The Monkey’s Apple Watch – Day Two

And no, there won’t be a Day 3,4,5… just periodic updates as I learn more about the watch and use it more frequently.

My goal is to use the Apple Watch as intended – as a replacement for having to take out my iPhone repeatedly.

Charging

So far, the Watch will last 24 hours without needing a charge.  That means the charge level dropping to 20% at the end of 24 hours, but that’s still okay.  I turn off wrist-flick (display turns on when I turn my wrist to my face) and then go to bed.  I have “do not disturb on the watch set to “12am to 7am”.

Phone Calls

applewatchincomingcall-250x263Due to the fact that I must be available at all times for work, even during vacation (PTO), I had to handle three calls while away from home at my brother-in-law’s home (we jam on guitar together).  I was able to use the Watch to receive phone calls and even make one.  Note that as mentioned in a previous post, your iPhone needs to be nearby because the Watch itself doesn’t make the call.

All in all, the phone call worked just fine.  It’s very convenient to simply hit the “answer” icon on the Watch screen when your phone “rings”.  And then you just start talking.  I noticed that I talk with my wrist up to my face, which may not be necessary and made my arm tired.  Next time I’ll speak without doing that.  The quality of the sound is a little tinny but certainly understandable.  Also, it’s all speaker phone unless you pair earphones with the Watch do your conversations will be public.  The sound is just a tad too soft for me, but after years of loud music listening and playing in a band, that’s probably because of hearing loss on my part.  There’s a little delay as your voice goes from your Watch to the iPhone and out, more so than if you just use your iPhone – but it wasn’t bad.  There’s also a hand-off feature where you can switch to your phone to take the call, but I haven’t tried that.

I asked the call recipient about voice quality and they noted that it sounded the same as if I had been on my phone.  The three calls didn’t appreciably drain my battery.

I took a call in the car, and my iPhone is paired with my radio, and the Watch is paired with my iPhone so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.  Answering a call on my Watch caused me to use the Watch as a speakerphone, not on the radio via Bluetooth.  A second call that came into my car via my iPhone DID ring on my dashboard and I was able to take the call using my radio speakers by answering the call on the radio.  I suppose if I had answered the call on my Watch, it would have used the Watch instead.  Sort of a humorous situation: a call comes in and I have three options to take it.

Summary: it was definitely more convenient to simply take the call on my wrist than to take out my phone.  And it does display who is calling, just like the iPhone.  So that’s a win for me.

Notifications / Mail / Text Messages

I’m still trying to get the right balance of notifications to my Watch.  Text messages notify me immediately, which us good.  Notifications about standing up and sitting down are just fine and are a nice way to remind me when I’ve been sedentary for a while, which happens a lot!  I have an email rule in Outlook that forwards important emails to me as text messages as well.  I use that to forward emails from my bosses and any email that has the word “Urgent” in it.  I’ve not been able to get that to show up as a text message on the phone, though they are just text messages so I don’t know what the problem is.

Nice thing is that I do get a little red dot on the top of the screen for any notifications that didn’t alert me via a haptic/sound feedback. I can then scroll through the notifications and see if any are important.  A forceful push (Force Touch) allows me to clear all notifications right away.

I have access to a mail app so I can actually go through all of my emails if I think there may be one waiting for me.  I cannot view attachments, obvious of course.  I don’t know if I can reply to one, but if I could, there’s no keyboard app so it would have to be dictated.  You are actually able to read all the email message on your phone, and it even keeps the messages as threads.  And you can delete emails right from your Watch so you don’t have to sift through these emails again when you get back to your PC or iPad.

Summary: Still a win for me.  I can quickly scan my email and delete unwanted emails. I can see emails in threads.  The screen is small so it’s a lot of scrolling, or twisting the crown to scroll through the message.

Locking

An interesting feature that, as I describe it, will sound obvious.  The Watch has a passcode lock so that scofflaws cannot use it to pay using Apple Pay, etc.  However, as I wore the Watch and the screen would go blank, it would never ask me to unlock it.  Why?  Well because it’s on my wrist, silly!  How annoying would it be to mimic the iPhone and ask for the passcode over and over.  However, when I remove the Watch (sit it down or put it on its charging cable), it locks and asks me for a passcode.  Smart, obvious.

Appsapple-watch1

I spent more time playing with individual apps.  Scrolling to and selecting the apps is very easy.  Most of them require you to configure them on the iPhone, including making sure you’re logged into the app on the iPhone.  Here are some of the ones I played with:

ESPN – will show you the scores for the teams you’ve configured on your iPhone.  Live score updates and for baseball, live updates on strikes/balls/man on base.

Weather – there are two weather apps, both the native one and The Weather Channel. Both have their strengths, show temps, rainfall, forecasts and even static maps of radar.  I added The Weather Channel to my glances and it’s okay.  Sometimes it takes way too long to load and refresh.

Guitar – there are a couple of guitar apps for the Watch, including a tuner and a tempo/BPM app.  Those work okay.  There’s a guitar tab app but you have to load the tab on your iPhone to view it on your Watch, and I haven’t done that.

Photos – you can select using your iPhone Watch app which collection you want to see.  I chose Photostream, and it does show all the pics.  It’s a small image, you can scroll and zoom.  Works fine but now sure how practical.

Bleacher Report – not useful at all.  Shows small snippets of some stories.  Clunky.

CNN – shows top stories with about a paragraph of details for each one and a photo.  Sends you to your phone for more details, but useful for breaking news I suppose.

Calendar – nice summary view for the day, and you can view details on each appointment.  So far I can only view the current day, but that could be a setting.

Gas Guru – very nice little app that shows you the nearest gas stations on your Watch, with location and prices.

Yelp – I haven’t used this but I scanned the features and it looks very easy to use.  Select the type of thing your looking for (restaurant, hotel) and it shows you nearby venues.

My Fitness Pal – I used this app on my Mac and iPhone to lose a good chunk of weight last year, but due to some laziness on my part and poor eating, I’ve bounced back up.  I was exciting to find this app for the Watch, but noticed it only shows the results (totals) on the Watch.  You can see calories remaining and nutritional information, but cannot scan or enter food information.  Not sure if I’m missing something or if that’s a forthcoming feature, but being able to update food intake from your Watch would be a fantastic feature.

Find My iPhone – though not an app, this feature allows me to quickly “ring” my phone to tell me where it is.  Haven’t used it at this point but a smart feature.

Day 2 Summary

I still like it – close to really liking it.  It’s still a novelty.  The Mickey face is still fun.  I may change it because sometimes it is hard to read the time at a glance (especially when the two hands are on top of each other), and Mickey blinks every so often and that weirds me out.  Still getting it configured like I want it, but it has turned into what the iPhone is for me: it’s a tool that sits out of site until I need it.  Frankly, I’ve noticed too that people stare at their phones way too much.  It’s rude when you’re around others, and we’re going to have a generation of kids who never took the time to look around them.  Get off my lawn!

I think as I use the Watch to pay for stuff, and as I use it as a boarding pass and such, it should be even more useful.  I’ve loaded the Uber app on their but haven’t used it.  Also local transit information.  It’s a nice quick reference to information that I need rather than pulling out and unlocking my iPhone.

More to come… send me your thoughts…

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