AMITIAE - Friday 14 August 2015
Cassandra: Apple Watch - Remote Control of Camera and Keynote; and Other Comments
By Graham K. Rogers
With the Watch linked to my iPhone 6, I can also take and make phone calls on the smaller device. I did this in fabricated situations initially: the iPhone was beside me and I was in the same room as the others (calling or being called). The volume was good; the Watch did not have to be close to my mouth or ear; but there was a slight delay between speaking and the voice being heard. That would likely disappear in a real situation, especially if the phone were in my pocket.
CameraLike most of the functions that appear on the Watch, the Camera needs the iPhone. When the two are running in sync, the output from the iPhone camera appears on the screen of the Watch. There are several ways that this can be used.
The iPhone "selfie" has become a major feature of smartphone output, but the Facetime camera on the iPhone which takes 1.2-megapixel photos (1280 by 960), for example, does not have output as good as the 8MP iSight camera. With the Apple Watch I am able to see the output from the iSight camera and by pressing the shutter button on the Watch take a photo on the iPhone, no matter where I am: albeit that must be nearby for the connection to be maintained. This could make for some interesting candid shots.
I think this is an Apple conspiracy to make me use more of my iCloud Photo Library space.
KeynoteI use Keynote a lot while I am teaching and was inconvenienced when I found the latest MacBook Pro I have does not support the infra-red remote control. There are alternatives with the iOS devices and I can run a presentation remotely on the Mac from an iPhone, or similarly from the iPad using the iPhone. These options work fine at home, but in a classroom environment where the Wi-Fi is not as good as it might be and there are difficulties connecting two devices, things may not be as smooth as Apple intended.
My students - who use PCs in the main - resort to the inelegant solution of a Bluetooth mouse to control their PowerPoint output, with the occasional disaster. I could use the Bluetooth trackpad I have, but this is an unnecessary duplication. I might as well walk over to the Mac and press the keys.
With iCloud, the presentations are on the Mac, the iPad and the iPhone, so the device I use to present is almost immaterial. I tend to favour the iPhone as this means I have less weight in my backpack.
All of my students are engineers and are acutely aware of technology developments. I am anticipating some positive comments when I use this one in the classroom.
CommentsEarly use of any new device will never give a good indication of battery life, although if the usage is low, even with extensive access to features on the device, that is likely to be a good sign. Having posted some images that I took with the iPhone/Watch combination to Facebook I was asked about this. I put the watch on when I was ready for work and have been using it extensively.
By late evening, having checked heart rate countless times, taken photographs, talked using the phone function for a few minutes and replied to messages (with a quick tap) saving me from taking the iPhone out of my pocket while in a taxi and later a restaurant, 38% of battery remained.
Some I spoke to are disappointed that the device needs to be run with an iPhone 6 too, but this is a trade-off. I have begun to find that I do not need to access the iPhone for all the tasks I usually do (including phone and messaging). I am also more aware of the need to exercise: I know I should have been doing this, but the Watch now nudges me (literally, with its haptic feedback) to at least recognise that I should stand up and walk around every once in a while.
There is far more to this device than meets the eye.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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