Apple Watch is four times more accurate at timekeeping than iPhone


Apple Watch is a killer device, even without a
Apple Watch is a killer device, even without a "killer app."
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

When you’re counting down the seconds to New Year’s tomorrow night, make sure you’ve got an Apple Watch nearby.

“As a piece of hardware, [Apple Watch is] far more accurate as a timekeeping device than the iPhone,” Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch revealed in a new interview. “With New Year’s coming, those who have the Apple Watch will be the most accurate watch in the room. There will be no question about when New Year’s Eve actually is now.”

The Apple exec’s claims may seem a bit ridiculous, considering Apple Watch is tethered to the iPhone and connects to Apple’s servers for the time through the phone. But Lynch told Mashable about some of the cool tricks the company used to make Apple Watch four times more accurate at timekeeping than the iPhone.

Apple curated its own network time servers around the world. Lynch says the company now has 15 Stratum One-level Network Time Servers that connect to the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. (That’s where the atomic clock used by the Department of Defense to establish official time is housed.) Those servers connect to iPhones, which then beam the signal to Apple Watch over Bluetooth.

“We do do corrections for time delay in communication,” said Lynch. “Through the whole stack, we’ve really paid attention to the accuracy.”

The timepiece also contains a crystal temperature-control oscillator that manages extreme changes in temperature to keep Apple Watch incredibly accurate. To make sure the second hand moves at exactly one tick per second, Apple tests it with high-speed cameras to verify frame-by-frame that there is absolutely zero latency.


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