Day One with Apple Watch
My Watch arrived late Tuesday (April 28) evening. After initial setup and adding my credit cards to Apple Pay, I set out to configure the Watch App on Phone to maximize battery life and improve the overall experience.
Items I configured on Watch App
- muted the sound under Sounds & Haptics
- turned screen brightness level to the lowest setting under Brightness & Text Size
- culled my notifications on Watch; not mirrored from my Phone
- turned on Prominent Haptic under Sounds & Haptics
- installed Watch apps manually
Here’s a screenshot of my Watch App layout
My log of events throughout the day
- Put on the Watch at 6:30am with 100% battery life.
- Checked the weather to see if I needed a wear a light jacket.
- Changed the watch face to Chronograph and modified the background color to match my shirt.
- Read Twitter timeline and messages on Watch while eating breakfast
- Sent/Receive a dozen or so messages to my wife to include my heartbeat and digital sketches.
- Used Maps to navigate for an hour commute to work
- Did a 30min walk workout during lunch using the Runtastic to see if the data is shared with the Health/Activity App.
- While stuck in rush hour traffic on the way home, I put Siri through its paces by performing tasks such as adding reminders and (20) Internet searches delivered to my wrist. If you need to ask quickly Siri a question, press and hold the Digital Crown. Saying ”Hey Siri” takes anywhere from 2-3 seconds to load the Siri screen in my experience
- Changed/Customized the Watch face to the Utility face around 5:30pm with roughly 37% battery.
- Checked my Twitter feed from my wrist while outside walking the dog
- Used the Watch to receive a phone call and talked for 5 minutes
- Installed Babbel & IHG Translator Apps and tested English to Japanese & English to Spanish translation from on my wrist
- Set the Watch on the charger with 10% battery life at 11:30pm as I prepared for bed.
The purpose of Day 1 was to replicate what I considered a relatively extreme use case based on previous experience with using wearables like the Moto360 and Google Glass. I’ll report back at a later date with an in-depth analysis and possible use cases such as using the Watch while traveling, taking notes and using Apple Watch to control your presentations.
After preordering the Apple Watch on April 10, I decided to try on the Watch to make sure my wife and I are happy with our watch & band selections. Our try on experience was roughly 15 minutes. With the exception of the (18k Gold) Edition, we tried on both Sport and Watch (stainless steel) collection with a variety of bands. On initial first blush, we were blown away on the fit and finish of the stainless steel watch collection. I ordered the 42mm steel with the Milanese Loop/Sports band and was impressed by the experience of wearing this soft comfortable form fitting sheet of metal. Since tracking activity and workouts was one of the many reasons for getting an Apple Watch, I tried on the Black Sports Band. My expectations were exceeded as I was expecting a very cheap rigid plastic. The Sports Band felt like a nice quality band yet not something I would want to wear with a suit (hence the reason for the Milanese Loop).
Hands-on with the Apple Watch
Next, I moved to the hands on Watch area that included a stationery Watch to play with the device. My objective was to compare the Apple Watch against Android Wear. Keep in mind. I’ve worn a Moto 360 for six months/Google Glass for 2yrs and really wanted to see how the interface and features stacked up. Glances on Watch OS are very much like the timeline on Glass. Notifications on Watch OS are similar to Android Wear but better – richer & functional. There’s too much to say here about the comparison between Android Wear & Watch OS so I’ll leave that for a full blown review/comparison at a later date. All I can say here is this first generation Apple Watch product is 100x better than what I’ve experienced on Android Wear OS. It’s so feature rich. After my hour or so experience with Watch OS, I envisioned Apple making an Apple Watch with an LTE cellular connection within 3 years. I believe this will truly transform the way we will use our Phone going forward.
Breakdown of my first impressions
- Watch face customization very accessible via Force Touch yet limiting; can’t add background images for example.
- Adding a new a Watch face only allows you to save your customization for easy access.
- Apple Pay seems really cool. By far paying for things via my wrist is going to be the top use case.
- Siri was awesome on Watch. It was able to hear my voice in the noisy crowded Apple Store. For some reason Siri, seems 10x better on Watch.
- Reading messages & email was very legible and didn’t feel like I was squinting to read.
- I doubt I’ll use the Digital Touch feature much especially drawing on the screen. Morse code taps, Yes.
- Watch is really smaller and more pristine in person so really glad I got the 42mm.
- This thing is not sluggish at all. Very fluid and smooth.
- Apple Watch is a beast in terms of functionality. A lot of time is needed to learn all the advance features.
- The basics are really simple to learn. Digital Crown is the Home button. Tap Side Button once to get favorite contacts. Double tap Side Button to access Apple Play. Say “Hey Siri” or Press and hold Digital Crown to speak a command such as open email, find a place or search for information on the Internet.
Beyond the apps that come with Apple the Watch and 3rd party apps already mentioned by Apple during the September event, here’s my list of must have apps for the Apple Watch. Read CNET’s articles for a comprehensive list of apps coming with the Apple Watch.
Foursquare/Swarm – Besides the obvious reasons of check-in functionality at places, this will be my go-to app for finding the best places nearby.
Evernote – A quick way to capture notes via dictation and recall later via Evernote.
OneNote – Like Evernote (yes I use both), I want the ability to dictate a note quickly using voice.
OfficeTime – I use this app daily to track time working on projects. Having an app on my Apple Watch to start/stop time worked on tasks or in meetings will be a huge plus in my book. Win an Apple Watch! OfficeTime is giving away the base $350 Apple Watch and $100 towards the watch strap. Go here to enter to win – http://lnc.hr/o8trR
TripIt – Ability to get real-time flight alerts for delays, cancellations as well as provide my travel itinerary.
OpenTable – Quickly make a reservation by searching by restaurant name or say nearby to book it.
Best Parking – Easily locate parking lots and garages nearby.
Shazam – Recognize the music playing around me.
The list of Watch apps listed above are ones I believe will serve as a best use cases for the Watch.
WatchAware has provides a WatchApps that enables visitors to see an interactive demo of 3rd party WatchApps slated to come to Apple Watch.
According to TechCrunch, people that have worn the Apple Watch have reported using their iPhones less during day-to-day activities. One person indicated that they nearly stopped using their iPhone during the day where prior to the Watch they checked their iPhone regularly.
Divergence from the iPhone
My experience has been very similar to what TechCrunch reported. I currently use a Moto 360 smartwatch. I spend less time using my phone to view emails, text messages, and notifications. As a result, the micro-interactions I experience on my smartwatch gives me more time allowing me to focus on one particular action at a time.
If the Watch kills the iPhone, then the iPhone transforms into the iPad
With the recent increase in size of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, most users don’t have a need for a tablet anymore especially if you have an iPhone 6 Plus. Over the next couple of generations, the Apple Watch will gain improved battery life, and a chance it will have cellular connectivity. The iPad currently is the main and only computer for lots of individuals. I know many people who don’t use a PC and own tablets only (some with a Bluetooth keyboard) to check social media, browse the Internet, send/receive emails. We’re soon going to see people with laptops in niche markets/trades such as engineers, developers, designers, and other professions only requiring devices with more horsepower.
In the end, smartwatches like the Apple Watch will return us to a day before the smartphone ever became famous. A period, where we spent less our day buried into a smartphone and more time enjoying life. Personally, I’ve been using a smartphone since 2000 and after 15 years I’m ready to ditch my phone altogether especially after two years of using a wearable device. The day the Apple Watch gets cellular connectivity, without sacrificing battery life, is the day I dump my iPhone and just use my iPad for heavy lifting.