Have any of you thought about buying an Apple Watch? Does anybody actually own one? Oh, yeah, me.
Huh? To be clear, I am not one for gadgets, I have no particular interest in tech for tech’s sake. But I am fascinated by human behavior, and wanted to get an early look at the world of the enabled wrist. And, although I don’t mean to chide anyone, I do think it’s important that we women and we midlifers engage in the tech cycle, if only to ensure that the Brave New World isn’t designed just for 28-year old men.
I first realized I liked the watch as I pushed a cart through Whole Foods. I’d invited my family over for dinner, and was doing the grocery shopping. I’d texted both my sister-in-law and sister to find out if their kids would be OK with the menu. The replies came as I passed the tortilla section. And I did not have to stop, block the aisle, and find my phone in my bag – just pressed the Message smile emoji. A lightweight interaction.
Besides, the Watch is very good-looking, as Mom might say.
But let us review and deconstruct. Not literally. Taking apart solid state devices is not my idea of fun.
Style & Design
The Apple Watch is large-faced like the others I own, a Rolex Cellini and a wooden JORD. There’s only one basic look for the watch body, but it comes in different metals, (aluminum, stainless steel, and gold) and different shades (silver, gold, rose gold, black.) The different metals come in slightly different color ranges.
I now wear my white pearl earrings more often. Finally, the watch has survived dishwashing, gardening, and a shower.
But What Can The Apple Watch Do?
Functions With Which You Are Familiar
- Watch. It’s a clock, a stopwatch, a timer, an alarm, a calendar. While I didn’t find the interactions intuitive, i.e. I had to watch a tutorial to figure out the timer, they work. And you can change the watch face with a swipe, from utility (what I use), to photo background, chronograph, etc. I do wish a little more space was allocated to the actual watch face.
- Fitness Tracking. There’s an Activity app that urges you to stand up and move around, but does not count steps or calories. For that Apple gives you the Health app, which you can also see on your iPhone.
Oops. Get going, Lisa! The watch doesn’t categorize my weight workouts as walking or running, which they aren’t of course, but I’m still sorting out how to get it to track my activity and calories correctly.
- Anyone who currently uses a Fitbit or equivalent should examine these apps and interfaces pretty carefully to see if the Watch works for you. Here’s an article with more details. And another one.
Functions Never Before Available On Your Wrist
- You can now receive communication from systems: i.e., about the weather, or reminders from your calendar
- You can communicate with people: via texts, emails, even phone calls. Seriously, you can talk to someone from your wrist. It’s cool and useful when driving, although a little weird.
- You can reply to texts with prepared responses, or emojiis, or transcribed voice-to-texts using Siri. Which actually work pretty well.
- Here are some of the prepared responses I use
- You can’t reply to anything that requires typing
- You can do some other stuff, via other apps, but I haven’t found anything else compelling. Yet.
How Do You Get To All These Capabilities?
- Access from the Home Screen. Um, Home Face? Just press the digital crown. Here’s my home face. Everything from Instagram to my digital meat thermometer. Freedom from grill furnace blasts!
- You can receive “Notifications”
- Your watch might buzz.
- Your watch might “tap” you. Yeah.
- Advanced Course
- You can swipe down to see “Glances” (quick glance at key app information).
- Some apps offer “Complications” (which are essentially indicators that remain on your watch face if you set them up to do so). For example, a teeny line drawing might tell me what time the sun will be setting every day.
Managed Via Your Phone. Yes, You Need Both Devices. Apple Is Not Stupid.
This is the management interface. Haptics are the “tapping.” A little “thunk, thunk,” on your wrist.
Stuff That Bugs Me About The Apple Watch
- The face is locked to black until I turn my wrist. Tough on my shoulder injury.
- The navigation model is very new. You can swipe down, touch the face, touch it hard, swipe sideways, turn the digital crown, press the side button. It’s not intuitive, at least after 4 weeks, exactly when to do what.
- Lifespan and storage of Notifications. A little message will ping you, and then fade away. Not always sure where it goes. Texts work best.
- Sometimes I’m confused between my phone handling something vs. my watch.
- The apps I use most aren’t yet truly watch-advantaged. For example, I want Tweets from a limited set of people, i.e. Privilege readers, close friends, to behave differently than the full stream. That functionality is not yet enabled, but I bet it’s coming given enough requests.
Sturdy Gals Want To Know
- The watch is available in 38mm, which is what I have, and 42mm, which is like a large man’s watch. The body about 0.25 in thick, so, not slimline.
- You can find it at the Apple store, or (did you know this already?) at Target. I find it oddly endearing that Apple has partnered with my favorite source of cast iron cookware. Good design doesn’t have to be elitist.
- Make sure the watch you buy is charged and has been updated to the latest version of the OS. It’s tedious to have to do that yourself.
- Remember you have to charge it again, every night. It comes with a cute little charger that attaches magnetically.
- Enjoying and finding value in the watch is all about personalizing the communications setup. Only you know what you want to have tapping you.
- Remember, this is V2. Stuff’s going to be weird. We say in Silicon Valley that products enter the mainstream at V3.
- The good thing about the Apple Watch is that even in V2, it still makes a nice watch. And a good device for Answering Texts At The Grocery Store.
In sum, if this gadget isn’t the most useful thing you own now, it has promise to become so. The question is only, when. The tech press was mad at Apple Watch OS 1.0, because it was really unready. V2 is finding a better reception. Techcrunch says,
…wearing an Apple Watch helps reduce the number of notifications and interruptions from your iPhone, and helps users remain focused on what is happening in the moment.
My intent is simply to be part of the chorus telling Apple which way to go. Do not forget the woman at the supermarket. Especially the one who always liked the Chanel ceramic classic.
I’m waiting for the watch to remind me to buy Worcestershire sauce. Or to figure out that it already does. If you’ve made the leap too, let’s talk!
In the meantime, lavender and rose gold. So pretty.
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