Can anyone give me some examples why an always-on display is a good idea?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by TheGreenBastard, Apr 8, 2016.


Always-on display?

  1. Yea

    23 vote(s)
  2. Nay

    30 vote(s)
  3. Indifferent

    16 vote(s)
  1. TheGreenBastard macrumors 6502


    Nov 1, 2012
    I've been ripped apart multiple times on /r/applewatch for asking this question.

    What is the benefit of having an always-on screen?

    You can't see the screen when your arm is at your side. Do they want other people to notice their pretty Apple Watch watch face or something? I feel like if Apple made the wrist detection a little more reliable that would be great, because in my mind raising your wrist to view the time is perfectly natural.

    Perhaps this would also be interesting if I made this into a poll..
  2. sean000 macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    I honestly don't care either way. I'm sure one day we will have the option, so everyone can be happy. At least we don't have to press a button to read the time :rolleyes:

  3. ShadowPuppet macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2007
    With a traditional watch, or a smartwatch with an always-on display, you can always glance down at your wrist and see the time. With the Apple Watch you have to move your arm in a certain way, and that doesn't necessarily always trigger. Right now I rotated my arm while my hands were resting on the keyboard, and the screen didn't turn on. Motionless, I can see the watch, but there's nothing on the screen. Would be nice to glance at it and see the time without making a large motion.

    I'd love an always-on display, as long as 24-hour battery life could still be guaranteed. Anything past 24 hours is a bonus, imo.
  4. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2015
    Part of if is an ocd type of thing. People have obsessed about scratches on the bottom which will never be seen.

    If the raise to wake was guaranteed to be 100% perfect, it might take away some of the argument. A simple always on clock would be fine to me. Some will want always on just because a regular watch is and you won't change their mind. Time changes everyone's thinking. At one point in time, people hated the iPhone when it came out and said it was a niche. No one would want apps on their phone. It will never last.

    People need time to accept. Happens in real life as well sadly.

    When I lay back in a recliner with my hands behind my head and feel a vibration and look, it often doesn't light up but I really don't care to touch or twist my arm. Others may become obsessively angry.
  5. caligurl macrumors 68030


    Jun 8, 2009
  6. bigjnyc macrumors 603


    Apr 10, 2008
    not necessary in my opinion. flipping my wrist to see the face works just fine for me 99% of the time. I would hate to walk around with my watch face lit up at all times.
  7. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Well with an always on display you tremendously reduce battery life. Traditional watches just tick which requires almost no energy but when you have an Apple Watch it has to perform calculations for the time and to display upcoming events and weather, so with the network going crazy and thousands of LEDs being lit it puts a drain on the battery. This can best be answered by using a MacBook Pro as an example, if you leave it always on it dies in ~12 hours, if you shut the lid and it sleeps, it's good for ~30 days.
  8. trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    Think about why people buy watches, it's as much of a fashion statement as it is for functionality right?

    Wouldn't it be cool to have a smartwatch always-on screen? It'd look better as a fashion item, rather than you having a black square on your wrist all the time, you'd have a cool looking something in there.
  9. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    I don't know about y'all but I bought mine for the functionality, I really could care less if one more person goes "oh wow so cool an Apple Watch!" or "do you like your Apple Watch?" when I'm trying to get seated at the restaurant table. Much more interrupting me when I'm trying to fill my drink after using Apple Pay with it by trying to have a conversation about my time with it.
  10. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
    Right now I can't glance at my watch to see the time. I have to turn my wrist at a certain angle. It's even harder when I am holding something; I just end up tapping it with my other finger to get it to turn on.
  11. Mac2me macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2015
    Voted nay but could have voted indifferent IF it didn't affect the battery or burn into the screen. I'm not one to constantly be checking time. Anything important to me will send a notification. I hate to see people checking their phones or watches when they are socializing with others in person. Not bothered by raising my wrist or touching the screen to see the screen. Basically don't see this as a big issue for me.
  12. tom504 macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2009
    As someone who also owns a huawei watch they did a good job of minimizing the watch face when not looking at it without killing the battery.
  13. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

    Jul 25, 2011
    And yet, somehow, there are digital watches that show time on a transflective dot matrix display for years on a coin cell. There are activity trackers with always on displays that last weeks, some with notifications.

    I'm willing to give up oled for perpetual display of the info I choose.
  14. douglasf13 macrumors 68000

    Jul 2, 2010
    I actually feel quite the opposite. One of the things that stands out to me about the Apple Watch's design is that it looks better than the competition when turned off. The round smartwatches out there that try to look like analog watches look weird when the screen isn't turned on. The round smartwatches that do leave the screen on still don't look like analog watches, because of the bright little screen, which leads me to another point. I don't like have the light of the screen flashing around all of the time, so I wouldn't want the screen to always be on. Sometimes I even turn off the wrist raise feature.
  15. pmau macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2010
    Passive LCD Displays on you kitchen clock, your fridge, your climate control etc. are a great thing.
    You can gather information from these without needing to act upon them or even be near them.

