each September[23][24][25][26]—each labeled by Apple a 'Series', with certain exceptions.[a]

Each Series has been initially sold in multiple variants defined by the watch casing's material, color, and size (except for the budget watches Series 1 and SE, available only in aluminum[27][29]), and beginning with Series 3, by the option in the aluminum variants for LTE cellular connectivity, which comes standard with the other materials.[30] The band included with the watch can be selected from multiple options from Apple, and watch variants in aluminum co-branded with Nike and in stainless steel co-branded with Hermès are also offered, which include exclusive bands and digital watch faces carrying those companies' brandings.[30]

The Apple Watch operates primarily in conjunction with the user's iPhone for functions such as configuring the watch and syncing data with iPhone apps, but can separately connect to a Wi-Fi network for some data-reliant purposes, including basic communications and audio streaming.[31][32] LTE-equipped models can connect to a mobile network, including for calling, texting, and installed mobile app data use, substantially reducing the need for an iPhone after initial setup. Although the paired iPhone need not be near the watch, to make a call with the watch, the paired iPhone must still be powered on and connected to a cellular network.[33][b] The oldest iPhone model that is compatible with any given Apple Watch depends on the version of system software installed on each device.[35] As of September 2021, new Apple Watches come with watchOS 8 preinstalled and require an iPhone running iOS 15, which is available for the iPhone 6S and later.[36]

Development[edit]

The goal of the Apple Watch was to complement an iPhone and add new functions, and to free people from their phones.[37] Kevin Lynch was hired by Apple to make wearable technology for the wrist. He said: "People are carrying their phones with them and looking at the screen so much. People want that level of engagement. But how do we provide it in a way that's a little more human, a little more in the moment when you're with somebody?"[37] Apple's development process was held under wraps until a Wired article revealed how some internal design decisions were made.[37]

Rumors as far back as 2011 speculated that Apple was developing a wearable variation of the iPod that would curve around the user's wrist, and feature Siri integration.[38] In February 2013, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was beginning to develop an iOS-based smartwatch with a curved display.[39] That same month, Bloomberg reported that Apple's smartwatch project was "beyond the experimentation phase" with a team of about 100 designers.[40] In July 2013, Financial Times reported that Apple had begun hiring more employees to work on the smartwatch, and that it was targeting a retail release in late 2014.[41]

Unveiling and release[edit]

In April 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook told The Wall Street Journal that the company was planning to launch new products that year, but revealed no specifics.[42] In June 2014, Reuters reported that production was expected to begin in July for an October release.[43]

During a September 2014 press event where the iPhone 6 was also presented, the new watch product was introduced by Tim Cook. After a video focusing on the design process, Cook reappeared on stage wearing an Apple Watch.[44][45]

In comparison to other Apple products and competing smartwatches, marketing of the Apple Watch promoted the device as a fashion accessory.[46][47] Apple later focused on its health and fitness-oriented features, in an effort to compete with dedicated activity trackers. The watchOS 3 added fitness tracking for wheelchair users, social sharing in the Activity app, and a Breathe app to facilitate mindfulness.[48]

The device was not branded as "iWatch", which would have put it in line with its product lines such as iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In the United States, the "iWatch" trademark is owned by OMG Electronics – who was crowdfunding a device under the same name; it is owned in the European Union by Irish firm Probendi.[49][50] In July 2015, Probendi sued Apple Inc. for trademark infringement, arguing that through keyword advertising on the Google search engine, it caused advertising for the Apple Watch to appear on search results pages when users searched for the trademarked term "iWatch".[51]

Release[edit]

Pre-orders for the Apple Watch began on April 10, 2015, with the official release on April 24.[52] Initially, it was not available at the Apple Store; customers could make appointments for demonstrations and fitting, but the device was not in-stock for walk-in purchases and had to be reserved and ordered online. CNET felt that this distribution model was designed to prevent Apple Store locations from having long line-ups due to the high demand.[53][54] Selected models were available in limited quantities at luxury boutiques and authorized resellers.[55] On June 4, 2015, Apple announced that it planned to stock Apple Watch models at its retail locations.[54] On August 24, 2015, Best Buy announced that it would begin stocking Apple Watch at its retail stores by the end of September.[56] Both T-Mobile US and Sprint also announced plans to offer Apple Watch through their retail stores.[57]

In September 2015, Apple launched a new subset of Apple Watch, with a stainless steel body and leather band, in collaboration with Hermès.[58] The following year, Apple launched another subset of Apple Watches in collaboration with Nike dubbed "Apple Watch Nike+". Both subsets featured cosmetic customization, but otherwise functioned like standard Apple Watches.[59]

Apple Watch went on sale in India in November 2015.[60] The device also launched in Chile, the Philippines, Indonesia, and South Africa.[61][62]

Specifications[edit]

Design[edit]

Underside of the Series 3 showing sensors and the digital crown
Series 4 (40 mm)

