If you are a sports fanatic, tech geek, or Apple mega fan, you have likely been watching your doorstep for the arrival of your Apple Watch. Reports are that about 1.2 million watches were sold in the US the first two days that they became available. Recent reports say that more than 2.3 million have been ordered world-wide. If those numbers hold true, they well surpass the sales of Pebble Watch and Android wearable devices. So what's the big deal? Read on to get my take on this new device.
I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Apple Watch ever since it was announced. I set my alarm for 2:45 am on April 10th in order to be on the Apple Store site ready to click the Buy button. At 3:14 am my order finally went through with a ship date of - what? May 13 through 24th? A full month after the official release. Bummer. Apparently, I was not alone. Everyone else that also ordered a space grey sport model had a similar story. Fortunately, my date moved up and it arrived safe and sound on May 5th. I do not really consider myself a "tech geek," but my line of work has given me the opportunity to live the geek life and I admit, I do like it. The other strange thing about this is that I have not worn a watch, of any kind, in over a decade. As with most average smartphone users, my iPhone has not only become my time piece, but also my camera, phone book, map, and a replacement for my laptop when I'm out and about. So, what compels me to get excited over this device?
First of all, the idea of not having to dig my phone out of a pocket or purse to check a notification, answer the phone, or check the time seems like a pretty good deal to me. I couldn't wait to receive my first call yesterday so I could see how useful that feature would be. It got so bad that I put out a plea on Facebook for someone to call me. I ended up taking several calls on it throughout the afternoon. Pros - I don't have to run for my phone. The sound was reasonably clear and loud. The person on the other end said I was clear as well. I was able to talk to my college-age daughter while I cooked dinner and didn't have to continually pick my phone up and carry it around the kitchen with me as I moved around. Cons - obviously only works as a speaker phone, so if you want to have a private conversation, you still need to grab your phone. If the person on the other end of the conversation is also on speaker phone, the clarity and volume is somewhat compromised.
Checking Mail, Messages, and Calendar notifications at a glance is definitely convenient. There are quite a few predictive text responses for Messages, a selection of emojis to use, or you can dictate your reply and send it as a text (or audio message, if the recipient is also using an iPhone, iPad or iPod). For email, you can read messages and then Flag, Mark as Unread, or Trash them. I'm getting used to the Haptic engine and recognizing that little "buzz" on my wrist as something to pay attention to. I do have it set to the highest setting and find it easy to ignore, so I'm guessing there might be more work done on that as time goes on.
The Apple Pay and Passbook apps are ones I have yet to try out on the watch, but do plan to use. I use Apple Pay on my iPhone to reload my registered Starbucks gift card. When I am making a purchase at Starbucks, I just hold up my phone and the cashier scans my digital card. Now, I can do the same from my watch, and not worry about dropping my iPhone out of the car window in the drive through! I have not yet used Apple Pay on my iPhone at any other vendor. I think that I will, now that it's on my wrist.
I wasn't exactly sure why I'd want Siri on the watch. I'm accustomed to setting my calendar events up on my iPhone with Siri's assistance, I am now doing the same on the watch. The convenience of doing some of these repetitive tasks on the watch, rather than pulling out the phone, is definitely a plus.
The other reason I've been really interested in this device is the fitness aspect. I've recently started paying more attention to the Health app on my iPhone. I will admit that as a competitive-natured person, I've already found those stats on steps taken, miles walked/run, and flights of stairs climbed in a day propelling me to go a little further each day. I'm not a runner or serious athlete, but just seeing what I do on an average day seems to be encouraging me to try to do more. With the watch, those stats become even more accurate as I don't have to remember to carry my phone with me every time I move in order for that movement to be recorded. The watch also measures my pulse and is able to come up with a "calories burned" stat based on how active I was at any given time. It even prompts me to stand up at various intervals. I already feel myself competing with those stats and trying to outdo what I did the day before. My resting pulse is currently 73. I think I need to work on that!
So far, there aren't any apps that I have felt were worthy of adding to my watch, beyond the basic apps included in the OS. I'm sure that will change as the store is stocked up with apps that have been waiting for Apple to approve for sale.
The main reason I have the watch is to edit our upcoming My Apple Watch book. I'm awaiting the first batch of manuscript and can't wait to see all of the things that I have not discovered on my own. There is one other thing that comes with this watch - a learning curve. Although the look and function feels familiar, it is quite a different experience from the iPhone or iPad. Remembering what type of action gets to various functions is currently an issue for me. Fortunately, our four-color, task-based book gives the reader easy to follow steps for all the various functions and settings, as well as tips and suggestions for how to really customize and make the watch efficient for the way you live and work. You can follow this link to purchase: http://www.quepublishing.com/store/my-applewatch-9780789754066
I also have a book coming that is focused on fitness with the Apple Watch and iPhone. You can find it here: http://www.quepublishing.com/store/apple-watch-and-iphone-fitness-tips-and-tricks-9780789754752
There are a few things for which I already know I need a book. I know there's a lot of customization that I can do, but I'm not exactly sure which to do on the iPhone using the Apple Watch app and what I need to do on the watch itself. I'm also trying to figure out how to return to Glances when you tap into an app from that view. I'm sure there are also many more things I could be using the watch for, and I can't wait to learn about them in the new books.