I Stand Corrected — the Apple Watch is Great!

Yes, I’m the same guy who wrote, “Apple Watch Looks Too Much Like a Toy”…and I meant it! But three months ago, the perfect storm occurred. I was getting back into running in earnest and starting to wear my old Fitbit Alta again. However, I’d been thinking that since I don’t like running with my huge iPhone 7 Plus, I might need a small music player. Also, as a new father, I figured that I should have some way to communicate if I’m out on the road and an emergency occurs — either to me, or back at home. So, a few days into my week of shaking off rust, I saw that Nike.com had the Series 3 Nike+ model on sale for 20% off. I decided to give it the ol’ 14-day trial. Well…now these three damn rings rule my life.

From my experience with various Fitbits and past life training for races, I’ve found that I’m in my best shape when I’m actually tracking my exercise and daily movement. Through the combination of Activity, Workout, and Health apps on the WatchOS and iOS, I feel like I’m getting a more complete view of my daily activity compared to Fitbit (minus the competitions, but those are coming soon). This is my primary use case for my watch.

Making Apple Watch Work for You

And that’s really the key to the Apple Watch — figuring out how to customize it to meet your needs. I’ve learned that if you spend any time on your watch’s apps screen, you’re doing it wrong.

Let’s be real, it’s just not a good way to navigate through your stuff. The way to achieve Apple Watch bliss is by customizing three areas: the face (including complications), the dock, and notifications. Instead of spending time on the watch’s app layout, your first move should be spending a lot of time in the Watch app on your iPhone:

Since I wanted to optimize my watch as a fitness device, my watch face is all about the Activity rings with complications (i.e., shortcuts from the watch face) for the Workout app, Apple Music, and the Heart Rate app.

My dock, which is accessible via the watch’s physical button, reflects the same priorities.

As for notifications, I keep it to a minimal set that’s useful everyday: Messages, Google Calendar, Things, and Slack.

Once the watch is set up, there’s no need to fuss with it. No need to explore apps and goof around…that’s what your phone is for. I found that with the watch tailored to me, all I had to do is glance at it and start/stop workouts — and as of WatchOS 5, I won’t even need to do that anymore.

The Look

Ok, so it still looks a little bit like a toy, but I’ve been pretty satisfied with the style of the Space Gray aluminum case with the black/platinum sport loop. It works as both a sports watch and a casual everyday watch. And recently, I discovered Nomad Goods’ affordable leather bands (thanks, Instagram ads! 😩), and I think that I’ll be trying one out for something fancier. Additionally, the watch faces are pretty stylish, and more customizable than I expected. I was addicted to testing different color, face, and complication combinations during the first week.

In Summary, I Was Wrong…

So yes, I was wrong about the watch. Now, I see how well it can fit into my life. However, it did take a 20% discount to convince me. That said, I’m pretty happy with my purchase!

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