IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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The Apple Watch is the only smartwatch people will care about

The Apple Watch is the only smartwatch people will care about | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Even though smartwatches aren't really popular yet, Apple CEO Tim Cook is confident in the Apple Watch.

When asked about the device at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Tuesday, he implied that the Apple Watch will be the first smartwatch consumers really care about.

He likened the Apple Watch to the iPod and iPad, saying that although tablets and MP3 players existed beforehand, many of them weren't very easy to use.

Here's what he said at the conference, according to a transcript from iMore:

If you think about the, for those of you can remember, the MP3 industry, before the iPod — we weren't the first company to make an MP3; there were lots of companies in the... you may not be able to remember that, but there were lots of them out there. They weren't used very much. They were fundamentally too hard to use, and the user interface was really bad. You almost needed a PhD to use these. They weren't, they're not memorable. They didn't really move the dial.

And the tablet business was kind of like this, too. There were lots of tablets shipping when the iPad came out. But there was nothing earth-shattering. There were very niche-y kind of applications; you probably weren't using one like you're using now.

And so I see the smart watch category very much like that. There are several things that are called "smart watches" that are shipping, but I'm not sure you could name any. Maybe you could. I'm not sure the audience could name very many. But certainly there's been none that have changed the way people live their lives.

This is somewhat true — there are plenty of smartwatches out there that are clunky and big, or that do too many things and aren't very simple. It's unclear, however, whether or not the Apple Watch will be one of the first devices to change that.

We expect to learn more about what the Apple Watch can do in April when it ships. 

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Android Wear update adds name-brand watchfaces and interface improvements

Android Wear update adds name-brand watchfaces and interface improvements | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Android Wear is closing out 2014 with significant software updates geared toward personal fashion flair and improved usability. The more showy enhancements include a bunch of fun, style-forward watch faces from name brands and artists. But behind the scenes, Google is improving its smartwatch platform by making tweaks to the on-watch experience itself (everything’s listed in the bullets at the end of this story).

If you’re already a Wear watch user, you’ll want this release, which is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop and rolls out over the next week via over-the-air updates. Let’s get straight to the details...

A whole new watch face platform

Let’s face it: Most of the time, your Wear watch functions as “just” a watch. But that’s OK, and now Google is introducing watch face features that make the basic Wear experience even more personal and expressive.

First, there’s now an official watch face API that will help speed up the creation of faces that won’t break the essential Android Wear experience. Second, Google is launching its watch face initiative with scads of new dials and readouts from big-name brands. There are too many to list here, but they include games (Pac Man), fashion (Rebecca Minkoff), high-concept visual art (Un Petite Monde), and a few healthy doses of testosterone (Porsche and Red Bull, to name just two).

Third, a new Android Wear companion app will make it easier to browse, download and switch watch faces. Google Play itself is getting a new section devoted to watch faces as well. Bottom line: Google is taking watch faces very seriously—all in the effort toward making watch faces much more fun.

Quiet, but very welcome, interface tweaks

The new watch faces will certainly cause the biggest splash, because who doesn’t like customizing a smartwatch? But once all the fun dies down, we might remember this latest Wear update for its usability tweaks, many of which respond to user requests. Here’s what to expect:

  • The ability to retrieve cards you’ve dismissed by accident.
  • Tapping on the watch face will show your most recently used actions at the top of the list.
  • Swiping down from the top of the screen will give you a new settings menu (it sounds like the third-party Wear Mini Launcher).
  • A new Theater Mode keeps the screen dim and mutes vibrations in a dark room.
  • Sunlight Mode boosts the screen to maximum brightness (it’s unclear if this mode automatically responds to signals from an ambient light sensor, or is entirely user activated).
  • The ability to block app notifications—on the watch itself, without digging into smartphone settings.
  • A new screen in the Android Wear companion app that shows Wear app battery and storage stats.

Between new watch faces and lots of nifty user-experience improvements, the latest update looks to touch on the entire Android Wear experience, and not just a limited use case, like offline music, which was introduced in October. Stay tuned for more coverage as our own Wear watches update and we get a chance to play with the new features.

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