Two full days with the Apple Watch

I’ll admit, I have been excited about the prospect of the Apple Watch since it was just a rumor, so naturally, I was among the first to order one on April 10th. I am not what one might call an “Apple fanboi,” I was exclusively a Nokia guy until 2003. I migrated to a Treo and from a Treo to a Blackberry when Tmobile no longer supported the Treo. I stuck with Blackberry until it became clear that they’d lost the plot, at which time I jumped on the first iPhone 4 and never looked back — acquiring each new model, each year, since. The kool aid has been drunk.

My order was time stamped 02:02, even though I had an 08:00 wheels up time for a flight to the left coast that morning, I was awake buying via the Apple Store App.

Being the first of its kind, I decided early on that I was going to spend as little as possible, therefore I ordered the Sport model. Space grey with the black “rubber” band.

It arrived Monday evening.

The UPS guy said, “I’m sure you know exactly what this is,” as he handed it over to me. First thing I thought, “wow this box is really heavy!”

The packaging is typically Apple gorgeous, including a basic “quick start” guide, charger (with insanely long cord for some reason — twice as long as an iPhone charging cord), sizing band and plastic box containing the watch itself.

Setup of the watch was dead simple. It is similar to, but more interesting than, scanning a check to deposit it via your mobile banking app.

Although the setup app did hang during the configuration process, right after I told it that I’d be wearing it on my left arm. Restarting the Apple Watch App solved that problem and everything went smoothly from there on out.

It took a few minutes to synch up to my iPhone 6 and then, was ready to go.

I charged it up to 100% and went out for a walk to test drive it. I went to a Walgreens that is a couple miles from home, on foot. I tested the heart rate and health apps, I paid for a bottle of water at Walgreens using Apple Pay…which caused a minor kerfuffle. Employees and customers wanted to know, “is that the iWatch?”

“Is that the Apple thing?”

“How did you get an Apple Watch so quickly?”

Everything I tried, worked well enough, however I did stick mostly to native Apple Watch apps. I am still discovering the navigation on this device. As John Gruber put it, its like entering a large, well designed building…it takes some time to acclimate and learn your way around.

The 42mm size is perfect for me and the fluoro-elastomer watch band is insanely comfortable. Better than any watch or quantified self-band that I’ve worn. The space grey finish is great looking.

Tuesday, I wore it all day and discovered more facets of the navigational metaphor within the UI. I’m still figuring out how to use force touch properly. Another thing I discovered today is that the apps are shaky. Third party apps are pretty bad, if I’m being honest. Apple’s native apps, are much better but, still have issues…such as this example:

It maybe 81 degrees in Bangkok but, there is a snowball’s chance in hell that its also 81 in Paris, France and Mayville, WI.

Lets talk battery. I’ve had no issues. It has been on the charger for a total of one hour, since I got it Monday afternoon (writing this Wednesday mid-day) and have worn it 24/7 since and used it rather heavily, yesterday and today.

The most significant issue has nothing to do with the device, itself or wearables, as a category. For me, is the complete lack of Google apps. There’s no native Gmail. There’s no Google Now. There’s no Google Calendar. There’s no Google Maps, or Waze. There’s not a single Google app. I’m all in on the Google stuff and find the value exchange between them knowing everything about me in exchange for their services to be a good trade off. I sincerely hope that the Google apps show up and soon.

In summary, this is very much what I’d describe as “first generation iPhone” meaning, it is not very good but, shows a massive amount of promise if app developers get it right. I’m not saying that its going to end up in my drawer tomorrow, what I am saying is that there is a LOT of room for improvement of the overall experience of using the device.

The bottom line for me, at least, that there is some utility here. I often wear a watch — either a sports watch or a nice chronograph. It does everything my G-Shock does plus the functionality of a sports band, heart rate monitor and is a notification device. Even if the apps don’t get better, that is enough for me.

Looks like the G-Shock is being relegated to the drawer.

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