Each series of Apple Watch is offered in multiple variants, distinguished by the casing's material, color, and size,[63] with special bands and digital watch faces available for certain variants co-branded with Nike and Hermès, which are also sometimes accompanied by other unique extras, like stainless steel charging pucks, premium packaging, and exclusive color basic bands.[64][65][66][67]

Originally at launch, the Apple Watch was marketed through 3 "collections", with the case made out of different materials:

  • Apple Watch Sport (Aluminium case)
  • Apple Watch (Stainless steel case)
  • Apple Watch Edition (Originally released as an 18kt gold casing with newer materials in later models)

Since Series 2, Apple dropped the "Sport" moniker from the branding (apart from the sport bands). "Apple Watch Edition" branding still exists.[68]

The Series 4, Series 5 and Series 6 were available in two sizes, 40 mm (1.6 in) and 44 mm (1.7 in), replacing the 38 mm (1.5 in) and 42 mm (1.7 in) sizes of the original Series 2, and Series 3 models.[69][70] The Series 7 is available in two sizes, 41 mm (1.6 in) and 45 mm (1.8 in). The design of the watch has not changed significantly since its release, so customizable bands and accessories are typically compatible with any Apple Watch of the same size, while 38 mm (1.5 in) straps also fit 40 mm (1.6 in) and 41 mm (1.6 in) watches, and 42 mm (1.7 in) straps fit 44 mm (1.7 in) and 45 mm (1.8 in) watches.[71] The casing of the watch includes a mechanism to enable the straps to be interchangeable.

For input, the watch includes a "digital crown", which can be turned to scroll or zoom and pressed to return to the home screen, and a touchscreen that features Force Touch technology, which makes it pressure-sensitive and capable of distinguishing between a tap and a press. Force touch technology has been removed in Watch Series 6 and Watch SE.[15] The watch also has a side button which can be used to display recently used apps and access Apple Pay, which is used for contactless payment.[72] Apple rates the device's battery for 18 hours of mixed usage.[15][73] Apple Watch is charged by means of inductive charging.[18] If the watch's battery depletes to less than 10 percent, the user is alerted and offered to enable a "power reserve" mode, which allows the user to continue to read the time for an additional 72 hours, while other features are disabled. The watch then reverts to its original mode when recharged or after holding down the side button.[74]

Apple did not explicitly market the first-generation Apple Watch as being waterproof, stating that it can withstand splashes of water (such as rain and hand washing), but does not recommend submersion (IPX7). Apple introduced a higher level of water resistance with the release of the Apple Watch Series 2, and the device was explicitly advertised as being suitable for swimming and surfing.[75] The Series 7 also includes an IP6X certification for dust resistance.

Bands[edit]

Apple Watch comes with an included band (strap) to attach it to the user's wrist, which can be easily changed to other types. Third party bands are compatible with Apple Watch, however Apple produces bands in a variety of materials and colours which are updated each season. The most recent update to the colours occurred in March 2020. Bands designed for the 38 mm and 42 mm cases are completely compatible with the 40 mm and 44 mm cases respectively as well as the 41 mm and 45 mm cases.

Starting with Apple Watch Series 5, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Studio which allows customers to mix and match bands, eliminating the need to purchase a specific combination and allows for a simplification of packaging (since Series 4).

Hardware[edit]

First generation[edit]

The 1st generation Apple Watch (colloquially referred to as Series 0) uses the single-core S1 system-on-chip. It does not have a built-in GPS chip, instead relying on a paired iPhone for location services. It uses a linear actuator called the "Taptic Engine" to provide haptic feedback when an alert or a notification is received, and is used for other purposes by certain apps.[15] The watch is equipped with a built-in heart rate sensor, which uses both infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes.[76] All versions of the first-generation Apple Watch have 8 GB of storage; the operating system allows the user to store up to 2 GB of music and 75 MB of photos. When the Apple Watch is paired with an iPhone, all music on that iPhone is also available to be controlled and accessed from the Apple Watch.[77] Software support for the first Apple Watch ended with watchOS 4.3.2.

Second generation (Series 1 and 2)[edit]

The second generation Apple Watch has two models; the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2. The Series 1 has a variant of the dual-core Apple S2 processor with GPS removed, known as the Apple S1P. It has a lower starting price than first generation.[78] The Series 2 has the dual-core Apple S2 processor, water resistance to 50 meters, a display twice as bright, and a GPS receiver.[78][75] Software support for the Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watch ended with watchOS 6.3.

