When the Apple Watch first came out, I was intrigued but chose not to buy one. I always wear a watch, and while I have tried a number of so-called smart watches over the years I was not that impressed.
A few weeks after the initial launch I was walking around a Mall outside Boston early one morning, and happened upon an almost deserted Apple store, so I popped in and got a hands on demo of the watch. I looked at the different cases, straps and played with it and came away unconvinced. It was nice, but I didn’t see it as a must-have accessory. To me the case of the watch is okay, but the materials didn’t seem that special, and frankly I was disappointed with the straps. But it did have potential.
A couple of months later Apple opened a new store on Madison Avenue in New York, just a couple of blocks from my apartment. And that did change things a bit. Now I was walking past the store while walking our dog after dinner a few times a week.
It’s always nice to window shop. For my wife it’s dress and jewelry shops, for my dog it’s lamp posts and fire hydrants and for me its tech stores.
So every few days we would find ourselves going for a post dinner walk in the evening and perusing the Apple store. After looking at the same counters over several of these walks, my good lady was getting bored, and “forced” me to actually buy one. As I wasn’t really convinced that I’d make good use of it I choose the lowest end model, dark grey with a rubber strap. And so started my journey into apple watch-dom.
The strap was horrible but the watch grew on me quickly. I don’t think Apple gets watch straps. The way they clip onto the watch itself is masterful, a little slidey magnetty thing that is a massive improvement over the usual pins that have been on watches for a hundred years. But the actual straps themselves are not great. I’m sure the materials they have chosen to use are high enough quality, but the clasps are silly, and the metal, leather and rubber models are all below top end styling.
I was able to pick up a third party anodized metal strap that matches the grey metal of the watch from Amazon for $40 that is superior to all the models that Apple sell (and at a fraction of Apples cost). It looks better, has more heft (that I like) and has a high end style clasp this is easy to use and looks good.
So what about the watch itself. Well I’ve had absolutely no issue with the battery life, I wear it every day from 6am to midnight and the battery has never run out. But the charge cable that comes with the watch has a six foot cable, which is just far too long.
The actual apps on the watch are useful, and over time I’ve found a number that I really like. The texting app is brilliant, with simple pre-defined and customized replies along with the voice to text option, I am able to respond to texts far less intrusively than via my phone.
Making and ending calls on the watch and using the speaker/mic to chat is a function I’ve used maybe six times in total, it’s a gimmick, but fun to have.
Getting news updates and sports updates is really good.
Emails on the watch, is less valuable. Emails need a bigger screen to be of any value.
I’ve used Apple Pay once.
The menu structure is fine, but nothing special.
But I’ve surprisingly liked the activity tracker, and the hearth rate monitor. It’s nice to see how long I’ve been sitting each day.
I really like the music play controls. I use a Bluetooth headset, and it is great to be able to control things on the watch, such as play/pause and volume.
Oh and it tells the time, which is nice. I’ve configured the watch face to show me time/date, temperature (based on the weather app), calories burnt, and a second time zone.
So from what I know now, would I recommend the watch to anyone else.
In a word – NO
I Love the watch, it’s become very useful, and I wear it now every day, but there is an issue:
It’s even less social that having a phone with you at dinner. It’s rude to check your phone all the time, and since the watch is even easier to check, it’s even easier to be really rude. I therefore now don’t wear it at social gatherings (I’ve broken this rule a few times, and it’s clear to me that it’s just socially really rude).
Should you buy an Apple Watch? Don’t rely on anyone else’s opinion, if you want a gadget that further assimilates you into your own digital content world, go for it, but I don’t want to be accused of encouraging anyone else to further disassociate with those they are physically in a room with.
It’s quite possible that robot historians in a thousand years’ time will mention the Apple Watch as one of the defining moments in the rapid decline of the age of man. The culmination of the so called “smart phone zombie culture crash”, that led our (soon to be sentient artificial intelligent) robot overlords to realize that we were not worthy of running things – power to the mighty googleplex and Apple Infinite Loop, may their solar powered electric empire rule for infinite cycles.