Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, style, and food. Hope you have a nice stay!

A week with an Apple Watch

The Apple Watch tells the time very well. That might be the understatement of the year, but given that many people have ditched wearing something on their wrist altogether, it is somewhat of a novelty to once more tell the time with a simple glance, rather than with a fumble in the pocket for that thing that replaced it in the first place - our phones. The whole experience of the Apple Watch’s arrival on my wrist was elegant, from the inviting box it comes in to the way it pairs with your iPhone (a simple scan from the iPhone’s camera). The charging mechanism - a simple magnet that you throw your phone down onto and that sits on your bedside table - is no bother at all. What else would you do with a watch at the end if the day? The use of the digital crown to scroll up is so natural and obvious you wonder why no other smart watch maker thought of it. Or perhaps they did but found it impossible to craft.

A week in and I am still enjoying the way the watch switches on as soon as you raise your wrist. It has a playful element too - I love the way you can simply change your watch face to suit your mood, and how if you want to you can change bands to suit the occasion or the activity, transforming the watch from an activity tracker to a piece of jewellery.

So far so good. There are annoyances though. Apps on the watch take too long to load and it seems that, so far at least, it is hard to store anything apart from photos and music on the device. Podcasts can only be streamed. That will change with an update, I am guessing. Essentially, if you use the watch like an iPhone it will disappoint. Use your iPhone to read long articles and to write emails, and to do basically anything that takes longer than 30 seconds. Anything less than that then the watch is perfect and indeed preferable. The watch is perhaps not something to play around with and waste time with. It isn’t a kick back device like an iPad. In many ways, you don’t go to it - it comes to you. The notifications that you receive - perhaps a text message or a news update - can be glanced quickly and conveniently, and awareness of them is made through a simple little tap from the watch itself. Yes, a tap. The watch is, in essence, a triage for your working day. It allows you to quickly decide what is important and what needs your attention.

I have been particularly impressed with the fitness app. The focus on movement and standing up, with a gentle push towards a little exercise (but not too much) each day, seems important and for most people, within reach. I have walked far more, and more quickly, to reach the goals that are adjusted upwards or downwards depending on how the watch senses you are faring. If I want to check my heartbeat, I simply swipe down on the watch face. I find the ability to do this frankly amazing. It is a consequence of our tech-soaked existence that such a thing isn’t surprising to many people.

A number of apps developers haven’t really understood or comprehended what to make for the watch yet - this of course will change as people use it, and then find uses for it. Yet some have understood the simplicity of what is required. Shazam seems to have found its perfect medium on this device, so too my travel apps that tell me the next train or bus. I am sure the turn by turn navigation will assist people in finding their way on foot. Text messaging is acceptable on the watch if you are writing something short. Siri works quite well and calling someone is rather fun, so long as you have bluetooth headphones. Checking calendars is more convenient than on the phone.

The best technology allows us to focus on things that matter, rather than distract us by making us fiddle to make it work. The Apple Watch is trying to get us to this place, although its interface doesn’t allow for it, not yet. It is a little too busy, a little too iPhone. Nevertheless, I do find that I use my other technology (certainly my iPhone) a little less, ironically due to a watch that is packed full of it. This can only be a good thing.

My prediction

Again and again and again and again