Series 2 introduces water resistance at a rating of 50 meters. It can keep track of the number of laps and distance during Swimming workouts. During swimming, the touch function can be manually disabled with 'Underwater mode'. Once this is turned off, by rotating the Digital Crown continuously, it uses the speaker to expel residual water through a series of 10 vibrations. Series 2 also adds a built-in GPS system. Most recently used apps now are saved in the background, so apps and information load faster. The Series 2 was sold in casings of anodized Aluminium, Stainless Steel and Ceramic. The Series 1 was sold only in Aluminium. Series 1 & 2 have an advertised 18 hours of battery life. Series 2 adds a brighter 1000 nits display.[75]

Third generation (Series 3)[edit]

The Apple Watch Series 3 features a faster processor, the dual-core S3, Bluetooth 4.2 (compared to 4.0 on older models), a built-in altimeter for measuring flights of stairs climbed, increased RAM size, and is available in a variant with LTE cellular connectivity. Siri is able to speak on Apple Watch Series 3 due to the increased processing speed of the Watch.[79]

Series 3 features LTE cellular connectivity for the first time in an Apple Watch, enabling users to make phone calls, iMessage and stream Apple Music and Podcasts directly on the watch, independent of an iPhone. The LTE model comes with an eSIM[80][81] and shares the same mobile number as the user's iPhone.[82]

Fourth generation (Series 4)[edit]

Apple Watch Series 4

The Apple Watch Series 4[83] features larger displays with thinner bezels and rounded corners, a slightly rounder, thinner chassis with a redesigned ceramic back, a new S4 64-bit dual-core processor capable of up to double the S3's performance, upgraded 16 GB storage, new options for watch face customization, and a new electrical heart sensor which works by measuring the potential difference between the wrist and a finger from the opposing hand into the S4 Module over 30 seconds. The ECG system has received clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration, a first ever for a consumer device,[84] and is supported by the American Heart Association.[85] This device can also detect falls and will automatically contact emergency services unless the user cancels the outgoing call. The microphone was moved to the opposite side between the side button and the digital crown to improve call quality. Other changes include the digital crown incorporating haptic feedback with the Apple Haptic Engine and includes the new Apple-designed W3 wireless chip.

The watch received mostly positive reviews from critics. TechRadar gave it a score of 4.5/5, calling it one of the top smartwatches, while criticizing the short battery life.[86] Digital Trends gave it a score of 5/5, calling it Apple's best product and praising the design, build quality, and software, among others, while criticizing the battery life.[87] CNET gave it a score of 8.2/10, calling it the "best overall smartwatch around", while criticizing the battery life and lack of watch face options.[88] T3 gave it a score of 5/5, calling it a "truly next-gen smartwatch" due to its thinner body and bigger screen compared to the Series 3, and health features.[89]

Fifth generation (Series 5)[edit]

Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch Series 5 was announced on September 10, 2019.[90] Its principal improvements over its predecessor were the addition of a compass and an always-on display with a low-power display driver capable of refresh rates as low as once per second. Additional new features include International Emergency Calling enabling emergency calls in over 150 countries, a more energy-efficient S5 processor,[91] improved ambient light sensor, and storage doubled to 32 GB. It also brought back the "Edition" tier, with a ceramic model absent from the previous generation, and a new titanium model which comes in two colors: natural and Space Black.[92]

The Series 5 and above (including the SE model introduced in 2020) also incorporate enhanced hardware- and software-based battery and performance management functionality.[93]

Critics generally gave it a positive review. CNET gave it a score of 4/5, concluding, "The Apple Watch continues to be one of the best smartwatches, but it remains limited by being an iPhone accessory for now."[94] Digital Trends gave it a score of 4.5/5.[95] The Verge gave it a score of 9/10.[96]

Sixth generation (Series 6 and SE)[edit]

The Apple Watch Series 6 was announced on September 15, 2020, during an Apple Special Event and began shipping on September 18. Its principal improvement over its predecessor is the inclusion of a sensor to monitor blood oxygen saturation.[97]

Additional features include a new S6 processor that is up to 20% faster than the S4 and S5,[98] a 2.5× brighter always-on display, and an always-on altimeter.[99] The S6 incorporates an updated, third generation optical heart rate sensor and also enhanced telecommunication technology, including support for ultra-wideband (UWB) via Apple's U1 chip, and the ability to connect to 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. The Series 6 watch was updated with faster charging hardware such that it completes charging in ~1.5 hours.[100] Force Touch hardware was removed, consistent with the removal of all Force Touch functionality from watchOS 7.

The Series 6 watch added Product Red and Navy Blue color options.

At its September 2020 product introduction event, Apple also announced the Apple Watch SE, a lower-cost model.[98] The SE incorporates the same always-on altimeter as the Series 6,[101] but uses the previous-generation S5 processor and previous- (i.e. second) generation optical heart rate sensor; does not include ECG and blood oximiter sensors or an always-on display; and does not include UWB or 5GHz Wi-Fi communication capabilities.

Seventh generation (Series 7)[edit]

The Apple Watch Series 7 was announced on September 14, 2021, during an Apple Special Event.[102] Pre-orders opened on October 8, with earliest shipping dates starting on October 15.