    Active display are a different matter.
    I hate flashing or changing displays. Even if its just two dots on a radio clock to indicate seconds.
    These things can be very very distracting.

    Look at the car industry. Most luxury brands try to limit the displayed information as much as possible and only
    change the display to indicate. Which is a word that should tell you what the main task of an always-on display should be.

    Like a heart rate monitor in a hospital displaying vital signs, active display should not just be a feature.
    They should be needed.

    I could accept a very dim watch face, similar to a passive LCD, but I do not really want active displays or blinking LED's
    in my room at all.

    By the way, I re-learned to sleep in a pitch black bedroom.
    No standby lights, no wall-powered devices that have a power LED.

    I sleep so much better. Your mind just knows it is dark.
    It might sound stupid, but try it out. It works great.
  16. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    The only time so far I've wished for an always-on screen is when I'm carrying something in my left hand, like my coffee, and can't turn my wrist to check the time.

    This is a problem with my G-Shock, too, but mainly when it's dark -- it has a backlight with an auto-on feature, and it's more finicky than the AW about the angle at which it'll light up its display.
  17. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Yep and those don't require near the energy as an Apple Watch, Bluetooth is an energy hog and when that is how it's talking to your phone throughout most of the day, yeah it's going to hurt battery life, I'm just impressed that the battery life lasts as long as it does.

    So those digital watches, all they have to do is send a small charge from a battery to a quartz crystal that vibrates creating an electrical current to the watch that lasts for as long as that battery lasts.

    Apple watches use lithium ion batteries with no quartz because a quartz will not generate enough electricity to power every feature of the watch.
    Now you have to add the Apple Watch components
    Processor - high energy requirement
    A color LED display - High energy requirement
    Bluetooth - high energy requirement
    Wi-Fi - High energy when searching for a network, moderate when connected to a network
    heart rate monitor - high energy usage needed every 10 minutes
    hard drive, moderate energy usage when reading or writing data
    accelerometer - low energy but used all the time.
    Speakers - low energy when in use
    And this doesn't include the power needed for the RAM, logic board or other small components that are included on the logic board such as the northbridge and southbridge chip.

    So when you complain that Apple doesn't provide an always on feature, this is why, because if they gave it to you, you'd just complain that the battery doesn't last long enough.

    Also if you've ever messed with an app for a long period of time you might notice the watch itself gets a bit warm after a few minutes. Not that it will overheat but heat is the natural discharge of electricity after it has been used by a device. (Law of Conservation of Energy).

    When you compare a digital quartz watch to the Apple Watch you are comparing a 12" MacBook to an entire datacenter.
  18. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    mildocjr, nice write up,...

    But quartz does not power a watch. The oscillating crystal is made of quartz -- as electric current is fed into the crystal, it vibrates thanks to the piezoelectric nature of quartz.

    The crystal is shaped like a tiny tuning fork, fine-tuned with a laser, and vibrates at a certain frequency, around 32 kHz. A small IC counts the vibrations and advances the clock appropriately.

    Btw, the AW contains a quartz timekeeping circuit, too. Thermocompensated and tightly monitored, it keeps great time even if it never connects to one of Apple's time servers.
  19. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

    Jul 25, 2011
    Just no. Read the post I quoted and what I wrote. There are polar watches that have GPS and Bluetooth that last much longer than A watch. I get that it does more but what is truly useful? And of all the stuff you listed, it's all happening except the screen. So why not use e-ink and have pretty much the same functionality with an always on low power screen?
  20. ftlum macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    Aesthetics are always a personal thing, but I prefer my watch to always have a face, not a big blob of black.
    Even if this were not the case, the way Apple has the wrist activation going is poor. It often does not activate or activates with a split second of slowness to make checking it while doing other things difficult.

    The way to do it, IMHO is the way the TAG connect watch does (from what I've read): dim but on all the time and bright when activated. Battery life will get hit, but for those who don't like the idea, Apple can make Always On a setting that can be toggled. You'll also need to add an easy way to turn it off in places like a movie theater.

    I remain frustrated by Apple's decisions on this and a number of other things like custom faces. When will we see the changes we want? Sadly, it probably won't be until android watches start getting more popular and force Apple to catch up.
  21. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    How much power draw is the AW screen vs an OLED? Just curious.
  22. trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    AW is oled ;)
  23. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    Many sports watches are mountable on handlebars for cycling and so are able to display speed/pace/distance etc without having to move or touch the screen. The Apple watch isn't really for cyclists that want to be able to do that.
  24. LoveToMacRumors macrumors 68020


    Feb 15, 2015
    always on battery life will last you maybe 3 hours.
  25. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    It is? Why is it so bad in direct sunlight? Thought OLED did well in that setting.

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