3 Days with the Apple Watch

I received an Apple Watch on Friday (38mm Stainless w/Black Leather band, in case you’re curious). I was just taking stock of how the product is working out for me, and thought I’d share some initial impressions.

I received an Apple Watch on Friday (38mm Stainless w/Black Leather band, in case you’re curious). I was just taking stock of how the product is working out for me, and thought I’d share some initial impressions.

First, let me say I don’t consider myself an “Apple fanboy”. I have a Dell XPS15 with Windows 8 that I love to use…and while I gave up on Windows Phone, it took years to finally make that decision — one I took no joy in.

Like many, I had read a lot of press reviews of the Apple Watch when they came out a few weeks ago. But I actually found much of the press coverage a poor guidepost for what has been my initial experience with the actual product.

Here are some observations

It really is easy to use. Unlike a certain prominent reviewer, I didn’t find it difficult to use at all. It took three hours — not three days — to get the hang of using the watch. It has some new gestures I’ll need to get used to, but otherwise it seems pretty intuitive. I probably haven’t found all the product features yet, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t need to explore every dusty corner of the product to make a publishing deadline.

It looks a lot nicer in 3D on your wrist than it does in 2D on the web. Those close-up photos make the watch look really thick. And, well, it is thick compared to my old Seiko. But when perched on my wrist, it’s thickness isn’t something I notice. It feels small and elegant more than thick and nerdy. This is subjective, and YMMV.
Lefties Rejoice! I’m left-handed, and have never had a watch with the crown on the “correct” side (for me). It took about 60 seconds to switch the band around, and the watch asked me which arm I would wear it on (right, for me). Why aren’t more products built for use with either hand?

The battery life is fine. I put the watch on at 7AM, and it’s 5:08PM as I write this…I have 76% battery remaining. That’s not the “terrible battery life” I’ve read about (compared to a smartphone, anyway). Like a smartphone, I assume the battery rundown time will depend on how the device is used, and vary from day to day. I assume that the longer the display is on, the more notifications, the more web browsing and phone calling, the faster the battery will drain. Like free beer, I won’t ever turn down more battery life. But lasting all of my waking hours is acceptable. It’s the little things that really matter. I’m so far loving the little things that make my life just a little better.

While getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist this morning I dismissed an incoming phone call without needing to fish out my phone — that was awesome.

Great that I could see that the e-mail that came in while typing this text was from a VIP contact that I need to look at, but based on the subject it can wait until I’m done typing this article.
So nice to use the watch to switch between Pandora playlists from the kitchen counter while I was making a sandwich on Sunday afternoon (yes I could also use my phone to do that, but it wasn’t on me at the time).

Not everything is perfect. While the watch presents voicemail for playback, I still haven’t been able to make it play. And not every phone call has been displayed on the phone for dismissal or answer — not sure why. But it’s early days, and hopefully I’ll figure it out (or go to the genius bar and have them explain it to me).

A wrist-worn device that displays not only the time, but also my upcoming calendar, the weather, fitness levels, incoming phone calls, let’s me glance at what that last e-mail chime was for, etc., is pretty cool. It won’t be worth buying for everyone, but aside from healthcare, food and shelter, no product needs to be.

While this is a “version 1 product”, my overall experience so far makes me think this is the right evolutionary path for personal technology. As with the smartphone itself, Apple wasn’t the first to think of doing this, nor was it first to market. But the company has, in my view, designed the right experience and executed a product with the right mix of compromises. Apple’s leadership in the category will no doubt float other boats higher, and help the mobile industry move to the next level.

Originally published at rekerrsive.ghost.io on April 25, 2015.

Author: Rob Kerr

Consultant and expert in software development for the iOS and Android platforms. Microsoft MVP Alumnus.

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