The following is my opinion of the Apple Watch after wearing it for two weeks.
Before you read any of this please understand that what works for me likely will not work for me – wearables are personal and as such tend to reflect not just your style but also your needs. With that in mind, my motivation to purchase the Apple Watch were two-fold:
1. Replace my dying Nike Watch. Comparable TomTom or Garmin device would have cost just as much, been very bulky and otherwise useless. The Apple Watch replaces Nike Watch, Nike/Fitbit fitness/activity tracking band and isn’t something I need to think about charging, syncing or updating separately the night before a marathon.
2. Reduce interruption-driven environment that a smartphone fuels.
For me, that second point is huge enough to strap a bulky, ugly, digital leash across the arm from my beautiful gold and diamond Rolex. It’s as far as it gets from style and straight into functionality. This is where I might be slightly different from you but hear me out:
Ever since my first smartphone I’ve never been able to glance at it and just move on with my day. As a CEO I get a ton of email, ton of requests for meetings, tons of notices, text messages, etc. So every time I look at my phone it doesn’t end with me just knocking something out and moving on – I end up replying to a few emails, review some notes, listen to the voicemails and notifications.. and hey, while I’m at it let me see what’s going on with my Twitter and Facebook. And crap just keeps on streaming in while I’m hopping from one thing to another. By the time I look up again it’s lunch time. Or my favorite – I pull over to reply to an important item and 30 minutes later I’m still on the side of the road working out of my car.
This is the recipe for the least productive executive ever. I’ve fired people who couldn’t stay on point and now I’ve become the same distraction driven guy who needs to strain to get barely anything done.
Apple Watch – The Bad
The onboarding experience feels very much like it was designed by Microsoft. It’s clunky. It doesn’t work. It makes no sense in many ways and there are far too many holes that immediately make you look for the box and figure out a way to return it.
In my experience, the watch took forever to patch itself and become useful. Except it wasn’t. Without downloading the first update, which didn’t show up initially, none of the third party apps would actually show up on the watch. So I wasted about an hour on Google trying to figure out why my brand new watch couldn’t install a single third party app due to “Insufficient Storage, delete some songs and photos and try again”
After I got the apps I got started with personalizing “the most personal device Apple has ever made” – which is the biggest load of crap ever. Watch faces are highly inflexible, navigating around different ways you can customize them is annoying, different faces have only certain stuff you can put on the face and there is no way to mix and match them (for example, certain widgets like battery info are available only on some faces).
Then you get to the point of customizing your apps so when you tap the watch you can get to everything you want – this is sort of like trying to solve the rubik’s cube. Every time you move one icon it moves 4 others in seemingly random ones. Trying to get Apple supplied apps to move is significantly harder than moving third party ones and there is no way to remove Apple apps at all. But it’s an annoyance that you quickly forget once you get the stuff where you want it to.
My initial experience with the watch was anything but positive. And for a while it certainly went straight downhill as one app after another was either disappointing, annoying or just plain slow.
Apple Watch – The Good
The longevity is much better than I expected it to be. I got the 42mm model which supposedly has a better battery life so ymmv.
The weight balance is quite nice, even though the device itself is bulky you don’t feel it when you’re walking around. It doesn’t make you feel like you’re about to clip the wall at every opportunity and so far… no scratches.
Apps… work. They give you some basic information and for the most part make looking at the watch as opposed to pulling out your phone far better. And quite intuitive.
Apple Watch – The Best
The best part of the watch is the reduction of interruptions. Hear me out:
Watch vibrates or beeps for txt messages, emails, tasks and so on. When it does, turning the phone towards your face makes the screen come on and notification is displayed. It takes a fraction of a second to “glance” at it and decide if you need to deal with it immediately or not.
Responding to stuff is ridiculously easy. You tap it and you get a ton of options to automatically respond to the note. I have a few things ready to rock right away which are my typical responses. Get something I need to act on but I’m in a middle of something else – tap respond and select “OK, I’m in a middle of something I’ll get back to you in a sec.”
The other thing is that Siri on the device is absolutely flawless. Even with my broken accent and slurred speech. Siri gets me. And when I say “fuck” it doesn’t type “duck” – it’s fucking brilliant.
I hope the third party apps improve and that the watch customization improves. I won’t hold my breath for that, it’s Apple and they don’t care what you want. The Nike watch has already been put in the drawer right next to the Fitbit and the Band and all the other stuff I used for training.
The amount of my life I get back as a result of it makes this thing worth it’s weight in gold. Except you’re a f’n moron if you buy the gold one. Also, buying bands from Apple is insane – check out the stuff Chinese are selling on eBay – I already got a crocodile band and a stainless steel one on their way and as soon as it’s back in stock, carbon fiber. The default sport band is exceptionally ugly and definitely has the look of a sex toy (not that I’d know) so you’ll definitely be getting something else.
Notifications and glances are absolutely brilliant. I’ve discovered that my wife is actually pretty awesome in the process, as our time together is no longer sucked up with me taking a quick look at my phone and being mentally gone for 5 minutes at a time.
Siri and txt apps are great and they are integrated absolutely flawlessly. I can look down and respond while driving without taking my eye on the road.
Interruptions and distractions are removed by the fact that the watch isn’t very useful. Think of it how certain functionality was always something you went to your laptop after you got your smartphone? Same thing here – watch is the notification/leash device, need to actually get something done.. well the phone or laptop aren’t that far away.
Note: My wife feels quite differently about her watch. She sees it as a leash, something that I can get in touch with her at any time. But so does everyone else, so it interrupts her at work (she is a scientist with a real job and does quite a bit of math so beeping and pulsing things aren’t quite helpful in that environment). Her battery doesn’t last for 2 days. Using the built in fitness functionality annoys her and MyFitnessPal app leaves a lot to be desired. Getting the info from the Apple app is kind of annoying, you need 3 taps and 3 swipes just to find out how many steps you’ve taken. So like I said, your mileage may vary.