TIME Apple watch

7 Most Surprising Things About Owning an Apple Watch

Apple Inc.'s Apple Watch Unboxed As Device Goes On Sale
Bloomberg/Getty Images

Apple's latest gadget comes with more than a few surprises

I’ve had an Apple Watch for a little over a week now. The most common question people ask you when you’ve got Apple’s wearable computer on your wrist is, “Has it changed your life?” Which is an odd question to ask about a gadget that starts at $349 and is, in large part, an accessory to your phone.

But the question points to the peculiar state Apple and its customers find themselves in at the moment. Anticipation and chatter about the Watch is high, but few people have actually seen one in the wild. The Watch’s rollout is unique compared to previous Apple products in that customers can, for the most part, only order it online and that initial supply appears to be extremely limited.

So has the Apple Watch changed my life? No. But it is an incredibly well-designed, compelling product. (I’m wearing a 38-millimeter stainless-steel model, which retails for $949 with a matching link bracelet.) A full review is coming—once the blush of newness has worn off—but in the meantime, here are the most surprising things about using an Apple Watch:

The battery life is very good.

One of the most prevalent initial concerns about the Watch was how long its battery would last. Presenting the device, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he personally recharged his every night, suggesting about a day’s worth of charge. And yet, many were skeptical.

Happily, this quasi-promise turns out to have been on the conservative side. I’ve been wearing the Watch during fairly long days (7AM-10PM) and have yet to have it flip into reserve power mode, which limits some functions while preserving time-telling. Most days, even ones that include a half an hour to an hour of exercise, the Watch has had about 20% battery left when I pop it into its charging cradle in the evenings.

MORE The Odd Thing Apple Banned from the Apple Watch

This is all the more impressive since I’ve been poking and prodding it more than I might once I’ve worn it for a few months. There is a caveat, several days of charge would allow sleep-monitoring, something many dedicated fitness trackers now do by default.

Its gorgeous.

This may seem obvious, but I find the design to be one of the Watch’s chief virtues. All of Apple’s products are deeply thought-through and finely milled. But the Watch isn’t just a gadget, it’s fashion. It’s just a nice looking object. And much of the time, that’s all it is since the screen automatically turns off to preserve power.

Siri works really well.

The Watch doesn’t have a built-in keyboard. Which makes sense since typing on it would be difficult, if not impossible. If you want to search for a location in Maps, send a text message, or set an alarm or timer, you can dictate using a version of Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant. This works incredibly well. I routinely find myself lifting my wrist and saying “Hey Siri,” which launches the Siri app. From there, using Siri is very much the same as on an iPhone or iPad (though, the Watch implementation doesn’t talk back).

People don’t notice it (much).

Aside from a few Apple diehards who honed onto my wrist like heat-guided missiles, few people seem to notice I’m wearing a smartwatch. This is comforting since, I’ll admit, I was a little worried about making a statement. This may owe to a preference for long-sleeve shirts or to having the smaller version. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to not have to have a conversation about the Watch unless I choose to, say, by obnoxiously and grandiosely offering to tell a coworker the time even though she never asked.

There are lots of apps.

And some of them are pretty good. Apple is initially limiting how much access app developers have to the Watch’s underlying hardware, like the heart rate monitor for instance. That limits some of their functions, but also likely helps preserve battery life and minimize software conflicts. That also means, in practice, a lot of third-party apps are limited. My favorite so far: Nike+ for running, taxi-hailing service Uber, Hue to control my apartment’s smart lighting, Instagram, and one more I’ll get into below.

MORE The New Apple Ad Will Break Your Heart into a Million Tiny Pieces

The bands matter.

Apple loaned me a link bracelet and a white sport band. Switching the bands is extremely easy—and addictive. I’ve been swapping them out depending on whether I plan to exercise or not, but I could see having a range of bands depending on what I’m wearing, et cetera. Much like accessories for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad before it, I anticipate the secondary market for Watch bands becoming considerable in scope.

And an obvious bonus: TIME looks great on it.

Not a surprise, really. And I’m clearly biased, but if you have an Apple Watch, make sure to check out our app. More details here.

