Someone asked me the other day if I loved my Apple Watch. You’d think by the title of this post that I didn’t hesitate with a resounding ‘Yes!’, but I didn’t. Despite not loving my Apple Watch, I wear it without fail everyday unlike any watch ever in my life. But why?
When the Apple Watch was announced I had wild thoughts of how I would use the device. Controlling my podcast app without taking my iPhone out my pocket was going to be huge! Navigating places with the haptic feedback on my wrist, mind blowing! Siri on my wrist and replying to Messages, game changer. Except none of these use cases work. The Apple Watch is too slow to control my podcast app and its quicker to pull my iPhone out my pocket. The navigation is poor for many European locations as our road layouts are not square like in the US with clear defined turning points which meant I had to keep checking the watch and it seemed to be slow and behind. Continuing with the slow theme, Siri is far too slow and error prone and replying to messages is awkward, the short messages are never accurate enough and I am never really in a good place to voice dictate.
You’d think with that impressive list of faux pas that I must be crazy wearing the Apple Watch on a daily basis. However, here is why I wouldn’t give up my Apple Watch.
Whilst it didn't ship with the impressive array of sensors that we were initially expecting the Apple Watch has been a vital part of my health tracking, mainly because it’s a wearable and I don’t even need to think about carrying it. A lot of people have made waves about the activity circles. For some that helps drive them further, a kind of gasification if you will. For me, seeing a large number of steps and a large distance is enough to motivate me. As well as the standard tracking, which works without the user having to open any app the watch also has a built in app called Workout. I haven't used this for anything except walking, but it does add another dimension and could be useful for those doing cycling for example. In Workout I can set a target, in my case distance, and it will provide haptic feedback every mile but most importantly at the half way point so I can turn around and head home.
A nice up side to the Apple Watch is the heart rate tracking and hence the trending over time. I can see that I have been able to bring my overall high heart rate down due to regular exercise. Not an earth shattering amount but enough to give me that warm fuzzy glow and, thankfully, not because I'm having a heart attack!
Since getting the Apple Watch my daily step average has increased from less than 1000 steps a day to 11,422 and that would be much higher if I didn't live somewhere with really bad weather.
Having my calendar on my wrist is vital for me getting things done but it is especially important in a work environment, now I'm alerted to my meetings 5 minutes before I need to be there. Sometimes in my trouser pocket I couldn't feel my iPhone vibrate, if it happens in that moment when I'm walking and that leg is moving backwards and the phone and my leg are not touching I always missed alerts. Plus the majority of us don't wear hipster tight jeans at work! The ability to use the 'Time Travel' feature to scroll through my appointments with the Digital Crown is also really handy.
Timing in the Kitchen
Whilst Siri on the Apple Watch is not great, it can at least manage (most times) to set a timer. There is nothing better than having just chopped a load of raw chicken, throwing it in the pot with my hands and raising my wrist and saying 'Hey Siri, set me a timer for 45 minutes' and it working! I used to get a very messy and no doubt a salmonella laden iPhone screen or home button before the Apple Watch!
Before I dive into this one, I need to throw a note of caution. By default when you get the Apple Watch, all notifications from everything on your iPhone is set to on. I would seriously recommend going through in the Watch app on your iPhone and only selecting the most critical notifications. If you don't, your watch will drive you insane very quickly indeed.
The great thing about notifications is the fact I don't need to get my iPhone out of my pocket or from wherever it may lay. If someone sends me a message, a VIP emails me or I get a call I can see all that info on my watch screen and take action.
One of the biggest gems is the fact the iPhone and Apple Watch work on the same wireless network meaning I can leave my iPhone anywhere in the building, as long as it's on the same network I will get the alerts and notifications. This leads me to highlight a little used (if known about) feature on the watch. Now that you are free to leave your iPhone somewhere in the office or house you may end up thinking 'where did I leave my phone?'. Well, if you swipe up from the bottom of the watch face screen on the watch and swipe to the left hand most screen there is a button in the bottom left of that screen. If is a picture of a phone with some lines around it, this is the 'make a sound on my iPhone' button to help you find it! Very useful indeed, especially in the morning rush.
Some of my Favourite Apps on the Watch
Dark Sky - This is a great weather app on the iPhone and iPad but the watch component is very handy to alerting me when the rain (or more serious weather) is starting or stopping.
Quick Switch - This is an app I use to toggle my WEMO sockets on and off to turn my home lights on and off. Very handy when I am feeling lazy.
Uber - I only used this for the first time the other day, it was that good you will be seeing a post about it soon. However this app is the perfect compliment to the phone version to alert you to your car approaching.
OmniFocus - Provides me with quick and easy access to see what I have left to do today, ability to add a task as well as check them off so I feel like I am getting things done. A great addition to the OmniFocus functionality.
Never in my life has any other watch made it on to my wrist so consistently, in fact I hated wearing watches but I don't hate wearing the Apple Watch. Whilst I can't say I love the device, it provides service, function and furthers me on my ‘Take the Straight Line’ journey. I probably wouldn’t have bought it myself, it was a gift and has some sentimental value. Now I have used it for 7 months though, I’d replace it if something happened to it. Apple need to shape up with the next design, it needs more processing power and even the ability to stand alone compared to the phone. As they move in this direction, which I’m sure they will, I will be increasingly likely to write another article called ‘Why I Love My Apple Watch’.
Do you have an Apple Watch? What are your thoughts? Comment below.