My Life with Apple Watch
Well folks, I have had Apple Watch for about a month now.I sweet talked my wife into through the combination of a little extra money that came in from a training and that Target had their $100 off deal running till about January 9. I know that there are several folks who look to me for gadgets and gizmo advice, and I thought this blog would be a good chance for me to give you my perceptions of Apple Watch after a month of using it.
To start, let me tell you where I am coming from a bit so you understand my perceptions. First off, I am a massive Apple fanboy. I counted my Apple devices recently, and I had over 15 in my possession, although there are a few (like this MacAir I am using to write this), that belong to to the office. I am also a fan of the wearable technology category. I think it comes down to the fact that I want things that make my life easier in a practical way. I don't really care about the fashion. Both of these make me a prime candidate for Apple Watch, but what drove the point home even more for me was the fact that I wore a Pebble Classic watch for over a year.
My overall perception of the device is "I love it!", but I think it is not for everyone. I also think that my perception is different because I did wear a Pebble for about a year. The Pebble does a few things fairly well like notifications, but I found myself through out the year wanting more. I wanted more access to my apps. I wanted more functionality, and I for sure wanted Siri integration with the device. As soon I strapped on the Apple Watch, it did all of those things. It even did notifications better because it gave me access to the full message from my watch rather than just an abbreviated version.
Really my favorite feature of the Apple Watch is the full notifications. It allows me to scroll through messages quickly and on the fly, and it makes it much easier to manage all the notifications I really want. You can set the notifications you really want, and I try to keep it to email, text, twitter, and news, but that still ends up being a whole lot. The watch then allows to me to scroll through them, dismiss them, and unlike Pebble send quick replies as needed. If its a message that needs a longer reply, I can always pull out my phone. I am constantly on the go as an education technology specialist and speaker so this becomes incredibly handy. I also love the fact that the watch has Siri integration. In fact this is the feature I find myself using all the time. I can stop, start, and change music without using my hands which becomes incredibly handy, and find myself using the timer for things like checking the meat on the grill.
While the apps on the device leave a little to be desired, I think the potential is there for this to be very big. There are a couple of apps I use consistently, and several which I don't. One of my favorite apps on the device is actually my Bank of America app because is it uses the same protections as Apple Pay to allow the device to stay logged into my account. This allows me to quickly check my balances without having to pull my phone out and log in every time. I also like Apple Pay, but I find to many retailers that still do not support it like the Publix grocery store chain and Target.
Really, there is not much hardware wise I would change on the device. I have the bigger version of the device with a black sports band. It looks great on my wrist, and the hardware overall works incredibly well. I know with my Pebble it would have times where it would disconnect all the sudden from my Phone, and I don't really have those issues with Apple Watch.
Software wise, I think they for sure need to do some tweaks. The apps at times are a bit slow to load which can be a bit annoying. It also is the same story with Siri. I have found Siri to a bit inconsistent on speed which results in me having to try my commands a few times occasionally. While the apps are consistently better than almost all of the smart watches, it does seem like Apple needs to really work with developers on what a really great Apple watch app can look like. I sometimes wonder if they just threw the watch out there and said "We are Apple the developers will come!" In some ways I think that has been proven true as there are many apps for the watch, but in some ways its not as big ones such as Facebook have been skeptical to this point.
Overall, I love the experience of the watch, but I think it comes down to two major things. First, I was already used to a smart watch experience by using a Pebble for a year. This let me get used to the smart watch experience, and it meant I was clamoring for the added functionality of the Apple Watch. Second, it is great for the work I do. It helps keep me on track as I work with 6 different schools and maintain a significant online presence. My advice is that unless you are a true tech junkie like I am, it might be better for you to try out the smart watch experience with the $80 Pebble before you go headfirst into the expense of the Apple Watch.