Read next: Why Tattoos Might Be a Huge Problem for the Apple Watch

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TIME Gadgets

32 Useful Productivity Gadgets for 2015

From all-in-one printers to all-in-one cards to gadget chargers, bring productivity to next level

Inc. logo

Budget is a four-letter word at most small companies, but keeping one is a necessary evil. As you plan your spending for 2015, you might keep track of these upcoming business gadgets (a few of them are already shipping). They can give you that razor-sharp competitive edge.

  • Archos 80b Helium Tablet

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    Archos

    This low-cost eight-inch tablet has a fast quad-core processor and a bright 1280×800-pixel screen, but the big selling point is that you can sign up for 4G wireless service and skip Wi-Fi. That means better connectivity at hotels and on business trips.

  • New Matter MOD-t 3D Printer

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    New Matter

    This low-cost 3D printer uses Polylactic Acid (PLA) plastic filament, which is a fancy way of saying it can make 3D objects that are about 6x4x5 inches in size. The main perk is that you don’t have to know a ton about 3D printing-you just load up and press print.

  • Wocket Smart Wallet

    For those who travel frequently for work and have multiple credit cards—for business and personal use—this wallet holds just one card that you program with the credit card details you need for that transaction—say, a Best Buy card or a Visa card.

  • HP Zvr 23.6-inch Virtual Reality Display

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    HP

    HP is on a roll lately with innovative new products. First it announced the HP Sprout, which has a secondary display used for scanning objects.The HP Zvr shows a 3D holographic image and knows the position of your head so you can interact with virtual objects.

  • Solpro Charger

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    Solpro

    After 90 minutes in direct sunlight, this solar charger will have enough power to charge your smartphone once. There are two USB ports and the device can charge your phone as it draws energy from the sun (even if the charger itself is at zero).

  • Primera Trio All-in-One Printer

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    Primera Technology, Inc.

    At just 2.7 pounds, this all-in-one printer is ready for any business excursion. You can scan, copy, and print documents. No word yet on print speed, but you can scan and copy images at 600 DPI and print at 4800 x 1200 dpi. An optional battery means you can print even on an airplane.

  • ZutaLabs Pocket Printer

    One of the most unique business products you’ll find, this portable printer moves across a sheet laying flat on a table and prints out the document. You connect from your phone or laptop using Wi-Fi. The battery lasts long enough for one hour of printing.

  • Signal Edge Plus

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    dreamGEAR, LLC

    Not all phone chargers are the same. This unique product works as a stand so you can prop up your phone and view the screen while you charge. It pumps out enough power to recharge at least once from fully drained. The stand folds up for easy transport.

  • Canon MAXIFY MB5320 Wireless Small Office Printer

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    Canon

    The best feature on this fast office printer is that it also doubles as a duplex scanner. That means you can scan a double-sided sheet in one pass. If you store documents in the cloud using Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive, you can also print directly from those services.

  • Phorce Freedom Laptop Bag

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    Phorce

    A lower-cost version of the Phorce Pro bag, this model is thinner, lighter, and a bit more business-friendly. Yet, it still has an interior battery for charging up phones and tablets. The cables are hidden within the compartments. Comes only in black.

  • Flapit Counter

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    Flapit

    Another unusual product for business use, this counter is like a stock-ticker for social media. It sits in an office or retail store and can show Facebook likes, YouTube hits, and other data in real-time. It connects over Wi-Fi from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

  • Epson WorkForce WF-100 Mobile Printer

    This smart business printer uses a quick-drying ink to avoid smudges. You can output 4×6 glossy photos as well, and the printer can be connected to a power outlet or used with the built-in battery from anywhere. Fully charged, you can expect to print 100 sheets.

  • Sony Smartwatch 3 Stainless Steel

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    Sony

    The latest version of the Sony smartwatch uses Android Wear for easy syncing to your smartphone and a bountiful selection of apps. The wrist strap is stainless steel and looks more like a standard watch. You can control the watch with voice, touch, and finger gestures.

  • Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One 23

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    Lenovo

    Not every monitor you buy these days can also house a mini computer on the back (sold separately). The ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One is innovative because it saves precious desk space. Once you drop in a mini computer like the Lenovo M83 for $749, it can be locked for security.

