The Simian figured he should provide a quick update on his experience with the Apple Watch, especially following the news that Apple is discounting the Watch $50 if you purchase a new iPhone. As a reminder, I received my Watch on my birthday, late July of this year. I use it with an iPhone 5.
No, not really. Prior to the Apple Watch, I would not usually wear any watch, relying on my iPhone for time checks. Now I wear my Watch every day. Or nearly every day. I actually skipped one day and it was odd. I wasn’t any less productive, but I sort of missed wearing it. Not like leaving your phone at home, however.
Why do I wear the watch every day? Because I do use it as an alarm clock (useful feature), and it does replace my need to check my iPhone to read new text messages or confirm where my next meeting is. For work, it’s useful and mitigates having to refer to my iPhone, which now mostly stays in my pocket.
The frequent reminders to stand up or walk around are useful. My desk job often has me sitting for long periods, and I forget just how long sometimes. The Watch reminds me to move about a bit. That’s nice. It also says pleasant things when I do move around. A little encouragement is welcome, even from a digital device.
When I use navigation on my iPhone, I usually forget that the Watch will then happily remind me when to turn one way or another. It’s also only a glance away from telling me my very next maneuver.
An incoming phone call shows up on my Watch and I can quickly decide whether to accept it or reject it. Again, iPhone stays in my pocket. If I accept the call, I can speak right into my Watch to converse with the caller.
I’m not sure I’ve seen a killer app for the Watch just yet. Thus it’s not really indispensable. Some things that are not so good are:
- In general the battery lasts about 36 hours. That’s not a big deal because I hav a ritual that keeps it charged pretty much all the time.
- There’s no easy way to delete old text messages from the Watch. You can clear them from your notifications so they’re out of the way, but if to select a conversation to read the details, you have to scroll through old conversations – sometimes quite a few. You can delete one conversation at the time but the process is, you scroll to it, you swipe left, you wait for the animated “confirm” button to come to a stop, and press confirm. If you try to press confirm before the animation is done, nothing happens. It’s tedious.
- There’s no way to enter any keyboard input. Yes, you can dictate but there are times when I want to answer something in a busy meeting and I don’t want to dictate. And while you can setup canned messages, sometimes I need just a little bit more dynamic flexibility. Just a simple keyboard would be most useful.
- Some apps still struggle to to work properly. The Yahoo Fantasy Football app is great on the Watch. Totally useful and detailed and colorful. But, more often than not it will give me a false error mesage asking me to unlock my phone and start the app. Only way to fix that is to uninstall the app from the Watch and re-install it.
So it’s nice. I do like it. Apple Pay works well and is convenient. People are still tickled when I use it to pay at Panera. Customizing the watch face is nice, and I sometimes set it to the same color as my shirt (fashion!)
Though I wear it a lot, I have not scratched it. And it’s been banged around here and there to the point where after said banging, I sheepishly turn the Watch face towards me, fearing the worst – but all is well.
It’s useful referentially, and like I said, it does reduce the need to use my iPhone. I still believe it’s overpriced ($499) and should sell for more like $250.
I did upgrade to Watch OS 2. It provided the ability to rotate the crown to move your calendar into the future. It’s actually kind of useful. It now has a night-stand mode that allows it to sit on its side and show the current time, and you can snooze the alarm by hitting a button on the side. But still, nothing on the Watch is totally remarkable. I guess the most remarkable part is that I’m actually wearing a watch again. The overall technology is remarkable, of course.
If this watch actually ran completely untethered, so that I could leave my iPhone at home, it would be fantastic. This would be similar to Android wearables that have their own IP address.