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Smartwatch Wars: The Apple Watch versus Android Wear, in screenshots

By |September 11th, 2014|Apple, Companion |NFC, News, Outside Sources*, Smart Watches|

No one has really figured out what a smartwatch should look like yet, but one thing is for sure: Google and Apple have taken vasty different routes to getting a computer on your wrist. To show just how different, we put together this gallery of similar screens from the Apple Watch and Android Wear.

They should be easy enough to tell apart: the Apple Watch is the square one, while the Android Wear screenshots are all from the Moto 360 and therefore (mostly) round.

Android Wear Vs. Apple Watch   a ScreenShots Showdown

While we know just about everything there is to know about the Moto 360, the Apple Watch isn’t actually a released product yet, so we’re going off our best educated guess for some of these. We had to swipe pictures from Apple’s promotional images (which sadly weren’t a super-high resolution), and it was up to us to crop them into a “screenshot.”

Display Specifications – What are they?

Apple hasn’t released specs for the screen, and where exactly the bezel stops and starts in many of Apple’s promotional shots is up to interpretation. By our calculations, though, and by using enlightening images like this, it looks like the Apple Watch has a 4:5 aspect ratio.

The Watche’s Operating Systems

The watch OS (we don’t know the operating system’s name yet) usually has a black background picture on a black bezel, so to maximize screen space, Apple often puts UI elements right against the edge of the screen, allowing the bezel to act as the “padding” that would traditionally be in a well-designed interface.

Enlarge / Density.  Apple/Ron Amadeo


Information Density, What is it?

Of course one is round and one is square, but the biggest difference between the two platforms is information density. Google seems content with only a few lines of text OR one button per screen, while Apple seems to want to pack as much into a single screen as it can. It’s almost the complete opposite of what you would expect from the two companies: Google built an airy, picture-heavy OS, while Apple built a more powerful, denser OS with an all-black motif.

Fitt’s Law in Full Effect

Fitt’s law is in full effect here. Google’s huge one-per-screen buttons will be easier to hit in a hurry, but getting to the one you want will require more scrolling. Apple doesn’t require as much scrolling, but tapping the smaller buttons will take more aim and care.


Apple’s watch OS is so dense it has added a side-mounted jog dial (a “digital crown” in Apple-speak), which will let you “tab” through screen options. This means targets don’t need to be large enough for touch, and allows users to interact with the screen without covering it. Ironically, smartphone Android supports touchscreens, d-pads, keyboards, mice, trackballs, video game controllers, and nearly every input method on Earth, but none of that made it to Android Wear, which only supports a touchscreen.

More App-Centric Approach

Apple is also taking a much more app-centric approach, putting apps on the main screen, just like on a smartphone. Google’s watch OS is primarily notification driven, with the “app drawer” buried several screens deep into the OS, or hidden behind a verbal “start [app name].”

Apple rarely demoed voice commands—all of its apps and features seem usable with tap or jog dial input—while Android Wear depends on voice input for many features.

Apple Collect Fee's from Banks for Each Purchase Made with Apple Pay

By |September 11th, 2014|Apple, Companion |NFC, News, Outside Sources*|


Apple will collect a fee from banks every time consumers use the company’s new Apple Pay payments solution, reports Bloomberg. Citing three individuals close to the matter, the report notes that Apple struck individual deals with each bank it has partnered with. Those banks include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and more.

While that gives the tech company a share of the more than $40 billion that banks generate annually from so-called swipe fees, lenders expect to benefit as consumers spend more of their money via mobile phones and other digital devices, the person said.

The sources cited did not specify the exact size of the fee, noting that it could vary or be tied to the value of the purchases made by the consumer. During its announcement today, Apple stated that Apple Pay would be enabled at over 220,000 U.S. merchants including McDonalds, Macy’s, Walgreens, Nike, and more. Apple Pay will also be compatible with American Express, Mastercard, and Visa credit and debit cards.

Apple Pay utilizes the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a new “Secure Element” functionality, and the NFC antenna on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in conjunction with a credit card stored on iTunes to make payments. Apple Pay will also be compatible with the Apple Watch when it launches early next year.

Apple to Collect Fee From Banks for Every Purchase Made with Apple Pay – Mac Rumors.

Apple Pay Security using Skin Contact on Apple Watch

By |September 11th, 2014|Apple, Companion |NFC, Consumer Wearables, Fitness Bands, News, Outside Sources*|

When Apple announced that the Apple Watch would be able to use Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payment initiative, many wondered how secure the payments would be if the device lacked the security of Touch ID, which is used in the iPhone 6’s implementation. Now, several members of the press have confirmed how the system works.

Both Rene Ritchie of iMore and Cult of Mac report that when a user first puts on the Watch they must type in a PIN code to authorize Apple Pay. Once it’s on, the Watch uses constant skin contact, which it can sense using the four sapphire-covered lenses on the underside of the device, to authorize payments. However, once the device is removed from a user’s wrist, they must re-enter their PIN when putting the device back on their wrist.

Thanks to sensors on the Apple Watch’s back, the device can tell when it’s being worn and when it has been taken off. When you first put the watch on, you must enter a code. When the watch is removed from your wrist, the watch locks itself and can’t be used for payments unless the code is entered again.

MasterCard’s mobile payment executive Ed McLaughlin also told Re/code that the Watch would use the four sensors on the back of the device as a security measure, while Visa CEO Charlie Scharf said that Apple understood the risks of contactless payments and has a solution.

The Apple Watch is due to arrive in early 2015 and will start at $350.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Apple Watch Will Use Skin Contact for Apple Pay Security – Mac Rumors.