Apple Watch: The Frequently Asked Questions

The Apple Watch is an enormous achievement. It’s a whole new operating system, the beginning of a new platform. Apple clearly hopes it will become another product category, as the iPhone and iPad did.

With something this complex, there are also a lot of questions — and here are some of the most frequently asked, with answers.

Anything that’s not here you’ll probably find in my full review.


Is it waterproof?

It’s water resistant — not waterproof. Apple discourages users from wearing Apple Watch in the shower not because of splashes, but because steam, water under high pressure, and soapy stuff can hurt it.

Apple says it’s fine to wear the watch “during exercise,in the rain, and while washing your hands.” To be precise, “Apple Watch has a water resistance rating of IPX7 under IEC standard 60529.”

Oh, and don’t get the leather bands wet at all.

What can you do with the watch when your iPhone isn’t near?

When it’s away from the phone, the watch does a surprising amount. You can:

  • See the time

  • Play music wirelessly through Bluetooth earphones (it holds up to two gigabytes of songs that you choose)

  • Display photos you’ve loaded up from the phone (it holds up to 75 megabytes of tiny photos)

  • Track your run (distance and pace) or your workout (calories, heart rate)

  • Track your standing time, steps, and exercise

  • Use Siri (if you’re on a Wi-Fi network you’ve been on before)

  • Send and receive text messages and Watch-to-Watch “digital touch” messages (drawings and tap patterns) if you’re on a familiar Wi-Fi network

  • Read, delete or flag recent email

  • Use the alarm clock, stopwatch, and timer

  • Use Passbook to show your airplane boarding-pass barcodes

  • Pay for things with Apple Pay

Is there any difference in the features of the three watch models?

None at all. The software, internals, and display technologies are identical. The only differences are the metals used for the body and the material covering the screen (the Sport model has Gorilla Glass; the Watch and Edition use sapphire).

What if you buy the $10,000 gold Edition watch, and there’s a smaller, better model next year?

Then you’ve got an obsolete gold digital watch.

How many apps are available for the watch on day one?

So far, there are about 50. (They’re illustrated here.)

Tim Cook has said, however, that more than 1,000 apps were submitted for approval in the first four days after Apple began accepting submissions.

Does the screen get scratched easily?

No. The cheapest model (Sport Watch) has a screen made of Gorilla Glass, just like the iPhone; the other two models have sapphire screens, which are incredibly scratchproof.

Which band does my watch come with?

The Sport watch comes with the plastic band, in your choice of color; any other band is extra.

The Watch comes with your choice of any of the bands — the price varies.

The Edition watch comes with a plastic or leather band; any other band is extra.

Will it work with an Android phone?

Nope — the Apple Watch requires an iPhone.

What happens if someone steals your watch?

The watch requires a numeric password if it’s taken off your wrist (this is an option, but the factory setting is on). So the watch would be useless to a thief.

I’m over 40. Can I read the text?

If you can read the text on an iPhone, you should be able to read the watch. You have a choice of type sizes, plus a bold option. Of course, the bigger the type, the more scrolling you’ll have to do.

Does it take videos or stills?

No, but the watch can be a remote control (and remote viewfinder) for your iPhone’s camera. You can take stills only, not videos.

I like all those screenshots in your review. How do I take my own?

Press the crown and the side button simultaneously.

Can you adjust the brightness?

Yes, using the iPhone app. It can be set to low, medium, or high. At high, even bright sunlight doesn’t wash out the screen.

Will there be an upgrade path when Watch 2 comes out next year?

Nope. It’s technology, baby.