  • Dell XPS 18 Portable All-in-One

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    Dell

    Massive tablets might not seem too portable, but this 18-inch monster is designed for conference rooms and meetings. There’s a kickstand so you can use it like a normal Windows 8 touchscreen computer. It has a 178-degree viewing angle so even the CEO can participate.

  • XPlore RangerX Tablet

    Drop, kick, throw, or dunk this rugged Android tablet and it will just shrug and keep working. Designed for serious industrial use, it has an RFID and NFC reader, front and rear cameras, and support for built-in 4G LTE wireless service (need to hunt around for Wi-Fi).

  • IoSafe 1513 NAS RAID

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    ioSafe

    Protecting your data just got a little safer. This storage device will keep operating even in extreme temps (up to 1,550 degrees for 30 minutes) and flood (up to 10 feet for three days). It also handles massive amounts of data–as much as 90TB if you add expansion bays. The base price does not come preloaded with any disk drives.

  • ChargeHub

    chargehub
    ChargeHub

    For an office environment, this seven-port charging device is a boon for productivity. You can charge one or two tablets plus several smartphones all at once. The device comes in a wide range of colors including boardroom-friendly white and a bright blue.

  • Plastc

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    Plastc

    With just a swipe of your finger, you can unlock this powerful new credit card–which can be used to replace gift cards in a store and standard credit cards. It works as a magnetic stripe card or using Near Field Communication (the same tech as Apple Pay).

  • Asus Transformer T300 Chi Notebook

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    Asus

    The big selling point on this detachable laptop/tablet computer is the crystal-clear display, which runs at 2560×1440 pixels. It uses a wide-angle viewing technology so you can show it off in a conference room and everyone will see the screen just fine.

  • Philips UltraWide 34-inch Curved Display BDM3490UC

    This curved monitor helps you focus on documents, images, and videos by cocooning you with a slight curve. The screen is widescreen to help with productivity apps so you can run them side by side. The QHD 3440×1440 resolution screen is crisp and bright.

  • Mophie Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 6

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    Mophie

    A slightly beefier version of the acclaimed Juice Pack case for the iPhone 6, this model will charge up your phone once plus 20 percent. (There’s also a standard Juice Pack for the iPhone 6 and one for the iPhone 6 Plus that charge up once.) With the case, it means you get two full charges and can enjoy all-day usage plus extra protection from spills and drops.

  • Zolt Laptop Charger

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    Zolt

    The Zolt charger comes with interchangeable tips designed for different laptops. It doubles as a phone or tablet charger as well with three USB ports. As a bonus, if the charger doesn’t quite fit behind a table in the hotel, it rotates 90 degrees for an easier fit.

  • Intel Compute Stick

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    Intel

    Intel tends to focus on high-end computing, chipsets, and innovation video tech like RealSense. but this all-in-one thumbdrive computer is worth considering. You plug it into the HDMI port of a monitor or television and then boot into Windows 8 or Linux.

  • Acer Chromebook 15

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    Acer

    With a 15.6-inch screen and a powerful Intel Core processor, this notebook competes easily with the best Windows 8 notebooks. (It doesn’t have the same overhead for drivers or an operating system and boots into a browser.) The screens runs at a crisp 1920×1080 pixels and looks clear and colorful, but the best feature is the low $249 price.

  • iRobot Ava 500

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    iRobot

    The iRobot Ava is designed to reduce airfare costs–you can control it from any computer. Videoconferencing robots came out a few years ago, but now they are starting to appear in business because they now support more applications and integrate into networks easier. (it works with Cisco telepresence software and can be managed on a cloud service.)

  • Toshiba Portege Z20t Detachable Ultrabook

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    Toshiba

    This detachable tablet/notebook is packed with extra features. It has 8GB of RAM and an intel M5 processor to speed up your software. The spill-resistant keyboard helps you type up business docs quickly, and the 1.6-pound tablet helps you go mobile.

  • Acer H7550ST Short Throw Projector

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    Acer

    A short-throw projector is ideal for smaller conference rooms. You can place one on a desk near the screen and still project an image that’s as large as 25 feet. This model sports a nifty feature. You can plug in a Google Chromecast USB dongle to show slides without a computer.

