I wasn’t planning on getting the Apple Watch, at least not the first generation. I didn’t wear a watch, and I had already decided that my next big tech purchase was going to be a new iPad. I didn’t even consider the Apple Watch when it came out. However, when I unwrapped my Apple Watch on on Christmas Morning, I was both surprised and thrilled.
I’ve worn it everyday since. And during that time, I’ve fielded more questions about it than anything else I’ve ever owned. The questions usually come when I’m least expecting it. And the resulting answer usually turns into some kind of incoherent apology for the watch not being the next iPhone. Most people that I’ve talked with about it walk away with the impression that I don’t like it.
But that’s not the case at all.
It’s important to understand what the watch is useful for.
Understanding how it’s useful means understanding that it is, in fact, a watch.
As a watch, it’s useful for telling time.
Earth shattering? No.
The second thing I use it for is the weather.
Yes, I can look outside. Yes I can open an app on my phone. Or I can just quickly look at my watch and see that it is 100 degrees outside and that going for a run would be a bad idea.
We also have an above average need for alarms and reminders in our house, as one of our boys has to be fed every 3-4 hours, around the clock. Missing an alarm because my phone is in my pocket would be a huge problem.
I also love screening calls without taking my phone out of the pocket. It is a delight.
As is quickly replying to text messages with pre-written responses.
(Note that I am militant about notifications on my phone. I only allow a handful of apps to send notifications. And those settings carry over onto the watch.)
The fitness tracking features are nice to have, and having workout apps that can tap your wrist for interval tracking or rest timers has been really nice for the gym. It’s great for people who are trying to get fit, which is clearly what Apple marketed their watches for (as well as other things), but it’s interesting to see how their fitness marketing tactics for rapid growth worked.
What about the apps?
Apps are a sore spot on the watch. I don’t use apps for anything beyond getting alerts or information. Apps open so slowly on this thing that it feels like a parody.
Luckily, the speed issue is supposed to be fixed with WatchOS 3 this fall. I’m looking forward to seeing if I find apps to be more useful once they are actually useable.
I’d like to wear the watch to track sleep, but doing so would mean charging it some during the day so the battery would last overnight.
Also, the face lights up when the watch thinks you are trying to glance at it. Having screens blinking on and off isn’t helpful for sleeping. It would be nice if there was some kind of sleep mode that locked the screen off.
Oh, and theres a split second delay between when you raise your wrist to look at the watch, and when the screen comes on. It’s normally not a problem, but if you’re talking to someone, holding your watch up for that extra bit of time can feel really passive aggressive.
I like it, and will buy another one.
The key to understanding and liking the Apple Watch is to understand that it is a watch that has some additional capabilities. I like what it does. I’m not even sure what else I’d like it to do at this point.
It is not a world changing, society altering, revolution in technology. The screen size on a watch doesn’t lend itself to that sort of thing. Though all of that could change with emerging interfaces like voice and AR.
So there you go.
Does everyone need an Apple Watch?
Would I buy another one if mine broke?