Enhancements relative to the prior-generation Series 6 watch include a more rounded design with a slightly larger case; a display that is 70% brighter indoors and about 20% larger; improved durability via a crack-resistant front crystal;[103] IP6X certification for resistance to dust; 33% faster charging via improved internal electronics and an enhanced, USB-C based fast-charging cable; support for BeiDou (China's satellite navigation system); and the availability of an on-screen keyboard that can be tapped or swiped.[104] The Series 7 is also equipped with new hardware that enables ultra-rapid, short-range wireless data transfer at 60.5GHz, though Apple has not fully explained this new functionality.[105]

Following Apple's announcement of the Series 7, an independent software development company filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging inappropriate copying of the software keyboard functionality from an app that Apple had previously rejected from its App Store.[106][107]

Software[edit]

Apple Watch runs watchOS, whose interface is based around a home screen with circular app icons. The OS can be navigated using the touchscreen or the crown on the side of the watch.[15] During its debut, the first generation Apple Watch needed to be paired with an iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later; this version of iOS introduced the Apple Watch app, which is used to pair the watch with an iPhone, customize settings and loaded apps, and highlight compatible apps from the App Store.[15]

The Apple Watch is capable of receiving notifications, messages, and phone calls via a paired iPhone.[15] "Glances" allowed users to swipe between pages containing widget-like displays of information; however, this feature was replaced by a new Control Center. watchOS also supports Handoff to send content from Apple Watch to an iOS or macOS device,[15] and act as a viewfinder for an iPhone camera,[72] Siri is also available for voice commands, and is capable of responding with voice prompts on the Series 3 watches.[15] Apple Watch also supports Apple Pay, and enables its use with older iPhone models that do not contain near-field communication (NFC) support.[15]

Apple Watch's default apps are designed to interact with their iOS counterparts, such as Mail, Phone, Calendar, Messages, Maps, Music, Photos, Reminders, Remote (which can control iTunes and Apple TV), Stocks, and Wallet.[15] Using the Activity and Workout apps, a user can track their physical activity and send data back to the iPhone for use in its Health app and other HealthKit-enabled software.[15] With watchOS 3, Reminders, Home, Find My Friends, Heart Rate, and Breathe were added to the stock apps.

With the release of watchOS 4 and the Series 3 Apple Watch, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c support was dropped, requiring users to use an iPhone 5s or later with iOS 11 or later to use watchOS 4. Apple Watches still running watchOS 3 or below remain compatible with the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c. Further, watchOS 5 dropped support for the original (Series 0) Apple Watch.[108] watchOS 6 requires iOS 13, and was the final version to support the Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watch. watchOS 7 requires iOS 14.

Version history[edit]

At WWDC 2015, Tim Cook announced watchOS 2.0; described by CNET as a "significant revamp", it included a new software development kit that allows more direct access to the device's hardware, new watch faces, the ability to reply to an e-mail, and other features.[109] WatchOS 2.0 was released in September 2015.[110] Following the software update, some users experienced issues with lag.[111]

watchOS 3.0 was announced at WWDC 2016, with a priority on performance. Users are able to keep apps running in memory as well as receive background updates and refreshed information. Other updates include a new Dock invoked with the side button to replace the performance-laden Glances, an updated Control Center, and new reply options on Messages. Several new watch faces have also been added, including Minnie Mouse, along with the ability to switch watch faces from the lock screen simply by swiping. A new feature called SOS allows users to hold the dock button to make a call to the local emergency line and pull up the user's Medical ID. Another feature is Activity Sharing, which allows sharing of workouts with friends and even sending their heartbeats to one another. A new app called Breathe guides users through breathing exercises throughout the day, with visuals and haptic feedback. It was made available to the public in September 2016.

watchOS 3.1 was released to the public in October 2016, and watchOS 3.2 was released in March 2017.[112] Both updates added minor improvements and bug fixes.

WatchOS 4.0 was announced at WWDC 2017 and released to the public in September 2017. WatchOS 4 features a proactive Siri watch face, personalized activity coaching, and an entirely redesigned music app. It also introduces Apple GymKit, a technology platform to connect workouts with cardio equipment.

WatchOS 4.3 was released in March 2018. It introduced support for Nightstand mode in portrait orientation. It brought back the ability for music playing on the iPhone to be controlled using the Music app on the Apple Watch and also enabled control of playback and volume on Apple's HomePod. Other new features included a new charging animation and a new app loading animation. Activity data was added to the Siri watch face, and the battery complication more accurately reports battery life.

watchOS 5.0 was first shown to the public at the San Jose WWDC developer conference held by Apple. It introduced an instant watch-to-watch walkie-talkie mode, all-new Podcasts app, raise-wrist-to-speak Siri, customizable Control Center, and the ability to access the notification center and control center from apps. Other features included support for WebKit to view web pages, six new watch faces, and new workout running features.[113] It was released to the public in September 2018.[114] On the newest release of watchOS beta the sleep feature was shown on screen, this would eliminate the need to use third-party apps.

