I had convinced myself the Apple Watch was an overpriced fitness band and that it wasn’t for me and was set to get a Garmin to track my running instead. Then out of the blue I was given an Apple Watch. So you can certainly put me down as a cynic, but I certainly like to think I am open minded, so here are my thoughts after a week with the watch.
The experience of getting it set up was surprisingly frustrating, I had to upgrade my phone to iOS 8 before I could activate the watch and that meant deleting things to free a few Gb of memory (to upgrade my Operating System, really?). So everything had to wait until after I got home and backed up my phone.
First I got this rather cool visual on my watch to scan with the phone and then it was paired and I got this screen telling me the model that I had bought. OK so I still could not get the time from this watch and I have had the thing all day, I’m getting a little impatient at this point.
After waiting about 5 minutes for it to synch, suddenly a load of my apps, including my email, texts, calendar, twitter fitness apps and more are available on my watch. This is about to get interesting.
The first thing I noticed is that it is actually really easy to ready and see at a glance the notifications that are sent to your watch, such as Calendar reminders, text messages and Oracle Social Network updates (glad to see we are quick to the new platform with our own mobile apps). This is good for me, I get a lot of these alerts and I found a glance at my wrist was much nicer than pulling out my phone and unlocking it and starting at it. This sounds like a very small thing, but it is these small improvements in frequent interactions that make for a great user experience. I also agree with Jeremy Ashley about the huge value in being able to retain eye contact, notifications on my watch are far less obtrusive and the glance at my wrist it is a great experience.
So I wanted to try using it for some different things so I decided to test out text messages first, a quick SMS to respond to my wife’s text ‘ETA?’ to let her know what time I am planning to get home.
So I tap once on that nice Reply button
I can now either pick from a set of pre-defined responses and they would be sent without any other interaction from me. However I like the personal touch, this is my wife after all, so I decide I will click on the microphone icon to dictate a response. I speak in my answer and see the sound wave at the bottom and the text comes up perfectly first time.
So now I click done and get a really option to either send the audio or to just tap on the text and send that. This is a great feature if maybe the voice to text didn’t work properly and I don’t want to waste time correcting it or speaking it again.
After tapping on the text I am now done. The whole interaction was very fast and felt very natural. At this point I am really starting to like the Apple Watch. In the next few days I try driving directions, twitter, my calendar, a variety of fitness apps and more and pretty much across the board I find the interactions are natural and quick and the fact I have to pull out my phone less is a much bigger deal than I expected. I find I can glance down at my watch see a text or meeting reminder and carry on a conversation in a way that was not really possible if I had to pull my phone out. The one app I haven’t yet mentioned is the time, I haven’t worn a watch for over 10 years and I have realized in the last week it’s much easier to glance at my wrist than to pull out my phone – who knew?