A few days with Apple Watch
I’ve had the Apple Watch on my wrist for 4 days. As someone who has gotten every generation iPhone on launch day and 4 of 6 iPads on lanch day, it’s surprising that it took me this long to scratch the itch and get the watch. There are several reasons for it.
First and foremost, I had a work from home job when it launched. With an iMac, Macbook Air, iPhone and iPad within arms length, I didn’t need notifications at less than arm’s length. It was an expense during an expensive time (<60 days before my wedding) and gadgets were lot on the priority scale. The iPhone 6 Plus was a break in a relatively “meh” time for me with Apple and the newest MacBooks with a single USB-C port had me firmly unexcited about the ecosystem. What I had worked well, but I was little burnt out on Apple flavored Kool-Aid for a while.
I spend my life in and out of meetings in the office and my devices go bonkers nonstop. The Watch seemed like a good way to aggregate notifications in a less intrusive way. Plus the “new thing” itch was more noticeable. And when I did a cursory search for it, it was almost impossible to find and then the exclusivity made me need it.
So 4 days later, what do I think? I think people tell me to wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation and that’s asinine regardless of device. They say it will get better. Well every iteration of everything on Earth gets better. That’s the point of iterating in the first place. Unless you’re still reading this from a horse and buggy, you’ve adopted motor vehicles as transportation with full acceptance that they’ll continually improve. The first generation iPhone did everything we’d ever wanted, in 2007. Looking back it did next to nothing. It had no app store. It was AT&T only. It was on a 2nd generation data network. The camera was subpar. And the OS was dreadfully slow. But it has gotten better and will continue to get better and we’ll follow the evolution like we do with all things tech and non-tech.
All of the terrible things I said about the first iPhone, were said just now in 2015. None of those limitations were limitations in 2007. So, the first generation Apple Watch will have some limitations looking back. For now, I don’t see any so far.
People say that it’s a limitation that it has to be used in conjunction with the iPhone. It’s a companion device. It’s designed that way on purpose. Using it standalone would just make it a small iPhone. I think it’s a limitation that I need my car to tow my trailer. Why can’t I use my trailer alone? Because then it’s not a damn trailer. But there are parts of the watch that work without the phone. I set alarms and timers without my phone nearby, for example.
Dictation is better on the watch than the phone. I have been able to make and answer calls from my watch, which is great while driving. The activity app is far superior to Nike’s FuelBand app (that allowed me to shake my wrist at 11:30pm to make my goal on time).
People say the battery is a limitation. You have to charge it every day. Well… you can’t use it while you’re asleep anyway, so who cares if it’s charging overnight?
You cannot initiate many things on the watch. It is mostly meant to react to inbound notifications. In that respect, it does everything it advertises and it does it all well. I can read and respond to text message faster than on my phone. I get and interact with emails as they come in, instead of in bulk a couple of times per day. Everything is faster and smoother because it happens with a flick of the wrist instead of using the phone. It’s less intrusive in conversations as well. Driving directions give you a jingle and buzz before the next action.
When people say “wait for the next one,” nobody can seem to tell me if they mean OS or watch. You wouldn’t say it about hardware when talking about a computer because feature sets come in the new versions of Windows. Nobody pays attention to next generation Dell. So if you mean software, then do you know that WatchOS 2 is on the way before a new device?
My overall impression is that for a starting price of $350, you can extend your phone experience to a fluid, smoother, unobtrusive experience that streamlines many interactions. It’s not necessary, but it is convenient. You can cook that Hot Pocket in the oven too, but I’d bet you’d use a microwave.
Wearable ARE the future of technology — not for what they do, but for how they do it. I’ve had a FuelBand, Pebble, and Galaxy Gear and Apple Watch on my wrist. The FuelBand did ONE thing, the pebble did lots of things terribly, the Galaxy Gear worked with a single device and the Apple Watch does nothing new, but common stuff in new ways and it does it with 5 different iPhone iterations. It’s an infant segment of the industry that has a long way to go.
You can wait for it to be perfect and finished (which will never happen) or you can accept it for what it is and enhance your experience now. Remember, just because you want it to act differently, doesn’t mean that the way it acts is “buggy” or “broken.”