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Apple Watch's Korean launch is just a few days away (June 26) and I'd like to offer you a nicely consolidated list of all my reviews for your convenience. I hope this will help you get some idea on whether you should get one and how you should use it if you do.
|1. One of the first Apple Watch in Korea|
|Sent three days after the official release in the US and arriving about a week later, one of the first Apple Watch to land in Korea gets prompt unboxing and gets ready for a full review.|
|2. Getting the Apple Watch up & running|
|I have the bands installed in place and the battery wirelessly charged up, so that I can pair the Apple Watch with my iPhone 6 Plus and make it work.|
|3. Basic screens & buttons of the Apple Watch|
|Apple Watch's many screens are explored, including the watch face, lock screen, home, and favourites. I also try out the digital crown and the side button.|
|4. Notifications & contacts on Apple Watch|
|As one of the primary functions, I took a look at how the notifications appear and interact. Then I tried contacting someone with Apple Watch, either through text or voice.|
|5. Apple Watch's daily life tracking|
|Fitness tracking with Apple Watch is explored, including the heartbeat measurement with an integrated sensor and the daily activity logging through a three-ring system.|
|6. Running, swimming with Apple Watch|
|I had both Nintendo Wii Fit Plus and Apple Watch record indoor running sessions to see how they compare. Then I went swimming with my Apple Watch to see if it'd actually work.|
|7. Apple Watch as an extension, stand-in|
|I tried using Apple Watch as a replacement for membership cards. Then I remote controlled my Apple TV and iPhone 6 Plus camera with it, as well.|
|8. Battery life of the Apple Watch|
|I recorded my Apple Watch's battery life for three weeks, through international travels and all sorts of exercises, to see if Apple's claims stood up.|
|9. More Apple Watch observations|
|I took a look at how fast the Apple Watch charges up and how step counting data are consolidated. Also, I have some more tips and observations on its daily use.|
|10. 45 days with Apple Watch & watchOS 2|
|Seven weeks later, the hardware of Apple Watch Sport is still standing up quite well. But early watchOS 2 and iOS 9 betas are incredibly rough to use.|
Loading membership card barcode via Stocard
As a smart device that's nearly always on your body, it has the potential to extend or replace existing things better than a smartphone, lessening the need to pull out or find the bulkier device to do the same thing. As I've moved to a fairly large smartphone - iPhone 6 Plus - this is something to look forward to.
One of those things I thought up was the flurry of membership cards that once occupied the wallet. Most of them now sit in a barcode form inside my iPhone, making the wallet considerably thinner. But now those could be moved to the Apple Watch, and I could just pull up my wrist to accrue reward points instead of reaching for my phone.
Because the Passbook app only sent QR codes to the watch, I looked around the Apple Watch App Store and found a couple of apps that can put the card number and the barcode on both types of devices. Eventually, I settled with Stocard, as you can see above. The cards stored on the iPhone app are automatically sync'ed to the Apple Watch app, enabling you to display the wanted barcode from either of the devices. Or, at least that was the idea.
Barcode reader picks up from the tiny Apple Watch screen
As I loaded up the card data, I noticed that the barcodes were fairly small. It was only about 20.5mm (0.81") wide on my 42mm Apple Watch, which is even smaller than the UPC barcodes found on a product. I wondered if this would be scanned at all.
As a field test, I tried out on two of the biggest hypermarket franchises in Korea: Lotte Mart and Emart. To my surprise, the barcode readers at the stores were able to pick up the numbers without a problem as long as the reader was held close to the watch. The high-density 326ppi display may have helped this.
It's not all completely convenient at this point, though. Because the Apple Watch app has to rely on the iPhone to provide the data due to current SDK limitations, loading speed is slow with my 24-card collection. I have to load the app and make sure the barcode is up before going to the cashier. Hopefully, this will be resolved with the SDK updates later this year.