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Apple Watch updated; Apple Watch book, not so much

In the nearly three years since the Apple Watch was introduced, we’ve seen four hardware iterations, four operating system releases, and millions of orders, making it a fairly mature product by modern tech standards.

During that time, we’ve also seen four releases of Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course, including the first version we published before the watch was even released. And now…well, we think four is a pretty good number, for now. Sales of the book aren’t enough to justify updating the manuscript to account for the changes in Apple Watch Series 3 and watchOS 4.

That turns out to be a pretty good opportunity for you and/or dozens of your Apple Watch-owning friends, because we’ve put together a great deal. Looking over the current version, easily 95% of the information is still relevant and helpful to anyone with an Apple Watch. Want to install apps, customize watch faces and complications, get driving or walking directions, or send messages? It’s all there.

So here’s the deal: you can now buy the (slightly outdated) book for just $5—half of its original price!

Here’s an overview of what’s changed in the Apple Watch that isn’t specifically in the book:

  • The Apple Watch now runs watchOS 4, which represents more of a focus on fitness activities and technologies used in Apple’s ecosystem. watchOS 4 runs on all versions of Apple Watch, even the original “Series 0” hardware.

  • The Dock, which comes up when you press the side button, now displays apps as a layer of cards representing the most recent apps you’ve used. In the Watch app on the iPhone (in My Watch > Dock), you can change that to display Favorites, and put the apps in the order you prefer.

  • The app screen is, by default, the same blobby collection of circular app icons, but now there’s an alternative. Force-touch the app screen and choose List View to see the apps as a scrolling list.

  • Apple introduced a few new watch faces in watchOS 4. The Siri face is named because it has a prominent Siri button you can tap (if you’d prefer to invoke the assistant with a tap instead of pressing the digital crown or raising the watch and saying, “Hey Siri”). It also features informative cards that display things such as Apple News items, calendar events, and reminders. Also new is a Kaleidoscope face that takes photos and mirrors them into geometric patterns. And I also confess an affinity for the dozens of fun, animated Toy Story-themed faces.

  • The Apple Watch Series 3 includes a model with built-in cellular networking, which means the iPhone doesn’t need to be connected to the watch to use wireless features such as messaging, phone calls, or streaming music playback. Prices to enable the cellular feature vary among wireless providers, but in most cases it’s an extra monthly fee.

  • The Apple Watch Series 3 models also include an altimeter, a faster processor, more internal memory, and Bluetooth 4.2 wireless networking.

  • watchOS 4 adds the capability to stream music with an Apple Music subscription, versus syncing music tracks to the device separately. It also supports sending and receiving money via Apple Pay’s peer-to-peer payment feature.

  • The fitness features in watchOS 4 include more types of workouts, as well as compatibility with several gym equipment models to sync more detailed real-time workout data as you’re exercising.

  • Apple incorporated more coaching prompts and reminders to the activity features, providing nudges throughout the day if, for example, your exercise ring isn’t as far along at some point compared to the same time on other days. It sounds like a nagging feature, but in my experience, Apple has found a good balance between motivation and exasperation.

These are mostly refinements for what was already in the Apple Watch experience since the last release of Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course. If you’re looking for a great guide that covers all of the other foundational topics about the watch, take advantage of our new pricing for the book at just $5.

Posted by Jeff Carlson (Permalink)