  • Prong PWR Case 5

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    Prong

    This durable case for the iPhone 5 (an iPhone 6 version will be out soon) comes in two versions, one that charges your phone to 80 percent for $100 and one that charges to 100 percent for $120. The main benefit is that the case itself has the two-prong connector for a standard outlet.

  • LaCie Rugged RAID

    This drive can be partitioned as a RAID, which means it keeps data safe and runs faster than a single drive. Since it’s portable, you can use it anywhere–plus, it’s rugged enough to withstand shocks, drops, and light water spills. The drive comes with 4TB of storage.

  • Lenovo ThinkPad Stack

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    Lenovo

    The ThinkPad Stack includes a Bluetooth speaker for videoconferencing, a power charger for phones and tablets, 1TB of storage, and a Wi-Fi access point. Each component is stackable and you can mix and match the ones you want to use. They all use the same power source.

  • Dell XPS 13 Laptop

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    Dell

    Dell deserves credit for making a laptop with such a razor-thin display. It looks like a tablet screen and is super-thin at just 0.2 inch. The 3,200×1,800 resolution screen makes business docs much easier to read when you zoom in and makes photos and videos pop. The laptop lasts a full 15 hours, and that’s without any additional (larger) battery pack.

    This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com.

TIME Gadgets

Sony Is Taking Advance Orders for Custom-Made Earphones That Cost $2,500

All of a sudden Beats look crazy affordable

There are expensive earphones and then there are Sony’s new Just Ear XJE-MH1 earphones.

After unveiling the product late last year, the Japanese tech giant announced that it was taking advance orders this week for the earphones tailor-made to mesh with an individual’s environment, ears and audio tastes.

To optimize the listening experience, the buyer’s individual measurements are taken, allowing the device to fit snuggly along the contours of the outer ear. However, the experience does not come cheap.

Rocket News 24 reports that the headphones will sell for approximately $2,500.

TIME Gadgets

Why Tattoos Might Be a Huge Problem for the Apple Watch

A customer tries out an Apple Inc. Apple Watch on display at a SoftBank Corp. store in Tokyo on April 24, 2015.
Bloomberg/Getty Images A customer tries out an Apple Inc. Apple Watch on display at a SoftBank Corp. store in Tokyo on April 24, 2015.

Dark ink could make it harder for the device to read heartbeats

Tattooed tech lovers, take note: The Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor may not work for people with tattoos covering their wrists.

According to iMore, watch owners with inked-up wrists have noted on Twitter and Reddit that they have had trouble getting the device to read their heartbeats. The problem is likely occurring because the watch’s sensors utilize LED lights to determine when blood flow is increasing on the wrist during each heartbeat.

Apple explains the process in a support article for the watch:

Apple Watch uses green LED lights paired with light‑sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through your wrist at any given moment. When your heart beats, the blood flow in your wrist — and the green light absorption — is greater. Between beats, it’s less. By flashing its LED lights hundreds of times per second, Apple Watch can calculate the number of times the heart beats each minute — your heart rate.

The presence of artificial ink on the skin can apparently interfere with this process, according to iMore, by reducing the Apple Watch sensor’s ability to detect changes in light. The tech news site tried to replicate some of the complaints using tattooed and non-tattooed wrists. In particular, tattoos that make use of dark colors could make the heart rate monitoring feature yield faulty results. Natural skin pigments don’t seem to cause the same issue, but other things like scars might.

Apple acknowledges in its support article that “various factors” could make it impossible for a small subset of users to get a heart rate reading, but the company doesn’t specify what those factors are. Potential buyers who sport ink should probably test the watch at an Apple Store before purchasing.

Update: On Friday Apple updated its support documents for Apple Watch to include information about tattoos potentially interfering with the device. “Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance,” the help page now reads. “The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.”

TIME Gadgets

You’d Never Guess the Wearable Device President Obama Uses

Sorry, Apple

Though he’s still attached to his BlackBerry, Barack Obama is hopping on the wearable device bandwagon as well.