watchOS 6.0 was released to the public in September 2019. It introduced more native iOS apps such as voice memos, calculator, and a native watchOS app store. watchOS 6.0 also introduced new features such as the noise app that allows you to measure the sound around you in decibels, menstrual tracking, and new watch faces. Other features include Siri being able to tell users what music they are listening to, activity trends, and a new UI framework for developers.

watchOS 7.0 was announced on June 22, 2020, at the WWDC, and released on September 16, 2020; new functionalities include sleep tracking, additional watch faces, handwashing detection and new workouts such as dancing.[115]

watchOS 8.0 was announced on June 7, 2021, at the WWDC, and released on September 20, 2021. It replaces the Breathe app with a new Mindfulness app, and adds a Focus mode as well as a Portrait Watch Face, updates to the Messages and Home apps, Contacts and Find My apps, and a redesigned Photos app.

Third-party apps[edit]

In watchOS 1, third-party WatchKit applications run in the background on the iPhone as an application extension while a set of native user interface resources are installed on Apple Watch.[116] Thus, watchOS apps must be bundled within their respective iOS app, and are synced to the watch either manually, or automatically upon installation of the phone app.[15]

With the release of watchOS 2, Apple made it mandatory for new watch apps to be developed with the watchOS 2 SDK from June 1, 2016, onwards; no third-party languages or SDKs can be used to develop apps.[117] This allowed for developers to create native apps that are run on the watch itself, thus improving the responsiveness of third-party apps.

In watchOS 5 and earlier, all watchOS apps are dependent apps - the watchOS app relies on an iOS companion app in order to function properly.[118] However, in watchOS 6 or later, developers are able to create completely independent watchOS apps, and no longer require an app to be installed on the paired iPhone. This was assisted by the introduction of a separate App Store on the Apple Watch itself.[119]

Models[edit]

An Apple Store showcase with various Apple Watch models

As of September 2021, eight generations and eight series of Apple Watch have been released.

Apple Watch models have been divided into five "collections": Apple Watch (1st generation-present), Apple Watch Sport (1st generation), Apple Watch Nike+ (Series 2-present), Apple Watch Hermès (1st generation-Series 5, Series 6-present), and Apple Watch Edition (1st generation-Series 3, Series 5, Series 6-present). They are differentiated by combinations of cases, bands, and exclusive watch faces; Apple Watch comes with either aluminum or stainless steel cases, and various watch bands (only stainless steel was offered for Apple Watch 1st generation); Apple Watch Sport came with aluminum cases and sport bands or woven nylon bands; Apple Watch Nike+ comes with aluminum cases and Nike sport bands or sport loops; Apple Watch Hermès uses stainless steel cases and Hermès leather watch bands (also included is an exclusive Hermès orange sport band); and Apple Watch Edition came with ceramic cases and various bands (the 1st generation Apple Watch Edition used 18 karat yellow or rose gold).[120] With the Series 5, the Edition tier was expanded with a new titanium case.

Apple Watch Series 1 models were previously only available with aluminum cases and sport bands.[121]

As of Series 3, each Apple Watch model in aluminum, the least expensive casing, is available either with or without LTE cellular connectivity, while the models with the other casing materials available (stainless steel and sometimes ceramic and titanium) always include it.[33][122]

Each model through Series 3 comes in a 38- or 42-millimeter body, with the larger size having a slightly larger screen and battery.[15] The Series 4 was updated to 40- and 44-millimeter models, respectively. The Series 7 has been updated to 41- and 45-millimeter models. Each model has various color and band options. Featured Apple-made bands include colored sport bands, sport loop, woven nylon band, classic buckle, modern buckle, leather loop, Milanese loop, and a link bracelet.[15]

Comparison of models[edit]

Watch Released with Release date Final supported OS Support ended Support lifespan
1st generation watchOS 1.0 (iOS 8.2) April 24, 2015 watchOS 4.3.2 (iOS 11.4.1)[A] September 17, 2018 3 years, 4 months
Series 1 watchOS 3.0 (iOS 10.0) September 12, 2016 watchOS 6.3 (iOS 13.7)[B] September 15, 2020 4 years
Series 2 September 16, 2016 3 years, 11 months
Series 3 watchOS 4.0 (iOS 11.0) September 22, 2017 Latest watchOS (Current) 4 years, 2 months +
Series 4 watchOS 5.0 (iOS 12.0) September 21, 2018 3 years, 2 months +
Series 5 watchOS 6.0 (iOS 13.0) September 20, 2019 2 years, 2 months +
SE watchOS 7.0 (iOS 14.0) September 18, 2020 1 year, 2 months +
Series 6 watchOS 7.0 (iOS 14.0) September 18, 2020 1 year, 2 months +
Series 7 watchOS 8.0 (iOS 15.0) October 15, 2021 2 months +
Legend:   Discontinued and unsupported   Discontinued, but still supported   Current or still sold
  1. ^ watch OS 4.3.2 requires iOS version 11.4, but higher version iOS can still pair with a watchOS 4 watch.
  2. ^ watch OS 6.3 requires iOS version 13.5, but iOS 14 can still pair with a watchOS 6 watch.


