As many of you know, it happened again. After trying to convince myself not to buy an Apple Watch, I capitulated to the inevitable and ordered one. I’ve learned the hard way that the least inefficient way to order a new Apple product on pre-order day is via the Apple Store app. So, I set my clock for 2:00 a.m., and used my iPad to order a 42mm space gray aluminum model, with a matching black sports band.
Here are a few thoughts, after a month:
1. Getting used to wearing a watch again is the hardest part. Until my Apple Watch arrived, I hadn’t worn a watch for many years. Now I wear one from the minute I get up until the minute I go back to bed. Because I use the watch as a fitness monitor, I don’t want to miss any steps. I’m getting used to wearing a watch again, but it takes an Apple Watch to get me there.
2. The fitness tracking is good and accurate. I’ve worn a Fitbit for years, and I’ve always known that it over-reports steps and, to a lesser extent, mileage. The Apple Watch is very accurate on both. Happily, it even measures my treadmill steps when I cheat and hold on. This is important.
3. The battery is not an issue. Period. I’m usually at 50% charged or better when I take it off.
4. It’s all about the notifications. Getting a quick look at incoming email, texts and other events is both the most useful thing about the watch and the thing the watch does best. The app screen is a jumble of too small icons. Glances work reasonably well, as long as you keep the number low enough. Apps are slow to load. I rarely use them. Hopefully native Apple Watch apps, promised for later this year, will speed thing up. I love the way you can delete all notifications at once. I hope we get this on other Apple devices.
5. At least at this stage, the Apple Watch has not crossed over into the non-geek universe the way iPhones and iPads have. I’ve never seen another Apple Watch in the wild. In fact, even at the Apple Store (when I went to get yet another broken iPhone screen replaced for a family member), it was an ohh and ahh moment for onlookers when I paid my replacement fee with my watch. The people who have noticed my watch so far have treated it as a curiosity, as opposed to something they can’t wait to get.
6. The sports band is a fine watch band. The smaller of the two that come in the box fits my wrist perfectly. Using the last notch, the end of the band tucks slightly into the slot, making for a very comfortable experience.
7. It’s not so big that it seems clunky and burdensome. I’m sure future models will get thinner (seen a first generation iPhone or iPad lately?), but it sits on my wrist pretty unobtrusively. I’m starting to forget that I’m wearing it, which as a non-watch wearer is a very good thing.
8. Apple Pay will be the defining feature. I love the ability to pay for things in a second or two with my watch. I can’t wait to use it at a third location (the Apple Store and Walgreens being the two current locations I frequent that accept Apple Pay).
In sum, I’m sold. I wonder, however, just how far the Apple Watch will penetrate into the non-geek, non-athlete crowd.
Time will tell.