Things I Like About The Apple Watch

Ok, after a week with the Watch I thought I’d jot down my thoughts on the device and talk about the features that I’m liking.  I have to be honest, after I bought it, I was wondering, do I really want to wear a watch?  I pretty much had written off watches when cell phones came around.  By the time cell phones became ubiquitous, they all displayed time, so who needed a watch?  What changed my mind was the health and fitness features, and while I could wear a fitbit, why go that route when you can do a lot more, and essentially have an “extension” to my phone as well.

 

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The Health metrics are really cool, there’s a summary screen along with individual pages for each metric with a breakdown by hour of your activity, and it’s been helpful in helping me track and set goals.

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The watch section has a nice selection of watch faces to choose from and the ability to customize faces and which complications appear on the screen along with the face, and, for my first “Micky Mouse” watch I’ve ever owned, it’s got to be the coolest Mickey Mouse watch ever with an animated Mickey.

It’s pretty good for text messaging, at least the very little I do.  If you’re a hardcore text type, and you’re not comfortable replying voice all the time, this might not be for you, but, for the little I do, the built in responses as well as the pretty good voice recognition ( same as the phone), are good enough.  Also, you can choose to send responses via text or voice (if the receiver is using iMessage), so for me, a pretty much anti-text messaging person, I like it.  I was really impressed with the audio quality when sending responses via voice.  One cool thing is the animated emojis and the smooth animated transition from one emoji to the next with the scroll wheel.

The “friends” list, separate from your favorites on the phone (although you can make the same if you want), is easy to use and initiate a call or text from the watch.

Overall, it was easy to pair, and I selected to load all the apps when I first set up, and a few apps, a game, and iHeart Radio came over, but don’t really do much  The game app for the watch lists stats and will remind you of game related stuff, and the iHeart radio will play the current station or scan, the watch has a global volume control just like the iPhone.  Not really anything I’ll use as far as those apps go, so I can’t say I’m impressed with the apps that were already on my phone that already have watch apps.  When it comes to watch apps, developers need to be careful.  There’s really  no point to having my game app have a watch app that pulls up stats I can pull up on the phone.  I think the most compelling apps for the watch will be ones that have little, if any visible component.  For example, a health app that collects data that goes to the phone (and perhaps your doctor if necessary), or take Uber for example.  You can launch Uber, press a button, get a car.  That’s it, no fancy BS.  I think the most effective apps will be more utilitarian than entertaining.

From a physical perspective, it’s comfortable to wear, and I’m getting 2 entire days out of a charge, at which point I hit 10 percent, and the watch entered reserve mode at that point where it would function into the next day as a watch only should I have needed it to, which is surprising, because I’ve been using it quite a bit.  Even though the included strap (sport band) is very comfortable, I’m probably going to invest in one of the better bands.. the black leather loop band is calling my name.  That way, I’ll have a choice depending on what I’ll be doing, active wear, I’ll use the sport band, and formal I’ll wear the leather.  The build quality is excellent, and the face and body of the watch, along with the band are sturdy and seem to be holding up just fine.

Considering the army of developers out there, their job is to come up with compelling apps to extend the functionality of the watch by coming up with innovated uses for the platform rather than trying to program it do things you can already do on the phone, and try not to get away from understanding it’s best use is as an extension from which the phone’s capabilities can shine.