How the Apple Watch helps me get more work done
Everywhere I go people look at my Apple Watch. Initially, I supposed it was because my motions to use it were intentioned and deliberate. I’m sure that was developing new habits and muscle memory coupled with some subconscious pretentiousness to announce my status as a Watch owner. Over time, the wrist flick to light the screen, roll of the digital crown, timing of my glance downward and even the palm covering motion to snuff out the Watch’s life, all became second nature and subtle. Yet, people notice. And when they notice; they ask.
First they verify, “Is that the Apple Watch?” (or more frequently, the cringe inducing iWatch).
Then they ask, “Do you like it?” I always confirm that I do.
The final query comes a split second later and it is always the same. “What does it do?”
For the first week I launched into a defensive sales pitch to justify its existence on my wrist and the corresponding hole in my bank account (x2 since I got one for myself and my wife). I would talk about all of the technology in ways the pre-empt their questions. Yes I can talk into it like Dick Tracy. No I don’t have to hold it to my face like Dick Tracy. There is no keyboard. It does text. Yes, I always need my phone. Then I bring up the sketch pad and send a “Hi!” to my wife’s watch. Moments later I get a response “Doing a demo again?” Instead of responding via voice and risking a not-so-rare Siri miscommunication I send back my heartbeat and an animated emoji smiley with hearts for eyes. And just like that, my audience is convinced and it’s like I did a magic trick. Now me and my partner, Siegfried, will make $600 disappear from your wallet too.
But that changed. My response to the first question switch to a blasé “this old thing?” style response. Yeah… it shows all my meetings. I can pay for stuff. I scratched my early adopter itch. I dodged a FOMO attack.
But now, I excitedly answer again “it IS the Apple Watch” to bait them into asking “what does it do?” because I have a new answer. Now, I answer “it helps me work.” And that always gets a, “Really?!? How?”
Well, even though my humungous iPhone 6 Plus vibrates to notify me, it does it the same time it lights up and distracts everyone in a 4-mile radius. My Watch, however, buzzes ever-so-gently a moment before anything else. I twist my wrist and know about the split second delay before the screen turns on and then I glance downward to see what is vying for my attention. I snuff out the screen and continue my conversation. I know what notified me in a fraction of the time, a smaller fraction of the effort and a near zero disruption to my conversation. My phone never leaves my pocket. If you watched this frictionless process, you’d swear it borders on pre-cognition.
The other thing it does is what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t give me the opportunity to start down this social media/notification/distraction rabbit hole of going into an app and checking everything else “while I’m here.” To see what’s on the Watch and then go to a phone or computer requires something worth making that leap. When you begin on the phone, it’s easy to switch over for no real reason at all.
The small screen has been panned by critics. The new interface confuses non-tech savvy consumers. The idea that it’s a companion device makes people say it’ll fail. Well… the small screen limits your usage by design. It streamlines the process. This is true of all smart watches. The new interface proves that it’s not a mini-iPhone that would be impossible to navigate in that size. The UI was designed FOR it. The companion factor lets apps stay lightweight (WatchOS 2 will change that in a number of ways).
This is not meant to be used the way you use your phone. My watch mostly does notifications. You don’t think that’s worth $600. It sends me needed information (I chose what notifications it will send me) without stopping productivity in the most seamless way possible. It gathers data about my health and creates intuitive communication paths with other people. It does all the things my phone does with none of the things my phone does that gets in my way. That is all in the first-generation with a second-generation operating system to be launched 6 months from the initial device launch.
It makes me efficient. It keeps me informed. It connects me conveniently. I get more done each day. It helps me work.