Perhaps I am a rather hard-headed geek, but I have now been wearing the Apple Watch for 6 months straight in lieu of my upscale ‘chic’ watch. There are naysayers aplenty. Sure, there are some quirks and nuisances. However, especially after the latest iOS update, I very much take my position in the camp of the iWatch fans. And, as with much of these new technologies, it's all about the usages or use cases! Click To Tweet
Watching the use cases
Here are 8 reasons (usages) for why I’m a fan of the Apple Watch:
- Gentle wake-up. The ability to set my alarm so that it quietly vibrates on my wrist ensures that I don’t need to wake up my wife in the early morning hours.
- Calls at home. When hanging out at home, I rarely walk around with my phone. When it rings, and I’m somewhere else in the flat, there is that inevitable rush to find it in time. However, with the watch always on the wrist, the answer becomes a breeze. It has come in handy (literally) several times when I was in the WC or in the shower (yes, the sports version is water resistant enough)… N.B. When speaking to your Apple Watch, you don’t actually need to turn the wrist to your mouth, as one imagines thanks to Star Trek.
- Calls in a noisy place. Far be it from warranting answering the phone when you are out IRL with friends; but, when in a noisy place (disco, bar, loud restaurant, in the street, etc.), it’s very unlikely you will hear your phone ring and, even less, if it’s in vibrate mode (which is what it should be in, normally!). There have been numerous times that I have caught an important call because of the haptic vibrations on my wrist. It’s worth reiterating that you still don’t have to answer the phone once you have felt the call. N.B. Speaking to the Watch in a noisy place is not effective.
- Pinging your iPhone. Ever spent a few harried minutes looking for your phone? Of course, if you are appropriately well mannered, your phone will be on vibrate by default. This typically means that you can’t just call and find your phone. The ping from your Watch is a single sonar sound that has come to the rescue on several instances, including stuffed in the bottom of the shopping caddy or my sports bag. You find the pinger (see right) by swiping up on the dial face.
- Traveling accessory. On the one hand (and, now, there’s a timely expression), the Watch allows you to dazzle airport or Eurostar staff (or anywhere that uses the Apple Passbook) with the flick of a wrist. Yes, this is just entertainment value. On the other hand, I’ve been on a plane on a number of occasions and have forgotten to turn my phone to Airplane Mode. With the phone in my bag or jacket in the bin above me, that becomes a bit more of an effort. The ability to use my Watch to turn on Airplane Mode is, to say the least, pleasing. On the downside, the Apple Watch will be zapped going through the metal detector because it’s a mini computer.
- Personalization. If digital is the promise of complete personalization, for the most part, we are still a long way from feeling individually recognized. The Apple Watch, in its first iteration, came with nine different interfaces that you could customize to a great extent. Now, in the V2, you can add your own photos (and you choose to select one or rotate through your collection). I think that rocks.
- Healthy living. The activity app is a useful reminder to get up and out. One of my favorite applications, is the Stand Reminder, since it really does help to get me out of my chair, even in those longer corporate meetings! One small story and a tip for others with the same issue: for a few weeks, I was grumbling about how the Stand Reminder was no longer working for me. Despite checking out the forums and Googling “Stand Reminder no longer working”, I found out that the solution was much more simple (thank you Jonathon at Apple Store, Opera!). Turns out, after the Watch OS upgrade, you need to open it and flick right five times to reset it. Get Up, Stand Up. I look forward to many more health related apps in the next versions.
- In a quick moment of downtime. Sometimes, you’ve got a few moments to wait, but reaching in to the depths of a bag to take out your phone isn’t worth it for such a short period of time. For example, you’re in a jammed subway/metro/tube and the phone is in your jacket or a bag between your legs. It is too much of a bother to go for it. Glancing at the watch will provide a few, easy-to-check notifications or emails (and you can, now, even reply to emails with some pre-populated answers)…
New & better watch every upgrade
With the new version (Watch OS 2.0), there were a few reasonably subtle updates. For instance, if you leave the phone on the charger (e.g. by your bed) and turn the phone on its side, the clock face will stay lit (like a normal alarm clock). It is a distinctly funny feeling to know that you can get a new and better watch with every upgrade. The more interesting ‘upgrades’ will of course happen when the 3rd party applications master the art of this smallest of screens.
The daily battery life
I must say that the battery recharge “issue” has not been a bother for me. I tend to charge up my phone while working at my desk as opposed to overnight. Only once in 6 months have I run out of juice. With a little of hour of recharging every day, my Watch seems to get back up to 100%. Not a major complaint.
And a few improvements needed
Meanwhile, to keep it honest, here are the things I don’t like and/or would like Apple to improve on:
- Wearing the watch at night (i.e. if I am going to use the silent alarm), the watch has a tendency to flash its screen light on when I roll over. I’m sure there could be a better setting that alters the way it works in bed.
- Some of the Watch apps are hideously primitive and there will always be buggy apps. For example, my Sunrise (calendar) app no longer works….
What are some of your favorite use cases? Agree or disagree with mine above?