One month with the Apple Watch

While I am an Apple fan, and got a lot of their hardware devices, I was never really enamoured by the Apple Watch when they announced it, and never really planned to get one.

However, about 6 weeks ago, I got a special promotional offer from one of my credit cards companies for an Apple Watch Sport edition which was essentially free, because of the points activity on my business card.

So I decided to take them up on it and place an order.  It arrived within a week and I have been using it every day since then.  Bear in mind that I haven't worn any sort of watch for nearly 20 years now, it took some getting used to, having this metal weight on my wrist again.

Here are my observations on the device.

The Good

I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised at how comfortable, and how quickly I became used to wearing a watch again.  This is the smaller Sport watch edition, and I think the size and understated band suits my skinny wrist better.

I like the fact that I can customise the watch face, and I love that pairing it up with my iPhone 6 automatically loaded up all the Watch compatible apps on the device immediately.

Things I have especially loved is using Siri on the watch - far easier that the phone, especially when I have been cooking and I can just raise my wrist to my mouth as ask Siri to set timers etc.  Same as when I have been working in the garden, although in that situation, there have been a couple of cases where the reminder settings (to move the sprinklers) didn't take because the actual phone was in a distant room inside the house.  

The need to pair the watch to the phone to do simple tasks is one thing that needs to be revisited I believe.  A little more independence for quick tasks would be handy.

I have also started using the Gyroscope app in the past few months, and I like that the watch will integrate with Apple HealthKit, which then integrated with Gyroscope.  Love that my heartbeat stats and steps taken are recorded and consolidated in one place.

However, there have been a few issues because I think I have interconnected too many apps!  I linked RunKeeper with Gyroscope before I got the watch, and now I think the combination of RunKeeper and HealthKit trying to update my steps concurrently is causing some issues with inaccurate data.  I will have to try and unlink some of the apps to simplify.

The Bad

The biggest issue I have with the watch is the battery life.  I have to charge it up at least once a day, and it takes around 90 minutes to charge up fully on the magnetic charger that Apple provided.  The watch always seems to go flat at inopportune times for me, so I end up doing things where I needed the watch (e.g. exercising) without it.

I also wanted to get the watch to replace my old FitBit and Misfit fitness tracking devices - mainly for sleep tracking.  Both the MisFit and FitBit could automatically track whenever I was asleep and generate stats for my movement and rest periods, but the Apple Watch required an app for that.

I ended up purchasing "Sleep Pulse" and I bitterly regret doing so.  I find it quite useless for tracking sleep as you have to manually activate and deactivate it when going to bed.  The interface is also really clunky and there are LONG delays between tapping on the screen and getting feedback.  It never works properly and I am missing reports and stats almost every second day.

Another thing that I could not believe wasn't a built in feature on the watch, is the ability to select podcasts on the device.  When I am walking in the morning, I always listen to a selection of podcasts, and I would dearly love to be able to select from my list of subscribed casts.  Sure I can start/stop and wind back/forwards once one is playing, but I cannot get a list of my subscriptions on the watch.

I do love the way I can just raise the watch and say "Hey Siri, next podcast" to skip through them, but so far have had no luck trying to specify them by name, e.g. "Hey Siri, play me the podcast by Tim Ferris".


Overall, I am quite happy with the watch, although I still wouldn't actually pay money for one at this stage.  

I remember when I got the iPhone and iPad, I was excited about developing apps for the device and seeing how I could push the boundaries of my coding skills.  The Apple Watch unfortunately hasn't given me that feeling.  I feel no compulsion to try and write any apps for it to see how I can improve my life.

It will be interesting to see how Apple develop this device in the future, or whether they will simply abandon it, but in either case, it has been a fun experiment to try it out, and I will likely keep wearing the one I have until it finally breaks.