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Posts tagged with "apple watch"

Crash Detection Saves Unconscious AppleInsider Writer

The Apple Watch and iPhone’s crash detection has saved a lot of lives, and you probably think of it as something for when you’re driving your car. However, as AppleInsider’s Daniel Eran Dilger discovered, it works with scooters, too. Dilger was in a serious accident while riding a scooter. Lying on the ground at night, unconscious, and bleeding, he could have bled to death.

Fortunately, Dilger’s Apple Watch contacted emergency services, who found him, thanks to the feature, and took him to a hospital:

Even though I wasn’t driving a conventional vehicle, Crash Detection determined that I had been involved in a serious accident and that I wasn’t responding. Within 20 seconds, it called emergency services with my location. Within thirty minutes I was loaded in an ambulance and on the way to the emergency room.

When I came to, I had to ask what was happening. That’s the first I found out that I was getting my eyebrow stitched up and had various scrapes across the half of my face that I had apparently used to a break my fall. I couldn’t remember anything.

It’s a scary story that highlights just how important Crash Detection can be in circumstances like Dilger’s, where he was unable to call emergency services himself.

Dilger also reminds readers to update their emergency contacts on their devices. His were out of date, so they didn’t get a call about the accident. Fortunately, Find My Friends alerted Dilger’s partner of his location so they could call the hospital to check on him.


Apple’s September 2023 Event: All The Small Things

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple covered a lot of ground today, and since the event concluded, more details have emerged about everything announced. We’ve been combing Apple’s product pages, social media, and other sources to learn more about the new iPhones, Apple Watches, and services, which we’ve collected below:


Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

AirPods Pro

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

  • The new AirPods Pro (2nd generation) include a USB-C port for charging and can be charged by connecting the earbuds directly to an iPhone with a USB-C port
  • The AirPods Pro case is now IP54-rated for added dust protection.
  • The AirPods Pro update supports Lossless Audio at low latency for use with the Apple Vision Pro.
  • An eagle-eyed person on Mastodon spotted an iPod HiFi in the keynote.
  • The AirPods Pro and Apple Watch can be charged by plugging their charger into an iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, or 15 Pro Max phone.

You can follow all of our September 2023 Apple event coverage through our September 2023 Apple event hub or subscribe to the dedicated September 2023 Apple event RSS feed.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2: The MacStories Overview

Following the introduction of the Apple Watch Ultra last September, one question that stood out was whether this would be a new addition to the annual Apple Watch lineup, or another device like the Apple Watch SE which was only updated every few years. Two years may not yet make a trend1, but the Ultra 2 signals that the high-end device will be riding the annual update cycle alongside its standard Apple Watch sibling. This is great news for Ultra enthusiasts, even if the update isn’t quite enough to justify a single-year upgrade for most users.

In a similar vein, the Apple Watch Series 9 continues the slow, methodic, inevitable drumbeat of iterative Apple Watch updates. It too offers minimal allure for owners of last year’s Series 8, but looks a bit more intriguing for those with a Series 6 or 7, and downright mouthwatering for any Series 5 holdouts. This, as with every year’s iteration, is a great device.

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The Apple Watch Ultra Needs More Band Choices

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

It was a warm, humid morning in North Carolina when I went out for a run today. I came back a sweaty mess, which got me thinking about my Apple Watch Ultra.

I’m no mountaineer, but I love the Ultra’s long battery life and big screen. It’s been my constant health and fitness companion for everything from sleep tracking to a variety of workouts. However, there’s one thing in particular that I miss from the standard Apple Watch: band choices.

The last thing I wanted to do after a post-run shower was put my Apple Watch Ultra back on with its soggy Alpine Loop band. So, I did what’s become a regular post-run habit of swapping bands and tossing the sweaty one in the laundry. Besides the Starlight Alpine Loop that came with my Ultra, I have a Black/Gray Trail Loop. Of the two, I like the Trail Loop better because the Alpine Loop’s clasp sometimes digs into my wrist as I type. However, I use both regularly because one is almost always waiting for me to do a load of laundry.

I’ve been running more. As a result, my two bands have begun to dictate when my laundry gets done, whether I have much else to wash or not. That led me to Apple’s website to buy a third band, where I was immediately struck by the lack of choices.

A small selection of the many band options for the standard Apple Watch. Source: Apple.

A small selection of the many band options for the standard Apple Watch. Source: Apple.