Legend:   Discontinued and unsupported   Discontinued, but still supported   Current
Specification[123] 1st generation[16] 2nd generation (Series 1)[78] 2nd generation (Series 2)[78] 3rd generation (Series 3)[10][123] 4th generation (Series 4)[124] 5th generation (Series 5)[125] 6th generation (SE) 6th generation (Series 6) 7th generation (Series 7)
System on chip (SoC)[123] Apple S1[16] Apple S1P[78] Apple S2[78] Apple S3[10][123] Apple S4[123] Apple S5[125] Apple S6 Apple S7
Satellite Navigation[123] No[16][78] GPS and GLONASS[78] GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS[10][123] GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou[104]
Cellular (LTE / UMTS)[123] No[16][123][78] Optional (eSIM)[10][123][125]
Water resistance[123] IPX7 splash resistant (up to 1 meter)[16][78] ISO 22810:2010 water resistant (up to 50 meters)[10][78][125]
Dust resistance N/A IP6X dust resistant[126]
Wireless networking[123] Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz)[16][10][78][125] Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth[123] Bluetooth 4.0[16][123][78] Bluetooth 4.2[10][123] Bluetooth 5.0[123][125]
Ultra Wideband No U1 chip[127]
Optical heart sensor[123] 1st generation[16][78][10][123] 2nd generation[128][129] 3rd generation[130][131]
Electrical heart sensor (ECG/EKG)[123] No[123] Yes[123][125] No Yes
Blood oxygen sensor[123] No[123] Yes[123][125]
Accelerometer[123] 16g[16][78][10][123] 32g[123][125]
Gyroscope[123] Yes[16][78][10][123] Improved[123][125]
Ambient light sensor[123] Yes[16][78][10][123][125]
Altimeter[123] No[16][78] Yes[10][123][125] Always on[10][123][125]
Compass No Yes[132]
"Siri Speaks" and "Raise to Speak"[133] No Yes
Display[123] OLED Retina display with Force Touch (450 nits)[16][78] Second-generation OLED Retina display with Force Touch (1000 nits)[78][10][123] LTPO[134] OLED Retina display with Force Touch (1000 nits)[123] LTPO OLED Always-on Retina display with Force Touch (1000 nits)[125] LTPO[134] OLED Retina display (1000 nits)[123] LTPO OLED Always-on Retina display (1000 nits)[125]
Pixel Density 326 ppi
Display Size 38 mm (case height): 1.337in (diagonal) with 272x340 pixels[135] 40 mm (case height): 1.549in (diagonal) with 324x394 pixels[135] (viewable area reduced by rounded corners) 41 mm (case height): 1.691in (diagonal) with 352x430 pixels[135] (viewable area reduced by rounded corners)
42 mm (case height): 1.533in (diagonal) with 312x390 pixels[135] 44 mm (case height): 1.757in (diagonal) with 368x448 pixels[135] (viewable area reduced by rounded corners) 45 mm (case height): 1.901in (diagonal) with 396×484 pixels[135] (viewable area reduced by rounded corners)
Central Processing Unit (CPU) 520 MHz 32-bit Single-Core[5] 520 MHz 32-bit Dual-Core[136] 32-bit Dual-Core[123] 64-bit Dual-Core S4 SiP[137] 64-bit Dual-Core S5 SiP[138][139] 64-bit Dual-Core S6 SiP[140] 64-bit Dual-Core S7 SiP[131]
Storage GB[5][123] Non-LTE: 8 GB[123]
LTE: 16 GB[123]
16 GB[123] 32 GB[125]
Random Access Memory (RAM) 512 MB DRAM[5][4] 768 MB DRAM[141] 1 GB (1024 MB) DRAM[6][142][143][144]
OS Versions watchOS 1.0 to 4.3.2[16] watchOS 3.0 to 6.3[145] watchOS 4.0 to 8.0[115] watchOS 5.0 to 8.0[115] watchOS 6.0 to 8.0[115] watchOS 7.0 to 8.0 watchOS 8.0
Requires[A] iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or later[16] iPhone 5 or later running iOS 10 or later[146] Non-LTE: iPhone 5S or later running iOS 11 or later[10]
LTE: iPhone 6 or later, running iOS 11 or later[10]
Non-LTE: iPhone 5S or later running iOS 12 or later[11]
LTE: iPhone 6 or later, running iOS 12 or later[123]
iPhone 6s or later, running iOS 13 or later iPhone 6s or later with iOS 14 or later iPhone 6s or later with iOS 15
Battery 205 mA·h, 3.8 V, 0.78 W·h battery capacity (38 mm)[147]

246 mA·h, 3.78 V, 0.93 W·h battery capacity (42 mm)[147]

