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Taking a call on my Apple Watch while changing a nappy


No doubt that some people will be tutting when they read this title. Perhaps even converted Apple Watch fans might think I had gone too far and neglected my fatherly duties, bowing to the pressure of a 24/7, always reachable society. For these people, I have only one defence:  I thought the call was urgent. Yet for rest of us, especially parents who are really past caring what the naysayers think, this incident demonstrates the ways in which the Apple Watch has made the implausible, plausible. "Nappygate", however ridiculous, points to the convenience of taking a call wherever you are and whatever you are doing when your phone is not immediately to hand. Admittedly, I could have simply covered the watch with my palm to mute it, but this again highlights a utility that was hitherto unavailable pre-Watch. 

So, perhaps with this incident fresh in the mind, it is a good time to conduct a near-six month review of the Apple Watch. Is it living up to its promise? When we bought these things we had no way of knowing how they would really work, let alone how they would change, or not change, our lives. There are some days where I barely acknowledge the device's existence - an occasional glance at the time is all I use it for. There are others where I find it invaluable. Today, I set a timer for chips that were in the oven. I went up to London without having to take out my wallet, using Apple Pay on the tube and to buy a coffee. All the while, the Watch serves as a notifications triage, allowing me to decide what is really important.

The common criticism of Watch users has been the slow load up time for third party apps. I am not entirely sure that WatchOS 2 has made a lot of difference since its release a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps developers are yet to take advantage of this new operating system. Then again, I am not really sure the Watch needs apps at all, or if we do then maybe there should be a better way to access them. I would like to see Apple adopt a click wheel approach similar to the iPod, with the Digital Crown at the forefront. Apple has already shown the potential of the crown with the ability speed through time when it is turned, allowing you to check what the weather will be like in an hour, or what is coming up on your schedule tomorrow. It could go much further, though, and give the user quick options to their favourite apps in the same way the function button gives easy access to our best friends. 

The fitness tracking element remains useful, but is now more informative rather than motivational since I am too used to seeing those circles (one for steps; one for exercise and one for standing) every day. In my world, familiarity breeds complacency and I suspect I am not alone. I would like to see Apple offer custom methods of displaying fitness information. The three circles can perhaps be set to weekly or monthly goals, rather than just daily ones, or we could have different icons and shapes that reflect what we are doing and how we are doing it. When it comes to fitness, I would like some different options to account for my Achilles heel: boredom. 

Ultimately, the test for the Apple Watch is whether it can be taken off but not forgotten. I neglected to charge it a couple of weeks back when I stayed at my mum's house. I felt like there was definitely something missing. Where were my steps, my notifications, my wallet killer? No one needs an Apple Watch, but once you have one you'll find that you do. With all its little conveniences, it has become far more than the sum of its parts. 



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