If you own the standard Apple Watch, you have dozens of options at a wide variety of price points. Apple offers the Sports Loop, Braided Solo Loop, the Solo Loop, the Nike Sports Band and Loop, two types of leather bands, stainless steel bands, and Hermès bands at price points from $49 for many models to $599 for the Hermès Orange/Blanc Swift Leather Casaque Double Tour. There are so many bands for the standard model that there’s an entire website and app dedicated to collectors of the bands, which makes sense because, after all, the Watch is a wearable that’s not just a wrist computer. It’s also a fashion accessory.

Three may be company, but it's not enough for Watch bands. Source: Apple.

Three may be company, but it’s not enough for Watch bands. Source: Apple.

So why, with so many standard Apple Watch bands, are there just three models in three colors at a single price point for Apple Watch Ultra owners? Looking at the Sports Band alone, there are nine options available for the standard Apple Watch. I really don’t get it. I like the three choices offered for the Ultra, but I’d like more colors, styles, and price options. I certainly don’t think the limited choice is because the Ultra has been a flop because I see them when I’m out all the time.

I recognize that I could buy a band from a third-party company. Perhaps that’s what I’ll end up doing because what I really want is something akin to the Sports Band that can be cleaned without putting it in the laundry. Alternatively, I may start using my collection of standard Apple Watch bands. They work, but I don’t think they look great with the Ultra’s big watch face, so that’s not ideal either.

Why aren't there special edition bands for the Ultra too? Source: Apple.

Why aren’t there special edition bands for the Ultra too? Source: Apple.

What I would prefer is an Ultra band update schedule comparable to the standard Watch. Apple has made it a tradition of refreshing bands in the fall and spring and issuing special editions, like the Black Unity and Pride Edition models, at other times of the year. I expect we’ll see new bands for the Ultra this fall, and while I’m sure the Ultra market is significantly smaller than the original Watch’s, my wish for 2024 is to not have to wait another full year for new Ultra bands.

Apple Announces Pride Edition Sports Band, Watch Face, and iPhone Wallpaper

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Today, Apple also announced its annual Pride Edition Apple Watch band, along with a similarly-designed watch face and iPhone wallpaper.

The band is a Sports Band model that Apple says is:

Inspired by the strength and beauty of the LGBTQ+ community, the new Sport Band design showcases the original pride flag rainbow colors and five others — black and brown symbolize Black and Latin communities, in addition to those who have passed away from or are living with HIV/AIDS, while light blue, pink, and white represent transgender and nonbinary individuals.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

The watch face compliments the band using the same graphical elements around the edges of an analog clock. The iPhone wallpaper takes a slightly different approach blending the colorful elements of the watch band into a river-like stream of color.

The Pride Edition Sports Band will be available at Apple Stores and online beginning May 23rd for $49 for 41mm and 45mm Apple Watches. The watch face and iPhone wallpaper will be released next week, presumably with an update to watchOS and iOS.

Apple Celebrates Black History Month with a New Black Unity Collection and More

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

To celebrate Black History Month, Apple has released a new Black Unity Collection. The collection includes an iPhone wallpaper, an Apple Watch face, and a Sports Loop band.

According to Apple, the special-edition Apple Watch Black Unity Sport Loop “features the word “Unity” woven abstractly into the band using red, green, and black yarns that pay homage to the Pan-African flag, while a unique layering of yarns lends a sense of three-dimensionality to the letters.” Both the iPhone wallpaper and watch face combine geometric shapes in green, black, red, and yellow. On the watch face, the numbers on the face change as the minutes pass, using parts of other numbers.

Apple is also marking Black History Month across many of its services, including the App Store, Apple Music, the TV app, Fitness+, News, Podcasts, Books, and Maps. Among the offerings will be Apple Maps Guides by the Smithsonian, curated TV and film collections by Dr. Jelani Cobb, apps and games, special playlists on Apple Music, and podcast spotlights.

Apple also announced that it:

is supporting Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Ghetto Film School (New York, Los Angeles, London), Music Forward (Los Angeles), Shout Mouse Press (Washington, D.C.), and The National Museum of African American Music (Nashville, Tennessee). Apple’s support for these organizations is a continuation of REJI grants over the past two years that helped organizations committed to providing economic, educational, and creative opportunities in communities of color.

The Apple Watch Black Unity Sport Loop is available to order online today and will be in stores on January 24th for $49. The Unity 2023 watch face and iPhone will be available next week, presumably alongside OS updates.

