View Full Version : Apple Watch -- some thoughts after wearing for a while

11th June 2015, 07:03 PM
I thought it might be of some interest and use to others to put down my thoughts after using the Apple Watch for a while. Yes, I know -- you've read other reviewers (Walt Mossberg etc), but this is by someone who is otherwise a long time Apple user seeking to understand the use case(s) for the Apple Watch, and how it works with everything else in the Apple ecosystem.

Bottom line: I like it -- A LOT! The Apple Watch is a further, seamless development of the Apple ecosytem, and delivers its own functions and benefits.

First of all, a little about me:
I'm a long time Apple user, including Macs since 1984, and am used to being on the bleeding edge. I used to do some programming but no longer.
I also collect classic, mechanical watches (and yes, I'm trying to reconcile the rapidly growing conflict)
I've tried a couple of "smartwatches", namely the Pebble (backed on Kickstarter) and the first Sony. I still have a Pebble Steel, and also await a pre-ordered Pebble Time (backed again on Kickstarter). My existing Pebble Steel is certainly headed towards eBay, but I'm interested to see the new Time.

I pre-ordered an Apple Watch Sport, Space Grey 42mm Black Sport band. I have a 7.5-inch wrist, and can wear (normal) watches up to 45mm easily, so decided on the 42mm over the 38mm for the extra screen real estate. I'm glad I did.

The Space Grey/Black Sport band is quite an elegant combination, sitting nicely, comfortably and quite unobtrusively on the wrist. It looks "smart" and can easily be worn with a suit. Because the screen only appears when the user "glances" at the watch, few people notice the watch, which is fine by me.

Setting up was very easy, and after it "paired" with my IP6, the Watch proceeded to load Watch app equivalents of everything it could find on my phone. After that was finished, I had a rather crowded app display on the Watch -- not too mention about 30 apps that wanted to give me various notifications> Thus began the first lesson, which I shall call (with great originality) Less is More.

The initial load of apps and subsequent crowded wristface gave me pause to think: what did I want the Apple Watch to do for Me?
I settled on a metaphor: my iMac is everything and to write/sheet, my iPad is what I need to have around me, and to read, my iPhone is about communicating who/what/where/when today....and so my Watch is about "now" -- tell me who is calling/messaging, and what I need to know/remember now.

With that in mind, the inital load of apps was culled ruthlessly, leaving quite a simple apps display. Similarly, I pared my notifications way, way back: the only haptics I have now are for phone calls, iMessages/SMS, and certain messages. Oh, well... I do let it remind me to do some of the exercise things, but not to stand!!

The reminder taps are very subtle, and I've quickly become used to them -- to the extent my phone is now virtually always on silent! So, too, is the "glance" process, which is also very intimate ("for my eyes only"). The access interface taps,touches and zooms are smooth and seamless -- much nicer than the Pebble buttons.

The best I've saved until last, and that's Siri. "Hey Siri!" allows me to do all manner of tasks without touching the watch, and she's now really, really accurate)...or perhaps she finally understands me! But I can call people, send them messages, ask for Messages to be read to me in the car, set up directions to somewhere in the car, or simply ask a question -- all without looking at my iPhone, or the Apple Watch. I can see how CarPlay will mean the end of proprietary nav systems/voice control in cars -- and good riddance.

Now, I'm approaching the ultimate test: I've worn the Apple Watch continuously since it arrived, but I have a new (old) classic mechanical watch arriving. Will I miss the Apple Watch when I wear the analogue? I suspect so, and that worries me a tad :moneymouth:

The Fluffy Duck
25th July 2015, 05:51 PM
For me there are a few things i like and I dont like.

The Good
1) The connectivity is magical. We have all used bluetooth and wifi devices before, paring is a pain, they drop out for no reason, if you go out of ranges and you are screwed for a reconnection etc. Not the apple watch, its wireless connectivity how it should be.

2) The interface, despite what people say its not that hard. Everything is considered and there are plenty of shortcuts. Force touch is so simple why have people not thought of it before.

3) Battery is great, not nearly bad as I was expecting. Your phone WILL be the first to die.

The Bad
1) Siri is still god awful. But even worse on the watch because you CANT FIX HER! Sure you can delete the entire message and start again, if it hasn't already auto sent your embarrassing sirifail first. People who say how amazing she is on the watch please hook me up with your drug dealer! Seriously, Siri is WORSE on the watch, as she she has all the problems from the phone version, but now with even more connectivity problems, no way to fix her mishearing, and a lucky dip of functions that are supported on the watch or not. Seriously this is a bad issue.

