James Maskell

Three months with the Apple Watch

25 August 2015

I resisted the urge to buy an Apple Watch at launch, but caved in the moment I tried one on in a store (about a month after launch). I ordered mine (Sport, Space Gray for those of you who are interested) and have been wearing it every day since it arrived in early June.

My Apple Watch

My thoughts as follows:

  1. Apple Pay is awesome. The convenience of paying with a little device on your wrist is great - so seemless. It’s my favourite thing about the Watch because it is so convenient, and I can see a day where I will no longer have to carry a wallet. It’s not perfect yet (the occasional payment fails, or I have to wave my Watch near the reader a couple of times) but that is a minor complaint.
  2. I’ve cut the number of notifications that I have mirrored from my iPhone. The only things that can buzz my wrist are messages, phone calls and calendar reminders. Anything else (breaking news, Instagram comments) was far too distracting. This works quite well, and I don’t take my phone out of my pocket anywhere near as much as I used to.
  3. Similarly, I’ve really cut down on the number of glances installed on the Watch. This is partly because the only way to navigate is to swipe left or right, so it’s best to have just a few to save on excess swiping. The glances I have installed allow me to remotely control the music that I’m listening to, check battery life, my heart rate (purely because I still find that cool) and the current weather.
  4. I almost never use apps on the Watch. Swarm and the alarm clock are the only ones that I’ve found particularly useful so far. Uber is ok, but I find I want more detail on where my car is, or pinpointing myself on the map, than I can get in the Watch app. I’m looking forward to see what developers do with the ability to build native apps, but sadly haven’t had any killer ideas myself (yet!).
  5. The ability to draw, tap or share your heartbeat with a friend is cool the first few times you do it, but the novelty soon wears off. This might be because only a few friends of mine have a Watch so far, but also because the only things we’ve ever drawn have been very crude and we’ve yet to discover another use case.
  6. I’ve worn the Watch to bed a few times, and used the alarm to wake me up. Being awoken by the pulse/tapping on your wrist is much more pleasant than a loud alarm from a phone.
  7. I use the timer a lot when cooking - this has replaced a physical timer for me. It’s easy to set and then keep an eye on with a glance at your wrist. I used to use my phone occasionally for this, but it’s a lot more fiddly.
  8. I’ve also turned off most of the fitness notifications. While these were interesting initially, I’m fairly active and haven’t had much trouble filling the circles. I still have the stand notification turned on, as this is at least good for telling me to take a break from the computer each hour!
  9. Being able to tell the time without taking my phone out of my pocket is extremely liberating.
  10. I’ve given up trying to use Siri or voice dictation to reply to messages. It is cool and very useful when it works, but in my experience that was only about 20% of the time (the remaining 80% it just hangs or does nothing).

In summary, I’m happy with my Watch, and would find it hard to give it up now. Having said that, it’s quite clearly a first version, and the product as a whole has a long way to go. I’d recommend it to any geek with some cash to spare, but for the average person I’d recommend holding on for a year or two before buying one.