Get Fit with Apple Watch: Using the Apple Watch for Health and Fitness (2015)

Part I. Apple Watch Basic Facts

Chapter 2. The Collections

Allen G. Taylor

(1)

London, England

Watches mean different things to different people. Some people consider a watch as just a convenient way to find out what time it is. Others consider it a fashion statement, and still others consider it to be a piece of jewelry that also happens to tell time. Smartwatch owners also have different expectations of what their watch will do for them. Apple was aware of the differences in what people are looking for in a smartwatch, and as a result, Apple offers three different families of the Apple Watch, each of which is called a Collection. Each Collection differs from the other Collections in the materials the watches are made of and in the bands that are offered.

All three families offer the same sizes of watch case: 42mm for larger wrists and 38mm for smaller wrists. As you would expect, the 38mm models feature fewer pixels on somewhat smaller faces. All the watches in all the Collections have the same functionality, regardless of case size or price. As you saw in Chapter 1, these features include the following:

·               Digital crown

·               Retina Display with Force Touch

·               Heart-rate sensor

·               Accelerometer

·               Gyroscope

·               Ambient light sensor

·               Speaker

·               Microphone

·               Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), 2.4GHz

·               Bluetooth 4.0

·               Up to 18 hours of battery life

·               Water resistance

The sensors and communication features enable a wide variety of useful functions to be performed by the many apps that continue to be written by third parties who desire access to the Apple Watch customer base. In Chapter 9, I will discuss a number of third-party apps that specifically relate to health and fitness.

The Three Collections

Apple has released the Apple Watch in three distinct families, called Collections, that differ from each other in target audience, appearance, options, and price. High quality in design as well as in form and finish are a top priority for all three Collections. However, all the models within a Collection are optimized for their particular audience.

·               The Apple Watch Collection is designed for people who value elegance and appearance as well as functionality.

·               The Apple Watch Sport Collection is aimed at people who will be wearing their watch during vigorous exercise, such as running or cycling. Functionality and lightweight are perhaps more important to these people.

·               The Apple Watch Edition Collection is for people who want the best, most exclusive accessories and are willing to pay for them.

The watch faces in all three collections are rectangular with rounded corners. The screen resolution of the 42mm model is 390x312 pixels, and the resolution of the 38mm model is 340x272 pixels. Apple calls the display a Retina Display, which is also how iPhone displays are designated.

The Apple Watch Collection

The Apple Watch is designed for all-day wear. You could wear it on an early-morning run, later at the office, and in the evening at the opera. It contains all the health and fitness functionality of the watches in the Apple Watch Sport collection but in a package that conveys an impression of sophisticated elegance.

The Case

The case is constructed out of either highly polished stainless steel or space-black stainless steel. The steel is a refined 316L alloy that is cold forged to make it 80 percent harder than ordinary stainless steel. The casing is polished to a mirror finish. The space-black version has an additional layer of diamond-like carbon (DLC) that gives the case a distinctive look.

The Crystal

The crystal face of the Apple Watch really is a crystal, rather than some kind of glass. It is pure crystalline sapphire, which except for diamond is the hardest transparent material on Earth. The hardness provides the best scratch resistance available, short of having a pure diamond crystal watch face. However, it is also more brittle than the Ion-X glass used on the Apple Watch Sport, making it more prone to shattering if it suffers a hard blow, as it might in some intensive sports.

The Bands

Bands are made from three different materials: top-grain leathers, durable fluoroelastomer, or the same stainless steel used in the cases. Three distinct varieties of leather band are available, along with two kinds of steel band and one kind of fluoroelastomer band.

In addition to the different material available, there are also color choices. The leather loop comes in stone, light brown, bright blue, and black. These bands are handcrafted from Venezia leather in Arzignano, Italy, at a tannery with a history that spans five generations. Concealed magnets enable the wearer to wrap the band around the wrist for a precise fit.

The classic buckle, available only in black, is milled at the ECCO tannery in the Netherlands. The closure is a stainless steel buckle of traditional design. The classic buckle weighs less than any of the other bands that Apple offers. The combination of the stainless steel Apple Watch and the classic buckle actually weighs less than the Apple Watch Sport’s aluminum case with any of the fluoroelastomer bands available with that watch.

The modern buckle comes in soft pink, brown, midnight blue, and black. Produced at a French tannery with a history that goes back more than 200 years, it has a sleek look and a two-piece magnetic closure, as well as an inner layer of Vectran for strength and stretch resistance.

The fluorelastomer bands are made out of the same material as the bands used by the Apple Watch Sport Collection. In the Apple Watch Collection, the fluorelastomer band is available in white and black. It is soft on the skin but strong and has a pin-and-tuck closure.

The link bracelet, crafted out of the same 316L stainless steel alloy as the Apple Watch case, is comprised of more than 100 components. Attention to detail is evident in both the design and the finish. It features a butterfly closure and gives you the ability to add or remove links for a perfect fit. Stainless steel and space-black stainless steel versions are offered.

The Milanese loop is a new interpretation of the classic design developed in Milan at the end of the 19th century. It is a woven stainless steel mesh that loops around, with a magnetic closure, thus assuring that the band fits the wearer’s wrist exactly. In keeping with the band that inspired it, the Milanese loop comes in only one color, stainless steel.

The Apple Watch Sport Collection

If your primary reason for getting an Apple Watch is to help you improve your health and fitness, the Apple Watch Sport may be the one for you. Because the case is an aluminum alloy rather than stainless steel or gold, the Apple Watch Sport is somewhat lighter than most of the Apple Watch models and all the Apple Watch Edition models. Also, if you’re going to be wearing your watch during intensive workouts, you may not want to subject an exclusive Apple Watch Edition to that kind of environment.

