Yesterday, we reported that the latest iOS 8.2 beta reveals that an Apple Watch application for the iPhone is in the works. Now, we have some more details. Within Apple, the application is currently called the Apple Watch “Companion” app for iPhone. This application manages settings for Apple Watch applications, as well as settings for iPhone/Watch interactivity. The Companion app’s settings reveal some novel new functions that are coming to the Apple Watch. Below, we highlight some of the most interesting new features and settings.
- Users will be able to manage and organize applications on the Apple Watch Home Screen via a virtual view on the iPhone Companion application.
- A new clock face feature called Monogram has been added as a complication (a background detail you can choose to enable or disable). Like a real monogram, this feature will allow users to include a virtual, embedded stamp of 1-4 letters – typically your initials – directly on the clock face. This is an interesting customization, giving you the chance to make your watch look more individually designed.
- Users will also be able to enable a subtle red dot that appears atop the Apple Watch’s clock face whenever a new notification is received on your iPhone.
- You can choose a stock to track via a watch face complication, seeing either its current price, point change, percentage change, or market cap. The same stock will appear in Glances, as well.
- Lacking a keyboard, the Apple Watch will allow users to respond to messages via voice. As Apple has previously detailed, users can respond via either transcribed dictation or actual audio messages. The app can switch between Dictation or Audio Replies as the default mechanism for replying to text messages. You can also choose to use either form of reply at the time of the individual message.
- Users will be able enable or disable Read Receipts, just like on the Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
- Users will also be able to set up and manage default text replies for incoming text messages.
- Users will also be able to choose to not receive text message alerts or just to receive them from people in their contacts list. Like on the iPhone, you can also choose how many alerts you get per individual incoming message.
- Users will be able to enable or disable Taptic Engine tapping of the user’s wrist when it is time to turn for turn-by-turn directions.
- Like Apple’s other products, Apple Watch will have a series of key accessibility features.
- To access Accessibility Settings on the fly, users will triple-click the Digital Crown.
- The Apple Watch will have a VoiceOver feature that can speak text that is displayed on the screen. Users will be able to scroll through text to be spoken using two fingers. VoiceOver can be enabled either by merely raising a wrist or by double tapping the display.
- Users will also be able to zoom on the Apple Watch’s screen: double tap with two fingers to zoom, use two fingers to pan around, and double tap while dragging to adjust the zoom.
- There will also be accessibility settings to reduce motion, control stereo audio balance, reduce transparency, switch to grayscale mode, disable system animations, and enable bold text.
- Like on the iPhone, you will be able to set up a dedicated four number passcode for your Apple Watch.
- The passcode system is required to use Apple Pay; you can only make Apple Pay payments if you’ve entered the passcode after putting the watch on your wrist. If you remove or change your passcode, you will need to re-enter the details for your Apple Pay credit cards.
- Users will also be able to unlock the Apple Watch by unlocking the connected iPhone, possibly for people who want to use lengthier passcodes. This feature will only work if the Apple Watch is attached to your body.
- There will be an option for the Apple Watch to wipe its own data if its passcode is entered incorrectly 10 times.
Activity, Motion & Fitness:
- The Companion app will let you activate granular fitness features such as stand reminders when you’ve been sitting, activity progress every 4/6/8 hours, completion of move/exercise/stand goals, achievements, and Monday summaries of movement.
- You can separately activate or deactivate heart rate tracking to automatically calculate calories burned, as well as tracking of your body movements to determine step counts and fitness level.
- Within the Companion app, the About Screen for the Apple Watch will show storage capacity, the number of songs stored on the device, the number of photos stored on the device, the number of apps on the Watch, and device serial number, Bluetooth, and WiFi details. This confirms that the Watch will have usable storage space. Apple has previously said that users can store music on the device itself, though photos were not explicitly mentioned in much detail aside from saying favorited photos will appear.
A gallery of additional screenshots, based on a software mechanism developed by Steven Troughton-Smith that runs the Companion app on an iPhone, spotlights other features. The user interface of the application will likely change by launch, but these images do portray the current interface in testing in addition to the more important feature set.
The Apple Watch was first announced in September alongside the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Pay. Apple has only said it will ship in “early 2015,” but sources with knowledge of the company’s plans have said that the Watch is currently on track to ship in March. It is likely that the Apple Watch Companion app for iPhone will ship alongside the Watch and iOS 8.2 in March.