273 mA·h, 3.77 V, 1.03 W·h battery capacity (38 mm)[148]

334 mA·h, 3.8 V, 1.27 W·h battery capacity (42 mm)[149]

Non-LTE: 262 mA·h, 3.81 V, 1.00 W·h battery capacity (38 mm)[150]

342 mA·h, 3.82 V, 1.31 W·h battery capacity (42 mm)[151]

LTE: 279 mA·h, 3.82 V, 1.07 W·h battery capacity (38 mm)[152]

352 mA·h, 3.82 V, 1.34 W·h battery capacity (42 mm)[153]

40 mm: 224.9 mA·h, 3.81 V, 0.858 W·h battery capacity[154]

44 mm: 291.8 mA·h, 3.81 V, 1.113 W·h battery capacity[155]

40 mm: 245 mA·h, 3.85 V, 0.944 W·h battery capacity[154]

44 mm: 296 mA·h, 3.814 V, 1.129 W·h battery capacity[156]

Unknown 40 mm: 265.9 mA·h, 3.85 V, 1.024 W·h battery capacity[157]

44 mm: 303.8 mA·h, 3.85 V, 1.17 W·h battery capacity[157]

41 mm: 284.2 mA·h, 3.85 V, 1.094 W·h battery capacity[158]

45 mm: 308.8 mA·h, 3.85 V, 1.189 W·h battery capacity[158]

Charge Times - - - ~1.5 hours to 80%

~2 hours to 100%[159]

~1.5 hours to 80%

~2 hours to 100%[160]

~1.5 hours to 80%

~2.5 hours to 100%[159]

~1.5 hours to 80%

~2.5 hours to 100%

~1 hour to 80%

~1.5 hours to 100%[161]

~45 minutes to 80%

~75 minutes to 100%[162]

Weight 25g[163] to 69g[164] 25g to 30g [165] 28.2g to 52.4g [166] 26.7g to 52.8g [167] 30.1g to 47.9g [168] 30.8g to 47.8g [132] 30.49g to 36.36g [169] 30.5g to 47.1g [170] 32.0g to 51.5g [131]
Greenhouse Gas Emissions 50 kg CO2e[171] 20 kg CO2e[172] 30 kg CO2e[173] Non-LTE: 28 kg CO2e[174]

LTE: 36 kg CO2e[175]

Non-LTE: 38 kg CO2e[176]

LTE: 39 kg CO2e[177]

All: 40 kg CO2e[178] All: 35 kg CO2e[179] All: 36 kg CO2e[180] All: 34 kg CO2e[181]
Introduced April 2015 September 2016 September 2017 September 2018 September 2019 September 2020 September 2021
Discontinued September 2016 September 2018 September 2017 In production September 2019 September 2020 In Production September 2021 In Production
Model Numbers[182] A1553 (38 mm) A1554 (42 mm) A1802 (38 mm) A1803 (42 mm) A1757 (38 mm) A1758 (42 mm)
Edition: A1816 (38 mm) A1817 (42 mm)
GPS: A1858 (38 mm) A1859 (42 mm)
GPS + Cellular:
Americas: A1860 (38 mm) A1861 (42 mm)

Europe and Asia Pacific: A1889 (38 mm) A1891 (42 mm)

China mainland: A1890 (38 mm) A1892 (42 mm)

GPS: A1977 (40 mm) A1978 (44 mm)
GPS + Cellular:
North America: A1975 (40 mm) A1976 (44 mm)
Europe, Asia Pacific, and China mainland: A2007 (40 mm) A2008 (44 mm)
GPS: A2092 (40 mm) A2093 (44 mm)
GPS + Cellular:
North America: A2094 (40 mm) A2095 (44 mm)
Europe, Asia Pacific, and China mainland: A2156 (40 mm) A2157 (44 mm)
GPS: A2351 (40 mm) A2352 (44 mm)

GPS + Cellular: North America: A2353 (40 mm) A2354 (44 mm)
Europe, Asia Pacific, and China mainland: A2355 (40 mm) A2356 (44 mm)

GPS: A2291 (40 mm) A2292 (44 mm)
GPS + Cellular:
North America: A2293 (40 mm) A2294 (44 mm)

Europe, Asia Pacific, and China mainland: A2375 (40 mm) A2376 (44 mm)

GPS: A2473 (41 mm) A2474 (45 mm)
GPS + Cellular:
North America: A2475 (41 mm) A2477 (45 mm)

Europe, Asia Pacific, and China mainland: A2476 (41 mm) A2478 (45 mm)

FCC ID BCG-E2870[183] BCG-E2871[184] BCG-E3102[185]BCG-E3103[186] BCG-E3104[187] BCG-E3105[188] BCG-A1858[189] BCG-A1859[190] BCG-A1860[191] BCG-A1861[192] BCG-A1889[193] BCG-A1891[194] BCG-A1890[195] BCG-A1892[196] BCG-A1977[197] BCG-A1978[198] BCG-A1975[199] BCG-A1976[200] BCG-A2007[201] BCG-A2008[202] BCG-A2092[203] BCG-A2093[204] BCG-A2094[205] BCG-A2095[206] BCG-A2156[207] BCG-A2157[208] BCG-A2351[209] BCG-A2352[210] BCG-A2353[211] BCG-A2354[212] BCG-A2355[213] BCG-A2356[214] BCG-A2291[215] BCG-A2292[216] BCG-A2293[217] BCG-A2294[218] BCG-A2375[219] BCG-A2376[220]
Launch price - base model (US) $349 $269 $369 $329 $399 $279 $399
  • ^[A] At time of original release.

