AWT News Update: May 1, 2015

A new month and a quiet Apple news day!

  • Apple confirms that tattoos interfere with heart rate sensing with the Apple Watch
  • Want a piece of Steve Jobs history? Three of his business cards are up for auction
  • Would you believe that Apple support docs recommend holding your Watch under running water?
  • Proloquo4Text gets a Watch companion

The full text version of the podcast script is available below.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for May 1, 2015. Our sponsor this week has Juicy Bits Software, developers of the new WhereNotes app for iPhone and Apple Watch and the popular Halftone apps for iOS. 

Apple has confirmed in a support page that the Apple Watch heart rate sensor may not work properly with tattoos. To quote the support page, “Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.” Some Apple Watch owners on Reddit and Twitter have noted that the issue seems to affect those with solid areas of deeper inks like black and red. Apple suggests that those with the issue may wish to use an external chest-strap Bluetooth heartrate monitor, which can be paired to the Watch through the onboard settings app.

Collectors seeking a little bit of Steve Jobs history can head on over to the Bidding For Good website, where three business cards passed to a friend of the family by Jobs himself are up for auction. There’s one for his early years at Apple, one as president of NeXT, and one from his stint as board chairman at Pixar. The auction proceeds go to the Marin School, and bidding is already up to $5,005 if you want these three little pieces of history. 

Prior to the release last week of the Apple Watch, there was a lot of speculation and confusion about whether or not the device was waterproof. Apple eventually noted that is is splash and water resistant with an IPX7 rating, which means that it can live through submersion in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. Well, now Apple is saying that if your Watch’s Digital Crown gets stuck or isn’t running smoothly thanks to debris trapped underneath, you should run it under warm tap water for 10 to 15 seconds. The company recommends removing a leather band if you have one installed on the Watch.

And now some Accessible Apple news from Apple World Today accessibility editor Alex Jurgensen:

Proloquo4Text, an app that has long helped iOS users with communication barriers to communicate, recently added support for the Apple Watch. Version 2.1 of the software allows for the selection of phrases from a predefined list as well as the ability to display a phrase on the Watch to another person by showing it upside down and full-screen on the Watch. We expect more features to come to the app as Apple makes more APIs available to developers. 

We’ll be back on Monday with another AWT News Update. Have a nice weekend.