2) Not apples fault but god there needs to be a Facebook app already. Its killing me.

3) Glances need to load in the background NOT when you have selected them. The watch needs to be smart enough to go "Oh shit, he has swiped up glances, maybe I should load maps and other glances information, while he is checking his heart rate". Because as it stands right now is swipe and wait, which kind of defeats the purpose of the glances.

25th July 2015, 10:30 PM
I agree - I've had other smart watches and devices and this apple watch bluetooth connects like magic without any pairing hassles.

25th July 2015, 11:11 PM
Interesting you've had issues with Siri. She gets me, oh does she get me! If only the other women in my life....!

I've learned to cull apps that don't load quickly, and thus don't glance quickly. I suspect the app developers are learning from this, and will improve over time.

james the 2nd
26th July 2015, 08:43 PM
Number 3) from Fluffy Duck on the 'Bad' side is a great idea! Totally concur.

It would be great for the watch to auto update at the start of the day, or when it senses your activity. Or.. For example If it 'learns' that every day around 4pm the user checks the stock glance and it starts auto updating 10mins prior..

On another note, When I put on the watch in the morning, (before getting to the phone) I would like all the overnight notifications on the phone to come up on the watch so that I can quickly scroll through them.

I don't have the phone in my bedroom so getting them on the watch before I get to the phone to start the day would be a nice additional convenience.

27th July 2015, 03:19 PM
I haven't worn a watch in 5+ years. I never saw the need for an Apple Watch since I always have my phone on or near me anyway (working in an office). I have turned off most notifications although I live by my calendar so those are on. I did try wearing my normal watch a few months ago and only lasted a few days after realising that I was still looking at my phone... or desktop computer I was sitting in front of me for the time. That and it sort of irritated my wrist being there.

In any case, after getting my Wife a watch I relented and got one for me too... so now she can tap me and send me heart beats ;)

For something I saw little practical use for, I'm enjoying the tracking aspects. As a Data Nerd I love that side of things (sadly I lost ALL my health data over the weekend due to something I didn't know**). I've even lost the data the iPhone itself had recorded up to this point, but thems the breaks.

I took the route of not installing all the apps automatically and have manually turned them on one by one. Most of them I have then turned off pretty quickly afterwards as they had little value or were crazy slow. (I look forward to WatchOS2 and native apps).

Notifications are brilliant. It's awesome to look down at your watch for that second factor authentication code rather than grabbing your phone.

My phone has lived on silent for a long while anyway, if anything I forget to turn it off so the Watch has helped out a few times because of that. Speaking of phone on silent, the ability to ping your phone to quickly find where you left it is also awesome. While I don't tend to misplace it often and it's always in one of a very few places, just swiping and tapping the ping command is somewhat satisfying and makes that simple task of retrieving your phone just that much simpler!

Siri. I've had decent results although I don't use it to send messages very often (or at all). My use is 99% "set a timer/alarm". The fact that it's then on your wrist makes it impossible to miss. (It's a bit of a shame that it doesn't sync those timers/alarms with the phone too (or at least have an option for that)).

Battery life for me hasn't been an issue at all, even 6am - 10pm hasn't phased it and I haven't seen a battery warning yet (so don't even know if there is one ;)). The reported percentage seems to be a little all of the place, some days I don't feel like I have used it heavily and it's down to the 30% range, other days I feel like I have used it a lot and it's still over 50% at bed time. But as I said, never been an issue for me but I am aware that as time goes by and the battery start to lose capacity it could become a problem. Hopefully replacements are cheap enough.

So for someone who didn't want an Apple Watch, I'm definitely enjoying having one. Surprisingly I haven't been irritated and I find myself looking at the watch (even just for the time) far more than when I tried my traditional wrist watch recently.

**Health Data Backups:
If you backup via your computer you need to turn on encryption, it appears that without this turned on, none of your health data is backed up. I found out the hard way after a restore failed to bring it all back. From what I understand using iCloud as your backup encrypts everything anyway so should be fine.

27th July 2015, 07:42 PM
Which model did everyone go for? Obviously the standard Watch is the one to go for, but is the extra ~$300-400 or so worth it for the nicer case and crystal?

27th July 2015, 07:51 PM
Buy the cheapest and tart it up with 3rd party covers and bands.

27th July 2015, 09:43 PM
^^^agree. I can't see the value os spending on anything more than the Sport.