Unless you have any great aspirations to own a Rolex, Apple’s smartwatches are the most expensive timepieces you’ll ever consider buying. Almost all of Apple’s hardware is expensive to own, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Owning an Apple Watch is seen as something of a status symbol to some, but to others, they’ve become as essential a piece of tech as their laptop or tablet. When digital watches were invented during the 20th century, the people responsible for that invention could barely have imagined that they were starting a process that would eventually lead to today’s touchscreen wristwear.
It almost goes without saying that an Apple Watch is more than just a watch. If all it could do was tell the time, it would be impossible to justify the cost of the item. If you’re one of the many people who’s just received an Apple Watch for Christmas, though, you might be wondering what else you can do with your new toy. There’s a surprisingly long list of answers, and most of them involve the apps you can download for the device. We’ve highlighted a few of them here.
It’s likely that Apple Watches will be capable of even more in the future. It’s already possible to play a few games on the tiny screens, and online slots websites have wasted no time in making their products available to smart watch wearers. While high-performance games are difficult to shrink down to watch size, some slot titles like Fluffy Favourites place little demand on processors and don’t require much in terms of screen space, especially when they are the mini mobile slots. We’ve already seen the casino industry do an excellent job of providing slot games to smartphone users, and they’re treating smart watch wearers the same way. You can do far more with your watch than tell the time and gamble on it, though, as you’re about to find out.
The ability to monitor the health of your heart has been possible on every model of the Apple Watch since the Series 4 and now comes as default with later models. An ECG, which is short for “electrocardiogram,” senses and tracks your heart rate and monitors it for changes or irregularities. That’s a useful thing to have for anybody, and even more so for someone with health issues. The basic software behind the app got a major upgrade in December 2020 and is now more powerful and accurate than ever before. You’ll also need an iPhone in order for the app to work properly, but that’s generally not an issue. It’s rare for someone to own an Apple Watch without also having an iPhone.
We’re becoming used to interacting with our televisions using devices other than the remote control that comes with them. If you have a smart speaker and a smart television in your home, you can probably turn your TV on and off and change channels just by talking to it. The remote app for the Apple Watch offers greater control than that, though. You can change channels, pause and play live television, and even see television listings so you can decide what to watch next.
You’ll need a friend who also has an Apple Watch for this to work, but it’s a lot of fun if you have one. Invite a friend to start a conversation through the app, and then have voice conversations through the phone. In principle, it works exactly the same way as a full-sized walkie-talkie does. You hold the button down when you want to speak and let it go when you get a response. For a brief conversation, it’s more convenient than pulling out your phone and making a call.
Your smart watch can’t actually take photographs – or at least it can’t do so yet. What it can do, however, is act as a remote for the camera on your iPhone. That means you can take selfies without needing a selfie stick and without your face being uncomfortably close to the screen. This works brilliantly tell for group photos. Just put your phone on the other side of the room, line everybody else up, and press the button on your watch when you’re ready for the picture to be taken.
Given how bad the majority of news has been for the past year, you might not want to use the news app, but perhaps everything will be better in 2021. If you’re someone who likes to stay abreast of current events and don’t always have your phone to hand, you can check out what’s happening in the world on your watch screen. If you’re really eager to follow a particular story, you can even have your watch send you notifications about selected breaking news events. Everything you could possibly want to know about the day’s stories is there for you at a glance.
The more popular Apple Phones become, the more apps will become available for them. We suspect it will only be a generation or two before they start coming fitted with cameras as standard, and someone will eventually master the art of making games for the devices, too. As voice interfaces improve, your Apple Watch could take on the role of a personal assistant and book calendar appointments for you. It can already send brief responses to text messages, so imagine what would be possible if it could interface with apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Relations between Apple and Facebook would have to improve in order for that to become possible, but we shouldn’t rule anything out at this stage.
We know that Apple Watches aren’t for everybody right now, but smart phones weren’t for everybody when they first appeared, and now we can’t imagine what life would be like without them. Sooner or later, everyone’s going to own a smart watch, and Apple would like to own the majority of that market. If you’re not wearing a smart watch on your wrist at the beginning of 2021, you might find you’re wearing one by the end of the year.