The President was spotted wearing a Fitbit Surge during a Wall Street Journal interview this week:

The newly released Surge, which includes a built-in GPS and call and text alerts, is a direct competitor to the Apple Watch. Seems President Obama is continuing to show love to lots of gadgets outside of Apple’s product line. We’ll have to keep an eye out for the Surge next time the President is on the basketball court.

Read more: Review: The Surge Is the Most Powerful Fitbit Ever

TIME Apple

This is Rush Limbaugh’s Absolute Favorite Apple Watch Feature

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
George Gojkovich—Getty Images Radio talk show host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh looks on from the sideline before a National Football League game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 6, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

No, it's not the share-your-heartbeat feature

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh got his hands on an Apple Watch, and he has a fairly positive opinion of the device.

Limbaugh wasn’t bowled over by the smart watch—”there’s no question it’s cool, but I’m just gonna tell you it’s exactly as I thought,” he told listeners Monday. However, he is extremely impressed with Apple’s digital assistant Siri, which he says has been improved from previous Apple devices.

Here’s Limbaugh’s Siri praise in full:

I’ll tell you one thing where the watch is better. Siri. I am convinced, and there’s been a couple of news stories about the new back end that Apple’s used. They’re on the third iteration of Siri it turns out, software wise. I’m telling you the dictation on this watch is flawless. It has yet to make a mistake since I set it up and paired it Friday afternoon. It has yet to make an input mistake. It has translated everything I’ve said 100 percent correctly.

No word on how much experience Limbaugh has with Google Now or Microsoft’s Cortana — maybe he can review them next.

TIME technology

Watch This Guy Spray-Paint His Apple Watch to Make It Gold

Casey Neistat's latest video on the latest trend

The gold Apple Watch, like the one Beyoncé was recently seen wearing, probably costs more than you’re willing to spend. Casey Neistat, a filmmaker and YouTube star, had the same thought. So instead of buying one that way, he got a little creative.

Neistat found some gold spray paint, took the straps off the watch then taped off its face and back. Then, he carefully sprayed on both sides. Afterward, when he took the tape off and put the straps back on, the difference didn’t seem too noticeable from the real thing. But perhaps he shouldn’t show it off to jewelry experts; they’re likely to see something’s not quite right.

TIME Gadgets

See What’s Inside the Apple Watch

Apple's new device has a few surprises inside

What exactly is making the Apple Watch tick? The good folks over at iFixit have answered that burning question for us by taking apart one of Apple’s new devices. They discovered that the screen and battery are fairly easy to remove but the watch’s S1 integrated computer chip, which Apple has disclosed little information about, is harder to wrench loose. Below the chip, there are hints of new health features that Apple may yet implement in the watch if they receive regulatory approval. Check out the full breakdown of the Apple Watch in the pictures above.

TIME Gadgets

Watch the New Apple Watch Commercials

"Three perfectly pitched TV ads"

Apple product launches have been known to go wrong. Servers have crashed (iPhone 3G). Mobs have thrown eggs (iPhone 4S). Line squatters have spoiled the optics (iPhone 6/6+).

There was nothing wrong with the optics Friday. Whatever is happening in the space where demand overwhelms supply is happening behind factory and firewalls, well out of sight.

What we’re seeing instead are three perfectly pitched TV ads and a queue of Parisians outside Colette on a sunny April day in Paris. AppleInsider’s Daniel Eran Dilger was there.

Things could still go bad, but so far so good.

Hats off to Angela Ahrendts, her team at Apple Retail and whoever else had a hand.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.

TIME Advertising

The New Apple Watch Ad Will Break Your Heart into a Million Tiny Pieces

It's about love—and a smartwatch

The Apple Watch launches today. And the company is ramping up its marketing campaign with three new ads. Titled ‘Rise’, ‘Up’ and ‘Us,’ the spots highlight everyday activities enhanced by the Watch. The ads are distinctly more style-focused than the firm’s other product-focused marketing.

‘Us’ (above) is about couples, love, and what’s likely a first, the soupçon of sex. It highlights the Watch’s communication features such as Digital Touch sketch, tap and heartbeat sharing features, and animated emoji.

The other two spots, ‘Rise’ and ‘Up’ (both below), focus on daily routines and working out.

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