January 22, 2016
I’m just 60 days into my first smartwatch endeavor and as I continue to connect with friends and colleagues, eventually the subject of my Apple Watch comes up. It’s kind of hard to hide, and why would I, after spending more than $350 on the device?
Until my Apple Watch acquisition, I hadn’t worn a watch of any type for years. In 2012, I stopped wearing one my mom had given me on vacation back in 2007, opting instead to use my then recently purchased iPhone 4S. It was the third of my replacements to shift to Apple, after my iPad 2 and Macbook Pro, both in 2011. I’d complete my Apple universe in 2014 with Apple TV, but that’s not all that interesting – it was on sale, I had rewards, and now I can stream from my Apple devices to my TV.
Additionally, I’ve never been one for personal accessories … with the exception of hats. I wear and own a lot of hats; mostly ball caps for my balding head. From time to time, I wear a leather bracelet or a right-hand ring, but that’s usually for out in the evening or a night on the town.
So what changed my mind? Admittedly, I hadn’t actually seen or held the device, and not actively wearing a watch regularly meant that I didn’t see a need to replace one with an Apple device, or any “smart” watch for that matter.
Still, it’s shiny and does things, and when I was on vacation last year, I made some friends who had the Apple Watch. Until this point, I’d not talked to anyone I knew who actually owned the device and could provide me with any type of long life user opinion.
I threw out some standard questions, “What do you think?” “Do you like it?” “How’s the battery life?” This of course led to my now almost canned responses to my friends or coworkers when I’d been asked previously if I’d get one. “I don’t want another thing to have to worry about charging.” “Can’t my iPhone do everything it can do, but better?” “I don’t even wear a watch.”
Yep, I was pretty much set on sticking to my Apple ecosystem absent the watch … but, then …
Heading into Thanksgiving week, and therefore Black Friday week, I started thinking about how I wanted to get better about tracking my exercise. Before I’d gone on vacation, I’d gained some weight; about 15 pounds I knew I could easily live without. Additionally, I’d had my iPhone 6S Plus for nearly two months and started using both the Health and MyPlate Apps almost daily. I really liked how they were tracking my steps, stairs, calorie burn and food intake (admittedly, I’d been using MyPlate off and on for nearly five years at this point).
I did my online research. I’d like to say I looked intently at FitBits or others, but why break up a family with an adopted orphan? I watched all the Apple videos on their website, interested mostly in the heart rate tracking, message receiving, and the ability to accept and make phone calls (albeit through the Bluetooth connection of the iPhone).
That Sunday, I made my trek to the Apple store. What I’d neglected to realize was that the iPad Pro had come out to stores that Friday before … meaning the infamous line with ropes outside the store. The associate greeted me and when it was finally my turn, she let me try on both sizes; the 38mm and the 42mm. I had convinced myself earlier that I needed the bigger screen, but after trying both on, I opted for the smaller face as the 42mm didn’t look or feel right on my wrist. That did save me $50 and I haven’t regretted the size once.
I went through my litany of questions for her, all the ones above, plus the return policy after wearing. As I mentioned, I hadn’t been wearing a watch for years. It was a fantastic Apple purchase experience. She even recommended Amazon for additional watch bands, and advised which ones to steer clear of with the Space Grey casing I’d selected.
It’s been two months now and I have no regrets. Only once have I walked out of the house without wearing it (I did remember to go back and get it before backing out of the driveway), and it’s not died on me yet. In fact, unless I do two 45+ minute workouts back-to-back days, I get two days on a charge.
Additionally, I’ve reduced my need to have my phone next to my hands at all times. This might sound trivial, but as someone who is consciously aware of when I pull out my phone to leave on a conference or restaurant table, it’s kind of nice to know I don’t have to obviously look over and click the home or power button to see the time, what the last email was, or who is texting me. A simple, subtle turn of the wrist does the same.
My favorite feature is probably the ability to respond to messages through either preloaded or custom defined responses, OR talk-to-text dictation. This became an instant favorite of mine as I was working with poultry in my kitchen my first evening with the watch and an important text came through, but my phone was in the other room. Without having to completely wash up, I simply tapped reply with my knuckle, dictated my response to the watch, and off it went without me having to stop for more than a few seconds saving hand washing and the interruption. Again, trivial, but I’m in the kitchen all the time without my phone, so this was great.
I’m also a fan of the custom faces using the ultimate in utility with temperature, time, date, next meeting and battery life all available at a glance. I’ve missed the start of fewer meetings now that I feel the alerts on my wrist, having usually missed the alert on my phone when it’s in my pocket or on that dreaded conference table.
Yeah, the Apple Watch clearly solves for first world problems, and even, “solve,” might be too strong of a word. I acknowledge my life would easily and probably happily exist without it, but the same could be said for my TV or not having a car opting for public transportation (that would never work for my commute, but I technically could).
Don’t take my word for it. Go try one on and use it for a couple of days, and then tell me what you think?
Apple, Apple Watch, Smart Watch, Watch,