Two Weeks With the Apple Watch

2015/5/12

I was planning on writing a really comprehensive review at the end of the first week but I felt I needed more time to live in the world of wearable computing. Now, just over two weeks since I've received the Watch, there have been so many reviews writing that it's not really worth it for me to take the time to write about all the same things. Here are a few comprehensive reviews:

Instead I'm just going to cover the things that I found interesting or frustrating.

There's been a lot of talk about how water-resistant the watch is or isn't. I didn't do any depth tests but I have given six siberian husky baths since I've been wearing the Watch. Gallons of water, soap and conditioner later and the watch is no worse for the wear. I suppose that's the appropriate way to evaluate water resistance on a blog named Canine & Keyboard.

Battery life was been exceptional in the time I've been wearing the watch. It is after 9 pm and I've been wearing the watch since 6 am this morning. My battery is only at 52%. Only once has the Watch gone into power reserve mode. I leave the watch on the charger while I'm sleeping at night but I think this definitely lives up to Apple's promise of All-day battery life.

Force Touch is a really cool idea. It works well and combined with the little bump of feedback from the Watch, it feels good too. Unfortunately you have to remember to do it everywhere since a whole menu of options could be hiding right under your fingertip. I've been evaluating all the running and cycling apps while working on the Mushometer Watch app and this is one problem I've had. How do you communicate to your users that there is a hidden menu on a particular screen? I guess you just have to take it for granted that all Watch users will learn about this feature and try force touch on every screen in your app. I think I'm going to get a lot of support email about that.

My favourite thing about the Watch is the activity and fitness tracking. I held off on buying any other kind of fitness tracker when rumours of the Apple Watch started to percolate, so aside from the step counting that the iPhone 5 does, this is all new to me. I appreciate the watch reminding me to get up and take a short walk. Seeing me how much I'm moving (or not moving) throughout the day is keeping me motivated to get more exercise. It's like a game to make sure that all three activity rings are filled each day. The award medals are neat and another reason to keep meeting those goals. The tri-ring graph is a bit of design genius that clearly communicates progress throughout the day on Movement, Exercise and Standing activity and I love the design of the companion iPhone Activity App too.

I haven't really used any third party apps except for Overcast. It's novel and interesting to look at some tweets or see if I have new emails without taking my phone out of my pocket. Message notifications are nice. Nothing else is all that useful at the moment. It will take some time to see truly innovative and unique apps on the Watch.

I'm glad I got the green sport band. It's really gaudy but the green colour makes me happy. I will probably pick up a link bracelet at some point. I'd even go for a velcro strap if someone ever makes one.

The Camera remote app is really neat. I was able to use it to take some photos of Feenix and Flare gaiting and standing. I can see that being really fun and useful feature.

The Watch is really a two-handed device. I've developed a new way to carry my coffee when I want to poke at the Watch. This is probably the biggest negative that I can think of that shouldn't have been a surprise. It's one of the reasons I didn't really dive into any serious work on the Mushometer Watch App before I had used a Watch. I'm just now getting to the point where I think I understand enough what is really possible on the watch right now.

In the end I'm very happy I pre-ordered. For a first-generation tech product, the Watch very polished. The hardware is nice, the built-in software is well executed and useful, and third-party apps can only get better. I don't think anyone needs to own an Apple Watch right now, but if you want one, go for it!




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