AppleWatch is able to use 802.11 without an iPhone

David Pogue over at Yahoo Tech wrote one of the more comprehensive reports on the AppleWatch I’ve read thus far. It’s very positive, so a lot of people are going to call him out for being an Apple shill considering the majority of the opinions going around (up to and including the day before pre-orders begin) are somewhat flat.

The important thing in his article to note here, is that the device can connect to a known wifi source ‘to perform basic functions”


The watch communicates with the iPhone over Bluetooth — and Wi-Fi, which is something Android Wear watches can only dream about. So even if your phone is out of Bluetooth range from your watch, as long as both are on the same Wi-Fi network the phone can still be the comm center for the watch.

And here’s a surprising feature that Apple hasn’t said anything about previously: When the watch is in a known Wi-Fi hotspot, the watch can perform the most essential online functions even when your phone is completely dead, turned off, or absent. It can query Siri, for example, send and receive texts, and send/receive drawings and tap patterns to other watch owners. That’s impressive.

Now, we have known that the iPhone and the Watch could communicate over a common known wifi network. This allows for functionality like answering phone calls with your Mac or iPad using call relay when your iPhone is in another room.

But what we didn’t know is that the watch can interrogate and connect to known wireless networks without the iPhone even being around. If it can to that to ‘perform the most essential online functions’, then it can accomplish any online function it is capable of doing. Essential in the above basically means ‘limited by the argument of a .plist value.’

That means it can be changed or modified.

Apple is famous (or notorious) for limiting the hardware capability of their devices to provide the majority of users who just want something to work…the best user experience possible. This means operating in a condition free of instability, power efficiency and simplicity. But the level of hardware and software integration that Apple inherently engineers in their products make them functionally durable far outside their deployed specifications.

For example, did you know your iPhone could do this?

FaceTime over GSM. On the surface this might not look like a big deal, but consider this video was created over 3 years ago, and that it is being recorded while the call is being made are examples of the things Apple consumer devices are capable of, but aren’t available to anyone.

Here is something more recent:

These devices are obviously a lot more capable than they appear to be.

We will find out more things like this as the days go by. Apple has historically been full of surprises before. At WWDC it wasn’t announced that the Watch had full 802.11 capability, but some people started poking around at the hardware specifications on the AppleWatch CBoC and found interesting details.

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