I didn’t realize that it’s been a year since I had an Apple Watch until I saw a news headline about it. Since I wrote more than one blog post a year ago about it, I thought I should do a quick follow-up on what I think about it after more than 365 days of having one. I like it very much and use it practically every day. Here’s why:
Excellent Daily Time and “More” Piece
I really enjoy being able to quickly look at my watch to not only see the time but also the current weather, the forecast, my physical activity levels and more just at a quick glance. I can also keep track of my watches battey levels, although the battery normally easily makes it past a day. I still regulary charge it at night. On occassion, my wife will forget her watch and ask to wear mine. When that happens, I recall how much I don’t like having to dig in my pocket to check the weather and other quick information that I usually just have to raise my wrist for.
Siri on My Wrist is Great…when it works!
The other day, a friend asked me about my Apple Watch. They wanted to get one but wanted to wait until version 2. When I talked to them about how I liked being able to use Siri with it, they were amazed. It surprized me to know that many people don’t realize that you can raise your wrist, talk into the Apple Watch, and it will translate your voice into text in order to perform the Siri command. I can request Siri to make phone calls, create reminders, schedule meetings, and check on basketball scores. I probably use it the most to send texts to my family using my voice when my hands are full by just saying “Tell Honey that I’m coming home soon”. This works, 99% of the time. It’s a little frustrating when I used to raise my wrist and Siri wouldn’t start up or wouldn’t be able to send my text. I think someone must have been paying attention to my comments, because an Apple WatchOS update fixed the problem of trying to send a text but then having to physically press a button to send it. Now, you only have to press a button if you DON’T want to send it. Bravo, Apple!
It Keeps on Tracking my Fitness…even when I don’t
Well, my Apple Watch, and the little “trainer” inside of it, kept going back and forth on how high I should set my physical activity goals. Sadly, to be honest, I haven’t been as attentive to it as I should be. It still gives me reminders to stand up and records how many calories I’ve burned or steps I’ve walked. When I do workout, I like being able to launch the workout app with my voice and keep more detailed account of my workout. I guess I wish I had a personal trainer that came with the watch, but that’s out of Apple’s domain.
I’ve Worn This Watch Longer Than Any Other Wearable except…
Besides my Citizen Eco-Drive watch (that has never needed a watch battery since my wife gave it to me years ago), I’ve probably worn this watch longer than any other wearable. Well, maybe my Timex Iron Man watch I wore just as long but I would usually switch out watches when I wanted a “dress” watch versus a “sports” watch. But with my entry level Apple Watch, I usually just change bands if I want to look a little more professional but I equally wear it during “dress” situations and sports activities. Keep in mind, I’ve owned the Pebble Watch, Nike Fuel Band, and even a Garmin golf watch. But none of those wearables have kept me wearing them as long as I’ve worned my Apple Watch.
The “Killer Apps” that Do and Don’t Exist
When I’m traveling, the “killer app” for me is being able to have my airplane ticket on my wrist instead of having to carry around a paper ticket or even pull out my smartphone. It’s always worked even though sometimes I find that I am challenged to turn my arm and wrist to fit under the scanner. Since there really is no standard scanner for plane ticket bar codes. Some are flat and I have to turn my wrist all the way down. Some scanners are hanging and I have to figure out how far away I have to hold my Apple Watch away before it will successfully scan. Along with the airplane ticket bar codes, the Apple Pay using my Apple Watch is another “killer app”. And when a place, like Starbucks, doesn’t take Apple Pay, I can still use Apple Wallet to let them scan my Starbucks card. I just discovered that I can put my Walgreen’s Balance Rewards card in my Apple Wallet and use it instead of having to punch in my telephone number before I make a purchase. I guess it’s just a matter of time before I’ll be able to withdraw cash from an ATM with my watch too. With that said, I usually don’t use many third party apps because they are too slow. Hurray for Apple for making developers (like me) make all apps native apps, or apps that run on the Apple Watch itself and not subject to having to constantly transmit data between the phone and the watch.
Checking Texts and Mail in Meetings
Isn’t annoying when people check their phones for text and mail messsages during meetings? For me, I can easily receive my messages during meetings and subtly respond to them.
Apple Watch Bands are More Interchangeable than We Knew
Just last week, someone just pointed out that the Apple Watch Sport bands are interchangeable with the Apple Watch bands (the more expensive version). I won’t get into that except to say I think there was some confusion about this. Not a deal breaker but just good to know.
Apple Watch Meets Detective Tracy?
Well, the rumors are that the Apple Watch in the near future will be able to connect to cellular networks without having to have the iPhone near. We have iPhone calls and FaceTime Audio on the Apple Watch. So, if you every read the Dick Tracy comic strip, you know that the next step must be FaceTime Video on the Apple Watch. Won’t that be grand?
About the Author:
Andrew B. Williams, Ph.D., likes Apple gear, blogs about innovation, technology, and social justice and designs iOS Swift apps. In his real job, he works with students to create socially intelligent humanoid robots that help kids learn STEM and improve their health.