Reception[edit]

An Apple Store opens its doors on the first day of sales of the Apple Watch.

Following the announcement, initial impressions from technology and watch industry observers were varied; the watch was praised by some for its "design, potential capabilities and eventual usefulness",[221] while others offered criticism of these same aspects.[221] Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said he "can't wait" to try it,[222] and Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson described it as "extremely cool" and an example of future technology that is "much more embedded into our lives".[223] However, Evan Dashevsky of PC Magazine said it offered nothing new in terms of functionality compared to the Moto 360, except the customizable vibration notifications.[224] In November 2014, Apple Watch was listed by Time as one of the 25 Best Inventions of 2014.[225]

Initial reviews for the device have been generally positive with some caveats.[226] Reviewers praised the watch's potential ability to integrate into everyday life and the overall design of the product, but noted issues of speed and price. Many reviewers described the watch as functional and convenient, while also noting failure to offer as much potential functionality as preceding smartphones. Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times mentioned the device's steep learning curve, stating it took him "three long, often confusing and frustrating days" to become accustomed to watchOS 1, but loved it thereafter.[227] Some reviewers also compared it to competing products, such as Android Wear devices, and claimed "The Smartwatch Finally Makes Sense".[228] Reviewers had mixed opinions on battery life though, with Geoffrey Fowler of The Wall Street Journal saying "the battery lives up to its all-day billing, but sometimes just barely,"[228] and others compared it to the Samsung Gear 2, which "strolls through three days of moderate usage."[229] Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times used several applications over a period of days. He concluded that there is no "killer application" so far besides telling the time, which is the basic function of a wristwatch anyhow.[230]

When using the Apple Watch, some users have reported issues using the heart monitoring feature due to permanent skin conditions including tattoos. The Watch uses photoplethysmography technology (PPG) which utilizes the green LED lights to measure heart rates.[231] To gauge a user's heart rate, the watch flashes green light from the LEDs at the skin and records the amount of this light that is absorbed by the red pigment of the blood.[232] However, under certain circumstances the skin may not allow for the light absorption to be read properly and thus provide inaccurate results.[233]

Some users have complained that the logo and text on the back of the Apple Watch Sport model, primarily the space gray version,[234] can be easily worn off.[235]

Sales[edit]

Financial analysts offered early sales estimates from a few million to as many as 5 million in the first year.[236] Time's Tim Bajarin summarized the breadth of reactions, writing that "there is not enough information yet to determine how this product will fare when it finally reaches the market next year".[221]

Owing to the inadequacy of materials, the Apple Watch's delivery was delayed from its initial pre-order release date of April 10, 2015.[237] As a result, only 22 percent of the pre-ordered Apple Watches were dispatched in the United States during the weekend after the release date.[238] It is estimated Apple received almost one million Apple Watch pre-orders in the United States during the initial six hours of the pre-order period on April 10, 2015, after which it sold out and further orders would start delivering in June.[239] A report later on by an analyst stated that Apple Watch was already a $10 billion business during its first year.[240][241][242]

Apple has not disclosed any sales figures for the Apple Watch.[243] An estimate by IDC states Apple shipped over 12 million units in 2015.[244] In late 2016, a veteran of the Swiss watch industry said Apple sold about 20 million watches and had a market share of about 50 percent.[245] Analysts estimate Apple sold 18 million watches in 2017, 31 million in 2019, and 34 million in 2020.[246][247] In 2021, analysts estimated there were 100 million units in use.[248]

Controversies[edit]

In December 2019, Dr. Joseph Wiesel, a New York University cardiologist, sued Apple over allegations that the Apple Watch violates a patented method for detecting atrial fibrillation. Wiesel claimed he had shared details of the patent with Apple in September 2017, but the company refused to negotiate.[249][250]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In September 2016, the second generation of Apple Watch was divided into two Series, the Series 2 and the budget Series 1, with different internal components.[27] In September 2020, the sixth generation of Apple Watch was divided into the Series 6 and the budget SE, also carrying different internal components.[28]
    For convenience sake, this article treats the SE as the equivalent of a numbered Series.
  2. ^ Except for the initial configuration, a "Family Setup" option removes the need for an iPhone altogether, although fewer features are supported.[33][34]

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