Apple Watch

 Photo from Apple's website of the watch I chose.

Photo from Apple's website of the watch I chose.

Well, after UPS botched it and Apple came to the rescue I have finally had a few days to use my Apple Watch.

I assume my particular configuration was less popular since many people have to wait even longer before their's will even ship. I wavered back and forth between the Apple Watch (stainless steel with a sapphire screen) and Apple Watch Sport (aluminum with Ion-X glass...whatever that is.) From what I could find the Sapphire screen would offer better scratch protection, and the Ion-X better impact protection. As I don't see me dropping something attached to my wrist very often, but I'm positivit I will find ways to ram it into things like door frames, I went with the Sapphire.

Now that I've had it a few days here are some of my impressions and thoughts as I randomly think of them.

Phone Calls: The first thing I did after setting the watch up was call Jennifer with it. Volume was a little low (I may have just not had it turned up yet) but the clarity was great. I had no problems understand her, and she said she could hear me fine. I also transferred it mid call to my iPhone which worked exactly like you would expect it to. 

Texting: I'm not sure why, but using dictation on the Apple Watch seems to be far more accurate than using it on an iPhone or iPad. I talked with a co-worker who has a watch and he seems to agree. The quick replys are nice but only if you say the exact same phrase over and over on a regular basis (which I often do so that works.). 

I had one problem with texting. At first, though I could receive an iMessage, it was only letting me send SMS messages. Eventually I figured out the problem was that I have 2 factor authentication turned on for my account. Anytime I log into a new device I have to input a second code that is texted me. I did this process logging into the watch in general, but needed to do it a different time for messages (those are logged into, or can be, separately on the iPhones and iPads too.) I also had to set an app specific password for it. Once I did that I was able to log into the watch. Of course setting that app specific password required me to go back to my iPhone, iPad, and mac and log back into messages on each. Not an overly difficult process but since the watch is very much an extension of the phone it was more annoying than it should have been.

With the improved dictation it really is incredibly easy to use. Once you have the watch paired, any messages you send via another device will sync to it. If you want to send one to someone new however it takes a little longer to find them in the contact list to do so. It's definitely easier to initiate a text conversation on the iPhone first, but as soon as at least one has been sent or received it's easy enough to reply directly on the watch.

Digital Touch: Definitely a gimmick but fun to play with. I don't see it being something I do on a regular basis. That said, the new emoji you can send I do find my self using a lot. I like to send emoji and am enjoying the new ones, especially since they can be viewed on other devices (at first I thought only other watches could view them).

Force Touch: You need to try it everywhere. More than once I've wondered how to do something and it was done by force touch. I like the feature, but it would help if it was more obvious when you could use it. 

Bands: I have the white sport band and it is comfortable enough. Jennifer has the Milanese Loop and seems to like it. She did comment that the magnets in it can make the band hard to initially separate so she can put it on. I will probably eventually get another band, but I'm not sure which one. I may wait and see what third party options inevitably come out. I did try the mechanism for attaching/detaching the bands from the watch and it's incredibly simple. I'm happy with my choice.

Haptic feedback: AKA the vibrating when you get a notification. It works well but I wouldn't say no to being able to turn up it's intensity a little (yes I already have it set on the highest setting). I think as I get more used to it I'll notice it more easily. It did take me a bit to figure out it wasn't notifying me if I was actively using my iPhone at the same time. It makes sense when you think about it (for battery life considerations if nothing else) but I hadn't considered it. 

Battery life: I've recharged it a couple times during the day, when I was unsure how long it would last. Both times I did that I discovered it wouldn't have been necessary. The battery last plenty long, especially when you get past the first couple days where you are using it more often than you normally would. I almost ordered a second charging cable but for now will hold off. 

 The packaging is just massive compared to the watch.  

The packaging is just massive compared to the watch.  

The Apple Watch comes with a pretty nice case to store it in and a just ridiculously large box compared to the watch itself.  I've read the Apple Watch Sport comes with a different box type, but I haven't seen one. For now I do place the watch in the case at night to charge, but I ordered a stand to put it on instead. That stand should ship in a few weeks.

Some of my favorite apps:

  • My Fitness Pal - the watch app itself is nothing special. What's great is MFP had an update to let it use the Health app on the iPhone for it's steps, and the steps can now come from the watch. This means I don't have to have the phone physically on me during workouts which is much nicer. 
  • Camera - I'm not a huge selfie taker but it is definitely fun to take pictures with your phone using the watch as the viewfinder.
  • Photos - Viewing photos on the watch is surprisingly great. I wasn't expecting much considering how small the screen is, but the ones I looked at were great. You can pick an album (it defaults to your favorites) to have sync to the watch. I set mine to the camera roll and then I have access to all of the pictures on my phone.
  • Overcast - This is my podcast app that I use. I listen to podcast all the time and I like being able to control them (and some of the special features that Overcast has) from the watch itself. 
  • GoodTaskApp - A reminders app that integrates with the native iPhone reminders. For some reason Apple didn't include a reminders app on the watch itself. I use reminders all the time though so I like having an option for the watch.

Overall I'm really happy with it. I've already grown accustomed to wearing a watch again (something I haven't done the last 5+ years). If you haven't seen one in person I would highly advise you make an appointment at the Apple Store to try one on. They also have demo units available you can play with a bit after the appointment  to get more a feel of the software. I do look forward to seeing more third party apps and what they can do as developers get more time with their watches.