Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has been out for a little while; just enough time to get some of the kinks worked out. I finally got my hands on one, and I’ve completed a full day of use. (Apple unfortunately did not have sufficient supply to provide us a review unit. So we had to buy one for this review and it took some time to finally get to us.) How does the Apple Watch stack up after a day’s use? Read on to find out my initial impressions. 

The Good

One of Apple’s core values is to create a device that carries an equal amount of swagger to match the functionality of the device. The Apple Watch definitely follows suit. The device is stunning. I’m wearing the sport version with a bright blue band and I still feel like the king of the world. I’ve even received multiple compliments on the watch in a single day. (They were surprisingly able to see past my chiseled abs and giant biceps – Incredible!) It’s definitely a beautiful device even if you’re not buying the expensive Watch Edition. 

The screen is also phenomenal. It’s bright, crisp, and works well in sunlight. There are a number of vivid watch faces to display the time in different manners. I prefer the default modular option as you can customize what you see when you’re checking the time. You can include the temperature outside, stock tickers, your fitness goal progress, battery life, alarm, stopwatch, calendar appointments, and more. One of my favorite features of the watch is the calendar function in the watch face. While simple, anytime I look at the time I can also see what meetings are upcoming or currently in progress. Considering I have anywhere from four to six different meetings each day, this feature is a godsend.

Something that I thought could be a deal-breaker has actually performed surprisingly well: battery life. The media was all over Apple’s battery life when they released their detailed break down of daily use. However, I can report that even after spending the day with intense fiddling, It’s now 10:16 PM and I have 42% battery life. It’s worth noting that due to the low number of apps and the way you interact with apps, you’re not going to be spending inordinate amounts of time looking at the Apple Watch’s screen. 

Finally, the last and probably greatest benefit that I’ve noticed so far is that I don’t miss a notification. A subtle vibration on the wrist is rarely missed versus my phone vibrating in my semi-baggy pants. I typically have to clear out a giant pile of notifications at regular intervals on my phone. With the Apple Watch, I simply glance, act, and clear. Disclaimer: I’m still in the honeymoon phase with the Apple Watch, so each vibration on my wrist gets me a bit excited. Time will tell whether this benefit wears off over time.

The Bad

A number of other reviewers have stated that there is a learning curve associated with the interface of the Apple Watch. I spent some time with one in the Apple Store prior to receiving mine where an Apple employee took me through the various features. So I was a bit ahead of the game when I received my Apple Watch. However even then, I still had to do some Googling to figure a number of things out.

I’m not a huge fan of how reliant the device is on the iPhone. Installing apps requires you to pull out your phone. Changing settings requires you to pull out your phone. Heck, even Siri at times responded with a handoff to my phone. I thought the purpose of the Apple Watch was to enable you to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone. 

The second and probably biggest disappointment was in the Apple Watch’s app offering. This is likely to change after Apple recently announced native apps at WWDC earlier this year, however, for us early adopters it’s still disappointing. I typically like to dive into my devices when I first buy them and try out all of the different features. However, when I sat down with the Apple Watch last night for the first time, I looked at my notifications, tried turning on my music, using Siri, and checking my heart rate; but at that point I felt like I was done and didn’t know where to go next.

I researched what the best apps for the Apple Watch are and one recommendation was Instapaper. So I installed it. However, all it does is use voice-to-text to read your saved web pages back to you; and it uses your phone’s speaker to do so! Many of the other recommended/available apps don’t really apply to my needs. I’m hopefully that with Apple’s recent announcement we will see a wave of apps that bring incredible value to the Watch. 

My main observation is that the Apple Watch is a portal to timely information when you need it. The dynamic of how and when to use this is completely different from what developers are used to in regards to smart phone apps. I’m confident that with some time, developers will figure it out and the app offering will be the most enticing aspect of the Apple Watch. 

The Ugly

First, there is nothing ugly about the Apple Watch. It’s beautiful. However, I’m a full day in after having done some hardcore fiddling and I’m still not 100% sold on the device. Guaranteed notifications are great and the device itself is downright sexy, but until the watch does more for you than ensure you don’t miss a notification, I’m not sold on it being worth the $350+ dollar investment that it is. 

Many other reviewers have stated that it takes a solid couple of days of use before they really began to understand Apple’s intentions behind the device. I’m confident that I’ll get there, but I’m certainly not there after a single day. However, this is Apple we’re talking about. Their products sell because they focus on what consumers want. While we may not quite be at a utopian state, I’m confident we will get there soon; possibly even during the time that I review this device. Stay tuned for a full review. 

Do you have an Apple Watch? Tell us about your AHA (or lack thereof) moment in the comments below.