Apple Executives Explain How Crash Detection Works

In an interview with TechCrunch’s Brian Heater, Apple’s vice president of Sensing & Connectivity, Ron Huang, and vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing, Kaiann Drance explain how the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro and Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra detect car crashes. A big part of the equation is the new gyroscopes and accelerometers the devices use. The accelerometers measure G Force, while the gyroscopes detect speed changes. Other sensors come into play, too, including the barometer, GPS, and microphone, as well as Bluetooth and CarPlay.

Not every sensor needs to be triggered to detect a crash, although multiple data points are necessary. As Huang explained:

There’s no silver bullet, in terms of activating crash detection. It’s hard to say how many of these things have to trigger, because it’s not a straight equation. Depending how fast the traveling speed was earlier, determines what signals we have to see later on, as well. Your speed change, combined with the impact force, combined with the pressure change, combined with the sound level, it’s all a pretty dynamic algorithm.

The system will also try to make calls to emergency services first using your mobile provider and will fall back to any other networks as necessary. The crash detection feature will be connected to Apple’s upcoming satellite service when it becomes available to handle the situation where no mobile network is available too.

For more details on how crashes are detected and the testing that went into developing the feature, be sure to read Brian Heater’s story. Also, it’s worth noting that TechCrunch’s interviews appear to have been done before recent reports emerged of roller coasters setting off the crash detection feature.


David Smith Tests the Apple Watch Ultra on a Three-Day Hike in Scotland

David Smith, the developer of Widgetsmith, Watchsmith, Pedometer++, and many other apps, put the new Apple Watch Ultra through its paces on a three-day hike through the Scottish Highlands. Dave confirmed what I’ve suspected all along. The Apple Watch isn’t so much an extreme sports watch as it is an Apple Watch with expanded capabilities that make it work better for strenuous activities like a three-day hike but also make it the best Apple Watch for the things an Apple Watch already does. As he puts it:

While I was putting together this review I kept coming back to the analogy that the Ultra is like a pick-up truck. Useful in regular, daily life but capable of heading offroad or carrying gravel from the garden store. It still drives like a regular car, but can do more.

Dave’s post is accompanied by a video journal of his trip shot on an iPhone 14 Pro. The video is full of great insights into the Ultra’s hardware, a couple of criticisms of its software, and loads of beautiful footage of the Scottish Highlands.


Victoria Song of The Verge Answers the Question: Who Is the Apple Watch Ultra For?

The Apple Watch Ultra reviews are out and instead of a roundup of all of them, I’m just going to link to Victoria Song’s review on The Verge, which comprehensively covers the watch’s new features, answers all of the questions I’ve had since the Ultra’s announcement, and explains better than anyone who it’s for and who it’s not:

After a week of testing, I don’t think it’s going to bump Garmin, Polar, or Coros watches for the Ironman, thru-hiker, or deep-sea diving crowds, at least not yet. But it’s legitimately good for weekend warriors and intermediate athletes — and very tempting for folks who aspire to that status and a whole lot of people who just want the biggest, baddest Apple Watch they can get.

The size of the Ultra is an area of intense interest, and while it’s big and chunky, Song explains that in practice, it feels smaller to wear:

I don’t normally love big smartwatches. I have petite wrists, and anything over 45mm is generally too uncomfortable for all-day wear, looks ridiculous on my arm, and leads to activity tracking inaccuracies. But I’ve found that some watches “wear small” — the Polar Grit X ProSamsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and Suunto 7 all feel smaller than they look. To my surprise, the 49mm Apple Watch Ultra is one of them.

This is one of those things that’s hard to convey through pictures alone. In photos, the Watch Ultra dwarfs my wrist. In person, it feels smaller than some of the 45mm to 47mm round watches I’ve tested.

Song and The Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel both got better than rated battery life too:

The Ultra’s 36-hour battery estimate is also a bit conservative; if you’re not partaking in a triathlon, you’re likely going to get closer to 48 hours. And that’s without low-power mode enabled.

Although there’s room for improvement and Song doesn’t think Apple is going to take the sports watch category by storm just yet, she concludes that:

All in all, the Ultra is one of the best debuts in a new product category that I’ve seen in a while. A lot of thought was put into the Ultra, and it shows. It’s not enough to make Garmin shake in its boots just yet, but it’s more than enough to pique interest and spark competition. Apple’s officially a viable contender in the rugged watch category — and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

The review is full of real-life, hands-on scenarios that make the case for the Apple Watch Ultra as a device that fits the profile of a fitness enthusiast better than the fitness pro but also someone who wants the most Apple Watch available. It’s an interesting mix that will be interesting to watch develop as the Ultra is delivered to customers and evolves in the future.