This post focuses on my general use of the Apple Watch. Here is a quick summary.
- Looks great. People notice. (talk about that tomorrow)
- Awesome watch, timer and stopwatch.
- Activate Siri on voice command with no buttons. (I just discovered this so I will talk about tomorrow)
- iPhone Camera Shutter remote (talk about tomorrow).
- Apple TV remote.
- Text and phone notifications.
- It’s nice not to have to have to carry my iPhone everywhere (but is still limited).
- Cool apps to use even if limited (I think this will improve).
- Alerts come right away and you can leave your iPhone put for awhile which is nice.
- Stay informed on info without having your iPhone in your hand all the time.
- Apple Pay.
- Great in the car (talk about tomorrow).
- Weak range from iPhone. (talk about tomorrow)
- Third Party and Apple Apps are LIMITED.
- No ability to type. Ever. The only thing I have typed is my password.
- No music playback on the Apple Watch without bluetooth headphones.
- No sounds other than alerts. As far as I can tell.
- Pressing the crown button effectively might take getting used to.
- Has to charge every day.
Now let’s dig into details…
The biggest thing that I could not get out of my brain was that the Apple Watch is a watch accessory to the iPhone. I keep expecting it to be as functional as my iPad or iPhone, just smaller. I haven’t explored all that it can do by itself, but there isn’t much. So, if you bought an Apple Watch and never paired it with an iPhone, here is what I think you would be able to do.
- Tell date and time.
- Track steps and heart rate.
- Have a cool looking interface.
You can also sync music through a playlist in the Music section of the Apple Watch iPhone app. Apparently you have to have blue tooth enabled headphones to listen, though. I thought for sure that the Apple Watch would play music out of its speaker but it doesn’t. I wish it played music out loud in the Apple Watch itself. In fact, the Apple Watch doesn’t make any noise at all, other than alerts. So far, all I have it set to alert me about is text and phone calls.
This might seem limited, but it still is able to do a whole lot more than other expensive watches. I used to own a Suunto that was given to me as a gift and I am pretty sure it cost around $300. It didn’t do a fraction of what the Apple Watch can (or will be able to) do. So keep that in mind.
The alert noises are very subtle and even delightful (yes I said delightful). They are so subtle that even if you were in a meeting and it went off it wouldn’t be that loud. You can easily turn it into do not disturb mode as well.
My wrist has adjusted no problem. It doesn’t hurt at all. It still feels good on my wrist, too. Even as I type this post it is not problem and feels good and light. The Apple Watch is very comfortable and I don’t mind having it on my wrist all day. My personal preference is to not have any accessories on my hands or wrists whenever I am at home. But the Apple Watch on my wrist is no problem. Probably because its new and I like it. If I will get annoyed will be determined as I have it longer.
It is pretty good about showing the display when I move my wrist. But most of the time you have to be pronounced with your movement. I have a feeling I will get the hang of it and it will be fine. There are times that it doesn’t activate and I have to touch the screen or the crown to wake it up. This is especially tough when I want to show someone what is on the face. Again, getting used to it might be all the difference here.
Probably the biggest issue at this point is pressing the crown button. Because it is on the right side, whenever I want to press it, it pushes the Apple Watch up my wrist because there is little resistance. You need two fingers for it to be an effective press, something that is not always easy. It is possible that this motion might become more comfortable. Hopefully the pictures explain what I am talking about. Left is annoying. Right is good. But the left version is easier. The right takes more effort.
Swiping down on the display reveals notifications. Swipe up is what Apple Watch calls “glances”. These are any apps that offer their app in short form that allows a quick view without pressing the crown to go to the actual “app” in the honeycomb grid. This is helpful.
As far as apps go, right now there are no third party apps that are fully functional on the Apple Watch. Every app that is on it is an EXTENSION of what is already on your iPhone. This was my biggest hurdle to overcome. For example, I am sitting on the couch and an idea pops into my head and I want to surf safari on my iPhone to look something up. I don’t have my iPhone so I want to look it up on a “mini safari” (I made that term up) on my Apple Watch. Just like it wasn’t possible on my old watch, it isn’t possible on my Apple Watch. I know this is a lofty expectation, but it is what we naturally expect from another Apple device.
