The Current State of the Apple Watch

I always hated wearing a watch, it seemed nigh on pointless to have the bulk of a watch on your wrist just so you could tell people the exact time. That need became even more redundant with the introduction of cellphones. Now however, the watch has been brought back into potential relevance with smart watches. The public is still out on whether there is a need for a smart watch, and the Apple Watch while they’ve managed to sell a reported 5 million doesn’t seem to be getting the same positive reception that its older siblings received in their day.img_5945However, I’ve had a Series 1 42mm Apple Watch for about three months now and it’s the only watch I’ve managed to wear regularly and not hate. I’d put that down to the fact that it does a lot more than just tell the time, although it does do a great job of just being a watch as well, the added weight feels justified. Amusingly, on more than one occasion in the first few weeks, I did still take my phone out to check the time. Classic conditioning.

What I like most about the Apple Watch is how much less I’m on my phone. Pre Apple Watch, I would often check my phone for notifications which would prompt me to unlock and absentmindedly go through my usual apps, gaining nothing but wasted time. Whereas now, because I get a tap on my wrist for notifications, my phone spends a lot more time just in my pocket. I can quickly respond to the notification on my wrist and then continue with whatever was happening.img_5916 The stock apps for the Apple Watch are great, Reminders is excellent for using as a grocery list when shopping, I can easily tick off and see other items without having to hold a piece of paper or phone in one hand. The Messages app works well and it’s actually a lot easier to reply on such a small screen than you might think, thanks to scribble. Weather is useful as well, nothing impresses your friends more than being able to give them an exact temperature figure. img_5954The activity rings have also got me caring about my fitness, making sure that I close them before the day is out and setting new goals each week. I’m a sucker for a good set of stats, so being able to see all the details about my heart rate and exercise is quite a thrill. img_5950Third party apps are the watch’s biggest contra, to be brief… they suck. Most of them are very slow and no developer outside of Apple seems to have cracked the best way to convey information in such a small form factor. Here is perhaps the worst example: Mobile banking apps require you to open the app on your phone and log in on there before it will display your account balance on your watch for the next 5 minutes until you need to log in again… they’re clearly missing the point of the watch here. I don’t think there is too much to worry about though, if you think back to the original iPhone (which didn’t even offer third party apps originally) the height of app innovation was being able to chug a beer off your screen, it took a long time before apps like Facebook became as polished as they are now. It’s only a matter of time before Apple Watch apps follow suit.

There’s still a long way to go before the smart watch is a must, like a smart phone currently is. It’s important to remember though that this is an early generation product. I think we’ve forgotten what to expect from early devices because smartphones are at their peak now. Luckily with the immense improvements Apple brings to every software update and with Android Wear ripping off most of those features I think we’ll get there fast enough.

So, should you get a smart watch? Maybe… it depends, if you use your iPhone an awful lot, then you’d probably benefit from the Apple Watch just like I feel I have. If you don’t use your phone that much or only moderately then you probably won’t gain a whole lot from porting the notifications to your wrist so I think you would be better off abstaining for the time being. If you love everything Apple and can’t help yourself then heck yeah, jump on board!

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