I have had the opportunity to try out an Apple Watch (Sport model) for the last couple months, and I wanted to share my thoughts. This isn’t a comprehensive review with all the specifications and options — you can find those type of reviews everywhere — just my personal opinions and feelings about the product. I will also discus three different watch bands which I have tried out in another blog post (sport band, leather loop and milanese loop).
The Apple Watch is very nice. It’s a great piece of technology. It feels good and looks good, like you would expect from an Apple product. In a nutshell, it is something you can live without, but after a while you don’t want to be without. It’s a luxury and a convenience, but not a necessity. Conversely, I feel like my phone is a necessity. Want vs Need.
There are lots of times when your phone is stashed away somewhere, like your pocket or purse, and you get a message. With the watch, you can just glance at your watch and see who sent the message and what it is about. It’s easy to tap and send a one-word reply like “OK”, “yes” or “thanks”. Very convenient. With a little more effort, you can speak your response and it will be transcribed very accurately, or you can just send the audio. I do this many times each day without pulling out my phone.
Every push notification that comes to your phone will come to your watch automatically, with no set up. If the notification or message requires more attention, then you can pull out your phone (or iPad or computer) and deal with it that way.
When I am at home, I like to stash my phone somewhere and forget about it. My watch will let me know if something important requires my attention. I happen to play alot of softball and I stash my phone in my bag. While I am in the dugout, my watch will let me know if someone is trying to contact me. I’ve even responded to a text message while playing first base, as we had the first base dugout. When I exercise outdoors, I keep my phone stashed in a waist band and use my watch to monitor my progress (heart rate, pace, mileage, speed, whatever). When I exercise at the gym, my phone stays in a locker and my watch lets me know if something important comes up. (As long as your phone and watch are connected to the same wifi network, or are within bluetooth range, this works great)
You will be surprised how many times it’s just not that convenient to pull out your phone, or it’s not nearby. The watch is a great “notifier”.
I’m a geek, so I use the completely non artistic “modular” watch face. Yes, it’s fun to change your watch face to Mickey Mouse when you go out or something, but I rarely change it. I’ve customized the watch face to show me the date, the current temperature outside, the moon phase, my battery level (which has never gone below 50% so I dono’t need this anymore), and the next item on my calendar. Oh yeah, it tells the time too. In particular, I find myself checking the temperature all the time now that it is so convenient.
And there are lots of apps that run on the phone. It’s a bit awkward to find the tiny little “dot” icon and tap on it, then wait for the app to load as data is transferred over from the phone. (In watch OS 2.0, this will be much more speedy as then native apps will be possible that don’t need to transfer data to/from the phone all the time) Usually when I need more than just a quick glance of information, I’d rather pull out my phone with the larger screen than try to do the same thing on a tiny little watch screen. Once in a while though, if I can’t readily get to my phone, I’ll use an app. By the way, it’s ridiculous what some developers try to cram on to a watch app. Do you really want to watch videos or browse photos on a 42 mm screen?!?
OK, I hit the highlights of what I use my watch for. Back in the “olden times” when watches just told time, I didn’t find it worthwhile to burden my wrist. Now that I can do so much more, I gladly wear one. And by the way, the watch bands are just as revolutionary and cool as the watch itself, so it really feels good to wear. More on the bands soon…