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FAQ: Everything to know about the Apple Watch

Here's everything we know about the Apple Watch ahead of its April 24 debut

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Still, if what Apple builds into the Watch isn’t enough for you, the company is supporting third-party apps and Glances off the bat. We’ve seen glimpses of how must-have apps like Instagram, Uber, and Twitter will work at launch, and a list of high-profile app partners is here. Indie iOS developers have been able to tap into the WatchKit SDK, which Apple introduced in November, to build their own apps. They shared with us some of their experiences building apps for a device they hadn’t seen in person yet.

What kind of battery life will the Watch have? Apple says the Watch will have all-day battery life, which means up to 18 hours of active and passive use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of nonstop app use, and a 30-minute workout with Bluetooth music playback from the watch, which can store up to 2GB of music locally. If you’ve been a bit overzealous in your watch usage and your battery starts to dwindle halfway through the day, the watch will automatically default to a Power Reserve mode for up to 72 hours so you’ll still be able to see the time (but not anything else). Basically, if you plan to buy an Apple Watch, expect to charge it next to your iPhone every night. Apple did say that the watch battery will be replaceable, but didn’t give details as to how much replacement batteries will cost.

Does the Apple Watch charge wirelessly? No. The back of the watch has no exposed charging contacts, and the charging cable snaps on with magnets to juice it up via induction. But it’s not “true” wireless charging as you might normally think of it, where you’d drop the watch onto a charging pad and walk away—it’s more like your electric toothbrush.

We’ve seen a magnetic charging dongle similar to this on the FiLIP, which is a wearable GPS tracker and phone for kids. The first few times we used it, we loved the satisfying click as the magnets latched on, but the novelty quickly wore off, and then the charger was just another proprietary dongle we had to keep track of.

Can I choose from a whole slew of watch faces? Oh yeah, a bunch—poke around Apple’s gallery for some great examples. They look good in person, too—some are animated, like the one that gives you a fully interactive view of the moon phases and how the planets align. And yes, there’s even a Mickey Mouse watch face, a modern spin on the face we saw on that watch-like six-gen iPod nano. Apple's Kevin Lynch also demonstrated how you can customize several of the watch faces, spinning the Digital Crown to select a new color scheme, or tapping at the screen to tweak what kind of information is shown. Apple is keeping tight rein over the watch's timekeeping features for the moment, with no third-party watch faces available at launch.

apple watch siri Apple

Use voice dictation to send messages and interact with apps on the Watch.

Does it have Siri? Can it make phone calls? The Apple Watch has a microphone and a speaker, so you can talk to it and it can talk to you. (You can also use the microphone to do voice dictation, send audio messages, and even communicate via walkie-talkie mode with other Apple Watch users.)

And yes, you can use it to make and receive phone calls, as well as transfer calls to your iPhone or a Bluetooth device.

Is it waterproof? Can I swim with it? The Apple Watch is water resistant, but not waterproof. You can wear it on a rainy day and have water splashed on it and it’ll survive, but you should avoid submerging it in water. Apple's official line (in the fine print) is: "Apple Watch is splash and water resistant but not waterproof. You can, for example, wear and use Apple Watch during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended. Apple Watch has a water resistance rating of IPX7 under IEC standard 60529. The leather bands are not water resistant."

An IPX7 rating officially means it can survive in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Which makes it sound pretty waterproof, but you probably don't want to take chances. Immersion in water any deeper than 1 meter, or in any amount of water for more than 30 minutes, could spell doom. Tim Cook reportedly told an Apple Store employee in Germany that he showers with his Apple Watch on. But Tim could also get a new one anytime he wants, we'd guess...

What can the Apple Watch do without a phone? The Apple Watch can track your fitness information (just sync your workout data to HealthKit later), play music (from its own onboard storage) via Bluetooth, and even make purchases using Apple Pay, all without the iPhone being present.

This story, "FAQ: Everything to know about the Apple Watch" was originally published by Macworld.

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