So, this happened. My Apple Watch arrived. Not the sport, so it has the stainless and the sapphire glass. That’s the black leather loop band, the only one that fits my wrist, which measures out at 220mm. For those of you with huge wrists, this is a solid option, and in practice, I have easily another inch of slack on the band, so if you’ve held off thinking about a watch because the sizing guide says it won’t fit, get down to an Apple Store and try out this band.
I find the band quite comfy. There’s a bit of sweatiness to it (being leather) but nothing that bothers me, but that never bothered me with real watches, either, which I wore consistently until the day of the iPhone — I still have a Festina in my drawer but it long since went into hibernation.
As with most tech things, I tried to set it up and make it run without reading any instructions; where I got stuck was customizing the watch face which turned out to be a bit fiddly to figure out. I then watched all of the introduction videos that came with the phone app, which I thought did a fine job of getting things going. I didn’t feel anything was over-explained or missing.
So now, I’m using it and figuring out how it will work into my life. I’m finding two big attractions. One is that I no longer have to pull out and look at the phone on a notification, I can glance and dismiss quickly. Having notifications on my wrist rock, and that’s helped by my having spent some time editing what notifications I get on the phone to a subset of things I want/need to know right away (if you haven’t done this, you should; if you get a watch, you HAVE to or the notifications will become noise and annoying quickly).
The other thing is the activity monitor. Jim Dalrymple of the Loop has a wonderful piece that explains exactly what I want to try with the watch for myself. After one day — I think it has potential for me (I’m not always who buys into gamification things the way the designers build them, just ask any store with an affinity card) but time will tell. It feels like this is a tool that’s compatible with both my goals and my tendencies and that it’ll encourage them and not be ignored. The test will mostly have to wait until after my next cortisone shots, though, because the knees are now in “rusty hinge gate” mode.
I’ve left it fairly generic while I figure out what I like and what I want changed. Even if the “only” thing I use it for is to act as an outpost for things I’d otherwise have to pick up and activate the phone to deal with (like iTunes, Overcast and notifications) it seems like a really nice win for me.
It’s beautiful, it’s comfortable and the functionality to me (mostly) makes sense. It feels like that kind of thing that is quietly revolutionary instead of shouty and loud revolutionary, and that’s going to make some of the pundits crazy, which is never a bad thing in my mind. it has the feel to me of something like the iPad, where the “buy the next generation” refresh cycle is relatively slow (unlike the iPhone) because you’re rarely stretching it’s capabilities or pushing the limits. All of the pundits who want huge volume and high churn devices (or they suck) will surely be disappointed, but I expect Apple will sell a lot of them. I’ll be curious what percentage of iPhone users will buy and use one, and how long they’ll go before refreshes.
Honestly, folks, it’s OKAY to have devices you keep for two or three generations before replacing. And Apple seems comfortable with that, even if some of its analysts ding them for it.
It’s not going to be iPhone noisy, but it clearly has a well-thought out set of uses as a life amplifier, but I don’t think it’s a life changer — except perhaps in the activity tracking and nudging piece.