Friday, May 8, 2015
Apple Watch - Early Days
I got my Apple Watch on Tuesday evening. It was back ordered but delivered about a week before Apple's original projection.
Having lived with it for a few days now, I'd have to agree that it's not something everyone needs. It's tied to the iPhone so it's definitely not for the Android faithful or for those people who still insist that they just want a cell phone.
It's the first iteration of a first gen product. I expect it will look and act quite a bit differently in the future. For now, it seems a bit busy and over complicated. Does anyone really want to replicate everything they can do on their smart phone on a tiny square on their wrist? Probably not. It may be up to the users to pare it down to just what we need and what it does well.
It's a very nice, if pricey, fitness app. Not only does it keep track of steps, it also monitors your heart rate, reminds you to get up and move around once an hour (great for those of us who are desk/computer bound for most of the day), keeps track of exercise events, and integrates with the iOS health kit. I'm not sure what that means for now but I expect this will be even more of a focus in the future.
The collection of health data is likely to give many of us pause. And it is one of those times when you may want to consider which large faceless corporation you're willing to entrust with this, if any. Apple is promising to keep user data anonymous and secure. They remind us that they don't make any money off selling personal information and data. They make it off the hardware and software. And they're rolling in it, so it seems to be working for them. I probably feel more comfortable using their apps than I would Google's or perhaps even companies about which I know very little, e.g., Fitbit. I'd like to see more attention paid to data collection and privacy in this area.
It enables you to get text, email and phone notifications on your wrist without having to find and pull out your phone. You can see whether or not it's something you need to deal with right away. You can make a call from your watch. I just tried it in a restaurant last night with a friend across the table so I'm not sure how well it really works. But Dick Tracy eat your heart out. I really like the text notifications, however. A friend has been texting me this morning. I can look and see what it's about. The reply options from my wrist are somewhat limited which is no doubt good if you're going to be mucking around with this while driving or walking in a crowd or anywhere you should be paying attention to your surroundings. You can choose a stock reply message from a few options, send a creepy animated 3D emoji or use voice. You might need to be near the phone to use voice. It seemed to lag for me.
You also get glimpses from apps you set up. I get NYTNow for news updates and emails from Gmail. It's all pretty brief. You're not going to want to read much on such a tiny screen but you can see what might be important and require closer attention. Most of it can be quickly and easily deleted or dismissed.
I have yet to use it with Apple Pay but I did buy my coffee with my watch and Starbucks card via Passbook the other day. That was pretty cool.
Those are pretty much the useful features I've discovered thus far. As far as design goes, it's Apple, they know how to make pretty products. The navigation, however, is far from intuitive. Interesting how they could go from the simple one button design of the iPhone and iPad to a a dial, side button, touch and haptic (pressure sensitive clicking) combination of navigation tools. It's unclear whether you swipe up, down, across or press once or twice to get to where you want to be. Yes, technology has made all of our lives so much simpler that we now spend countless minutes clicking and swiping to find the weather. We used to just stick our heads out the door. :)
Siri is also on the watch. We'll see if he proves more useful there than he has on my iPhone. But I imagine voice activation would make some of the navigation issues less annoying. I'll have to play around with that. I'll also be eager to try it with maps for navigation. Let's see if it helps me get around San Francisco in June without having to pull my phone out all the time to see if I should be going left or right at which corner.
My overall review - fun and interesting if you are an Apple person and have at least $349 you don't need. For the rest of the world, don't worry, you can wait. It's far from life changing.