Having pre-ordered the Apple Watch but not expecting it to arrive until mid-June, I was pleasantly surprised to see it drop on my doorstep the day after launch. It’d be pretty irresponsible to write a review of the device after only a few hours or even days, so I sat on my thoughts and decided to see what my long-term experience has been.
Here’s what I’ve figured out after about three weeks of wearing it.
You Need the Tutorials
Being pretty technically literate, I dove in the first couple of minutes after opening it only to find I was a little lost with navigating the device. There are a great number of new gestures and controls in operating the crown and Force Touch. Do yourself a favour and watch a few tutorials to get the gist of the new gestures and where things are on the phone. You’ll save some hassle and frustrations.
Notifications are Great (Once You Corral Them)
I really like the way that I can drop my phone somewhere at home or the office and roam freely. Most notifications that your iPhone would receive are mirrored on the phone. This frees you up at to glance at the watch on an incoming notification to see if it’s important enough to warrant greater attention or not. The downside to this is that you may have a ton of notifications early on when you factor in Mail, Messages, Calendar and 3rd Party apps like Slack, Trello, Twitter, Facebook etc.
You’ll end up wanting to restrict those that come through to the watch to a manageable lot.
My favourite feature discovery was entirely accidental. I mapped out directions on my iiPhone to a friend’s house and tossed it on the seat. As I was driving with my arm perched on the window, I was receiving haptic notifications and a display of the heads up directions on the watch. I never asked it to do this, but it was a welcome integration. I found it be far safer than attempting to glance at a phone or GPS.
I’ve been wearing the watch for all waking hours including playing sports (ball hockey, squash etc). The activity tracker does a pretty nice job of identifying time spent standing, in motion and involved in strenuous activity. I like the reminders through the day about reaching goals or changing up your pattern if you’ve been sitting for a while. I found the positive feedback loop is almost addictive as you are encouraged to reach your daily and weekly goals.
If It Takes More Than 10 Seconds You’ll Want Your Phone
If you are expecting to do a lot with apps on the watch, you are likely to be disappointed. They are generally slow to launch, incredibly limited and more cumbersome to use than your iPhone. That said, I do like the Siri integration and the ability to text back to someone directly from the watch. As a rule, I’ve found that if something is going to take more than a few seconds, it’s worth simply pulling out the phone. The two are meant to work in tandem and the watch is not intended to replace the iphone. Don’t frustrate yourself by trying to do too much.
Over the course of the next few weeks once developers have had a chance to actually try their software out on real hardware, I’m sure we’ll see many innovations and improvements in the experience. That said, by framing my expectation for the use of the device as a supplement to my phone, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much I rely on it now.