It’s been well over a month since I started using the Apple Watch and after reading Dan Frommer’s post last week on his one month thoughts here’s my take so far.
Under Promise, Over Deliver
A lot of the talk prior to the Apple Watch release was battery life. 18 hours sounded pretty short but the reality is that battery isn’t an issue. Charging overnight is fine and even if I didn’t I’d still get a good few hours out of the next day.
I’ve worn the Watch every day and it’s been comfortable and sweat free despite the plastic feeling strap and also the doubts expressed in some reviews. In fact I’m surprised how normal the Apple Watch feels. It’s become part of my day to day and I’ve never not thought about wearing it. I always did wear a watch during the week (hardly ever at weekends) but this has changed with the Apple Watch and it’s primarily down to one thing – activity tracking.
Activity tracking is addictive
I’ve used a Fitbit for three years so no stranger to the addictiveness of tracking steps and activity but the Apple Watch makes it easy to see visually how you are doing. It’s very clever (apart form the stand metric) and for the first part of May I was determined to complete my circles each day. Extra runs, walks at work, walking to the underground instead of driving into town are all positive activities that I was doing to get my circles filled.
The downside, and it may be entirely unrelated, is that my knee has taken a bit of punishment so from the middle of May I’ve had to lay off doing any fitness work.
I’ve found the heart rate tracking interesting. While it’s nothing new and I could have worn a tracker for years I like the fact that the heart rate tracker is hidden in the Watch and it’s fascinating to see heart rates rise at unexpected times – meetings, driving…times where I’m obviously feeling more stress.
Apps are pretty weak
Despite the 1000’s of Watch app’s already released there’s only a few I use frequently. Todoist is really useful and it’s notable that they waited until the Watch was out and developed on an actual device – it shows. Dark Sky is great and the updated Overcast is a nice way to control podcasts.
Messages is fine especially the smart replies that are offered but the Digital Touch features are pretty poor in use. Most of the time if I want to run an app then I’ll goto the phone as it’s quicker – hopefully watchOS 2 will help improve the speed of many of the app’s.
Notifications and Siri
Once I got control of my notifications I was actually impressed how useful they were. Reading notifications for Messages or WhatsApp was quicker than unlocking the phone especially if you just need the information and don’t need to reply.
I actually find the BBC News notifications useful now as I can quickly see when there’s breaking news, something I used to have turned off as it was a faff to get them on the phone.
One thing I can’t get used to is Siri. It does work well but it still feels a bit awkward to use day to day…it’s that talking to the wrist that feels a bit off. I need to persevere though as it is reliable and is a great way to send a message or add a todo.
July should see the launch of Apple Pay in the UK. I can’t wait to pay for stuff with the Watch. Then in the fall comes watchOS 2. Alongside app’s that actually run on the Watch, third party complications will be a great new feature so I can replace in built weather app complication with Dark Sky’s…I hope. New faces and the time travel feature, a nightstand mode although it probably ruins any stands that have currently been sold and some nice add-on’s for Siri are all solid upgrades.
I still wouldn’t recommend an Apple Watch if you are unsure of it but equally I wouldn’t put anyone off from a purchase if they wanted one as it’s useful and interesting to see how it will take off over the coming months. It’s a great 1.0 product but not yet essential.