The Case

The case of the Apple Watch Sport is made from an aluminum alloy that is 60 percent stronger than traditional aluminum alloys, enhancing scratch resistance while maintaining a light weight on the wrist. The case is available in two colors, silver and space gray. As you would expect, the aluminum case is lighter than the stainless steel case of the Apple Watch and also lighter than the gold case of the Apple Watch Edition. For people running a marathon or some equally challenging endurance sport, that small difference in weight becomes more and more significant as the workout or race continues.

The Crystal

For this watch, the crystal is not actually crystal. It is Ion-X glass, which is similar to Corning’s famous Gorilla Glass. It is likely not quite as scratch resistant as sapphire, but more importantly for people engaged in active or even extreme sports, it is a good deal more shatter-resistant. It will bend before it will break.

The Bands

For the Sport model, only one type of band is offered, the fluoroelastomer band that is also offered on the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Edition. Five colors are offered with the Apple Watch Sport: white, blue, green, pink, and black. Although the different color bands are all made of the same material, they do not all weigh the same. This may matter for athletes who want to encumber their bodies with the absolute minimum weight during a competition. The black band weighs the least at 37 grams, and the white one weighs the most at 47 grams. The lightest “official” Apple Watch band, however, is not offered with the Apple Watch Sport. It is the classic buckle band offered with the Apple Watch. At 19 grams, it is about half the weight of the lightest band that comes standard with the Apple Watch Sport. If you are determined to minimize the weight of your Apple Watch, you are advised to purchase an Apple Watch Sport along with an extra classic buckle from the Apple Watch Collection.

The Apple Watch Edition Collection

The Apple Watch Edition is clearly for people who value exclusivity and elegance more than price. Edition Collection prices are such that only a limited number of people will be able to afford having a watch from this collection.

The Case

The case of the Apple Watch Edition is made from one of two different 18-karat gold alloys, one yellow gold and the other rose gold, formulated for hardness to resist scratches and other vicissitudes of everyday wear. The Apple Watch Edition is a premium product in every way, and the smooth lines and mirror polish of the gold case are outstanding examples of fine craftsmanship.

The Crystal

As is the case with the stainless steel Apple Watch, the crystal face of the Apple Watch Edition is pure crystalline sapphire, which except for diamond is the hardest transparent material on Earth. The hardness provides the best scratch resistance available, short of having a pure-diamond crystal watch face. However, it is also more brittle than the Ion-X glass used on the Apple Watch Sport, making it more prone to shattering if it suffers a hard blow, as it might in some intensive sports. I don’t expect too many people to be wearing their Apple Watch Edition during intensive sports.

The Bands

For the Edition watches, bands are color coordinated with the cases. The white sport band is paired with the rose gold case, and the black sport band is paired with the yellow gold case. The black classic buckle and the midnight blue classic buckle are both paired with the yellow gold case. The rose gray modern buckle forms a nice complement to the rose gold case, and the bright red modern buckle goes well with the yellow gold case. Of course, if you want a different case/band combination, you can purchase additional bands separately.

Apple Watch Functions That Require an iPhone

The Apple Watch is a marvel of miniaturization, packing amazing functionality into a small package. However, the smallness of that package means that some functions that are routinely performed by smartphones will not fit into a watch strapped to a person’s wrist. A Bluetooth wireless connection between the Apple Watch and an iPhone 5 or newer with at least iOS 8.2 makes the power of the iPhone available instantly by a quick glance at an upturned wrist.

There are, of course, a number of functions that the Apple Watch can perform all by itself. However, there are also things that you probably have become accustomed to your iPhone providing, which still require that you are carrying your iPhone when you access those functions through your watch.

For the initial release of the Apple Watch, running the watchOS 1 operating system, any function that requires Internet access will work only when your iPhone is within Bluetooth range of your Apple Watch. If you have updated your watch to watchOS 2, it will connect to the Internet directly, provided you are logged in to and within range of a Wi-Fi network. Phone calls and GPS will still require that the iPhone that is paired with your Apple Watch be nearby. This means that when you are out on a run without your iPhone, the Apple Watch will still be able to display your pulse rate, the number of steps you take, the distance traveled, and the calories burned. It will not, however, be able to show you the route you have run, unless the course you run is completely covered by Wi-Fi. Siri will be able to talk to you, but she will be able to perform any tasks for you that require Internet access only if you are within range of a Wi-Fi network.

Health and Fitness Applications of Apple Watch That Do Not Require an iPhone

While you are out on that run, monitoring your pulse rate, calories burned, and other variables, you will also be able to listen to the music stored on your Apple Watch. A set of Bluetooth headphones will convey the music from your watch to your ears with high-fidelity stereo sound. The main things you will miss while out without your iPhone and out of Wi-Fi range are messages, notifications, and alerts. You might be relieved to have some time free of those interruptions anyway.

Summary

The Apple Watch comes in three varieties, called Collections. They all have the same functionality, but for people primarily interested in fitness and health applications, the Apple Watch Sport Collection is most appropriate. To operate, an Apple Watch must be paired with an iPhone of no earlier vintage than iPhone 5. There are functions that can be performed only if the paired phone is within Bluetooth range, other functions that can be performed without the paired iPhone if you are within range of and are logged into a Wi-Fi network, and some functions that the watch can do all by itself when neither the paired iPhone nor Wi-Fi is nearby.