I keep my iPhone on silent ALL the time. That being said, I was skeptical of being alerted by more things via my Apple Watch. The only alerts I get on my Apple Watch are texts, phone calls and fitness. So far, I have not minded these at all. In fact, as far as texts go, it has been a whole lot easier to just respond. However, I have been in situations at home or in the car where I can speak out loud. I really like the moving emoticons that you can send as well. I don’t know anyone who has an Apple Watch so I can’t take advantage of the extras that you can do from Apple Watch to Apple Watch in terms of communication like sending heart beat or drawing.
I have talked on the phone a few times via the Apple Watch. Both times the person I was talking to said they could hear me fine. In the car, it worked AWESOME! It is natural to hold your steering wheel on top and just talk. Outside of that, talking on the Apple Watch is a little harder. I found myself walking around the house holding my wrist up to my head which felt silly. (I’ll talk about using the Apple Watch in the car in the next post.)
I also really like the fitness interruptions. It tells me to get up when I have been sitting too long. It reminds me of step or walk goals. Really good stuff here. Also, the fitness and activity graphics are really good.
Every time I take the Apple Watch off my wrist it requires the password. Below you see the progression of me putting it on. My favorite activity on the Apple Watch so far was picking the face. All you do is “force touch” the face and it takes you to a customization area. You can put battery life, date, weather and activity tracking as well as lots of other stuff on the home screen/watch face.
Siri is always ready to help by pushing and holding the crown. It does a cool blur-out of whatever you were formally doing. I asked it a math problem and it solved it. However, most of the time Siri tells me to get my iPhone. This is really annoying, depending on how you look at it.
I was able to pair my Apple TV and use the watch as a remote. Pretty nice. I assume I could do the same for a Keynote presentation which would be nice to use while speaking or teaching.
The phone is good. You can search contacts but it is only by scrolling or speaking. You have to speak a lot to the Apple Watch. Same goes for texting. Unless you choose the auto fill words or add your own options to select from (which I need to do), you have to speak. It works great but its not always the easiest to speak. Nor do you always want others to hear you speaking or know what you are texting. Let’s say you are in a movie theater. Your conversation will not last long on your Apple Watch. I think they need to figure out a way to get a keyboard in the Apple Watch that you can zoom in and out of with the digital crown. But texting and phone calling does work well and I had no technical difficulties other than preference.
The button under the crown is the favorites or “friends” button that allows you to quickly access your favorite contacts. It also is what you can press and hold to power off the Apple Watch or put it in power reserve mode. Enjoy the pictures and I will wrap this up at the bottom as well as share some helpful links.
I still think the Apple Watch is pretty limited, if only for my own struggle of thinking it could be its own autonomous Apple device. Here are a few issues and pictures.
All third party apps have to “load” in order to access the information stored on the iPhone. Most emails don’t show up very well unless they are all text. This will be a preference issue. It’s probably designed more for being informed than for interacting. Many things that I want to do on the Apple Watch tell me that it can continue what I need or want to do by using handoff on my iPhone. It’s basically saying “Sorry buddy, you need your iPhone for this.” It will have that application ready when I get to my iPhone. I haven’t found this useful yet.
By the way. I discovered that you can take Apple Watch screen shots by holding both the crown and the friends button at the same time. I wish I had know this before this post or my pictures would have been better!
Again, a lot of this is how you approach the Apple Watch.
If you think of the Apple Watch as a watch with some great extras, Apple hit a home run.
If you think of the Apple Watch as a stand alone device that can do what the iPhone or iPad can do in a small way, it falls short. They have not developed it that far yet so don’t be surprised when it doesn’t meet this expectation.
Here are some useful resources as well.
Tomorrow, I will address the range of the Apple Watch to the iPhone, activating Siri using it in the car and taking pictures.
As always, if you have any questions or want me to explore anything, just ask. Thanks!