Many enjoy debate. Everyone has an opinion. Arguing in favor of your favorite technology is fun. But I’m not here to write another tribute to or criticism of Apple’s new Watch. Instead, I’m here to share my experiences using the new 42mm Watch with White Sport Band in my daily professional life. I’ll leave you to develop your own conclusions as to the Watch’s value.
From the unboxing, I found the process of setting up and pairing the Watch to my iPhone 6 fairly simple. The Watch walks you through the process. The only counterintuitive step is the fact that you begin by opening the Watch app on the iPhone. Normally, I would expect to perform the pairing tasks from the new device itself, such as occurs when deploying a new iPad or MacBook.
Not having previously read much regarding how to actually use the new Watch, I found myself fumbling through its operation the first day. After my Watch shipped from the UK, Apple sent me a few email messages that included links to short how-to videos. I kept those email messages only because I thought I might wish to reference them later. It turns out that I needed the quick instructions about how to select and customize Faces, enable the exercise app, access Glances, and navigate different apps. Following just a few minutes of training, however, I now find myself using the Watch like a seasoned professional.
Because there’s been so much press, and because the devices are just hitting the street, people are actively stopping me and interrupting me to ask, “Is that an Apple Watch?” Make no mistake, the Apple Watch is the accessory of the year, whether you wish for that to be or not. If you wear one, be prepared to talk about it, at least right now when they’re so new.
Following one month’s operation, the Watch is significantly reducing the dependency I possess on my iPhone. I typically pack my iPhone either in my backpack or in my pocket. Digging it out overtime you get a notification is cumbersome. No big deal, but perform the action a few dozen times a week and it becomes, on some level, an ergonomic consideration. The same is true when attending meetings with the phone stuck deep in my pocket buried beneath the conference table or desk at which I sit. Other than to accept a phone call, I’m finding that I really don’t need to access the phone any longer.
Sitting at a table, with the iPhone buried in a pocket or backpack, I can decline calls with a single tap on my wrist. Simply covering the watch face silences an inadvertent inbound call (I am not the type to frequently silence my phone, as I then forget to re-enable the ringer, which angers family members and clients subsequently trying to reach me later).
We’ve all been in important meetings, too, when the phone starts buzzing or vibrating repeatedly with Messages and texts. Is a neighbor trying to alert me that my house is burning down? Is a client’s server dead in the water? With a single glance, you can confirm a message’s nature and priority and determine whether a crisis is at hand or a response can wait. Certainly, I believe this is the Watch’s most valuable feature, one I found helpful on my Pebble Time, too.
Unlike the Pebble Time, however, Apple’s Watch includes interpretation technology that reviews the messages you receive and displays potential relevant responses. Thus, I find myself repeatedly throughout the day acknowledging messages and returning responses that provide instruction, confirmation, and denials with only a tap on my wrist. Sometimes I like to even respond with favourite emotes to family and friends just to make myself giggle.
One evening, I was walking through Woolworths doing shopping when I received a request seeking to confirm the dates for an important weekend project. Because my phone was buried in a pocket, and I was holding the shopping basket with one hand, I tapped the Siri icon, spoke the reply, and tapped the screen to confirm and send the text message, thereby providing an immediate answer and eliminating any scheduling confusion with ease, without having to retrieve my phone, pin the basket between my legs and free my other hand to hold and type a response on my smartphone. The Watch simply makes most texting and messaging easier.
Like many professionals, I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. Because I’m in an open office environment, noise-canceling headphones are common. Frequently, I’ll find two or three hours go by while I’m working on a project. The Watch provides timely reminders to stand up, walk around, and re-energize myself. While you wouldn’t think such reminders are necessary, I’m finding them enlightening. The process of being observed, the Hawthorne effect, is also resulting in my paying more attention to health and trying to perform more work (taking and placing calls, reviewing code, etc.) while standing, moving around, and taking short breaks, which I believe are making me more productive, actually, because I don’t feel as physically sluggish as in the past.
Does the Apple Watch have enough convenience for you to make the purchase? If not now, what would seal the deal?