I, like many others was on the fence about whether or not I needed an Apple Watch in my life. I've been wanting a fitness tracker for some time so getting an Apple branded wearable seemed obvious. Everything else that came along with the watch was an extra added benefit for me.
I'll start with the order process. I live on the east coast so that meant waking up at 3 AM to place my order. I set my alarm for 2:45 AM and made sure my Macbook, iPad and iPhone were near by. I loaded up the Apple Store app on my iPhone/iPad and brought up the website on my Mac. It was a couple minutes after 3 AM and the store was not updating on my Mac. I reloaded the Apple Store app on my iPhone and it showed up there first. I quickly added the Apple Watch Sport 42mm in Space Gray Aluminum to my cart and began the checkout process. I realized I couldn't do an in store pick up so I wanted it shipped to my work. I quickly updated the shipping address and checked out. By this time is was 3:05 AM and orders had already begun to slip back in ship dates. I was able to get my order in with 4 - 6 week ship time. Not too bad but everyone would love to get it day one. I have to say, I know Apple products are extremely popular but was not expecting to have a delayed shipment if I ordered right when it went up but it seems from listening to podcasts and reading other people's post, the version I ordered was one of the more popular versions.
I actually received the watch on May 6th which was earlier then expected. Apple tends to under promise and over deliver quite a bit which is understandable. I received a shipping notification on May 5th saying my order would be delivered the next day. The package came and I was amazed at how big and heavy the package was. I couldn't understand why a small watch would be in such a large package. I opened the packaging and found a rectangular box with "WATCH" embossed on the top.
After unboxing everything, I was ready to set up. The process is extremely simple. All you have to do is launch the Apple Watch app on your phone and scan an image that appears on your watch. After a minute or two you're ready to go. Out of all the watch faces, I chose the modular design simply because it displayed the most information. I didn't want to use the watch so much as a time piece but an information piece. You have the option during set up to install all the apps on your phone that have Apple Watch extensions or individually choose the apps you want. I wanted to select which apps I wanted on there. I assumed the majority of them would be useless and I was right. I've had the watch for 10 days now and here's what I like and don't like.
WHAT I LIKE:
1. Design / Comfort
I'm not a watch guy, so wearing a watch every day for 15+ hours was worrisome. After just a day of wearing it, I found it to be very comfortable. I wear it just about every waking hour and now don't notice I have it on. It actually feels weird when I don't have it on now. The design of the watch is very appealing. I was a bit nervous to go out in public with it, thinking everyone would want to know what the weird thing on my wrist was. I haven't been stopped once. I think most just think I'm wearing a regular watch.
I was intrigued by the aspect of notifications on my wrist. On my phone, I've turned off just about all notifications except for iMessage, Slack, Reminders, Evernote, Google Now, Tweetbot and few others. I don't get email notifications and will most likely never turn those back on. Just being able to glance at my wrist see the notification and decide where I should take an action on the notification has changed things for me. It especially pairs well with my Mac. If i'm working on something and receive an iMessage notification, I no longer have to stop what I'm doing, open up iMessage to read the message. I take a quick glance and if it doesn't require an immediate response, I keep working. The watch has made me dislike notifications a bit less. I may even turn a few back on.
3. Activity App
This was one of the main reasons I bought the watch. Having quick access to my activity for the day has made me more aware. I try to hit my goals every day and stand up if I've been sitting too long. Who knows how long it will last but for now I feel a bit more motivated to keep active.
4. Battery Life
There hasn't been one day that I've come close to draining the battery. I went to bed one night with the watch at 20% and that was the lowest it has gone. Typically, I'm somewhere between 30 - 40% at night. Better than advertised since I'm wearing it 15+ hours a day.
I do like glances but some are either useless or take too long to load. The ones I do like, I use quite a bit including the music controller, Instagram, MLB At Bat and the heart rate monitor. There's been some terrible ones as well. A solitaire game on my phone had a glance that told me to play today's deal before time ran out and that's it. It was completely useless and obviously the developer putting something on the watch just to be there.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE:
Now I'm going to start with apps but let me warn you, apps feel very secondary on this device. I rarely open apps to do anything. This could be because of the lower quality of apps currently available but for the most part, I'm looking at my watch to get information quickly. Not to browse through apps and catch up on what I've been missing. My iPhone does that for me and I have continued to use it that way. That being said, no one has quite figured out what to make for an Apple Watch app. The 3rd party apps are slow and have very little use. The native Apple apps are fine and I do see myself using the Remote app to control my Apple TV quite often but overall apps have not had an impact on me.
There are 2 physical buttons. The digital crown that turns infinitely and can be pushed down and the side button which gives you quick access to your friends and Apple Pay. They work fine and the digital crown feels nice for scrolling. I just feel like they could have been used better. Single clicking the side button brings you to you friend on the watch. I don't use this feature at all. I would love that button to do something else of my choice. With the digital crown, I'm not sure if I'm scrolling or zooming into something until I begin to do it. This is something that will correct itself over time but for now it's a bit confusing even after 10 days of having the device.
3. The Price
For now, The Apple Watch is a $349 accessory for your iPhone. Will it do more? Maybe, but for now it's a quick way to access information from your phone. For me, it's worth the money. For most people it's not. Trying to convince other people why to buy it is a bit of a challenge as well. You just have to live with it to really know if it fits into your life. That's a difficult sell for Apple but with orders backed up into July, it doesn't seem to stopping them.
Should you buy it? If you're reading this small tech blog to get more information then the answer is probably yes. If you're intrigued enough by having notifications on your wrist you'll probably enjoy the watch for what it is at the moment. If you're looking to get a bit more activity in your life, then yes this is the wearable to buy if you don't mind paying for it. Most likely, your less than tech-y family members will not be showing up to your 4th of July BBQ rocking their brand new Apple Watch but for now that make sense.