As intuitive as it is, some things should be a lot easier about using an Apple Watch.

BREAKING NEWS: Apple Watch Bricks on Day 5

Wait, I wasn’t all that interested in the Apple Watch until I had lunch with my friend who worked at Apple. He showed me his and said a few things that pushed me over the edge.

“The notifications are simple. If you use the vibrations you can tell a lot about what’s happening without even looking. And the text responses are really cool. Sometimes they hit it right on and you don’t have to type or open any apps.”

Over all, at this moment 1.5 days in, the Apple Watch is a watch and a very intuitive way to interact with my phone. Responding to texts seems to be it’s current magic app for me.

Okay, so I remember the first time I was around a tablet computer. (Long before iPads.) And I was amazed how my friend Scott could plop this thing down on the conference room table and continue to check his email and do stuff even while it seemed he was engaged with the conversation. It was something about the lowering of the barrier between us (screens up on laptops are very isolating and rude). And the several times he said, “Let’s pull it up on the web,” as he proceeded to show us the information through this little window on to the web. It was a clunky computer, but it was obvious how powerful the new metaphor was, even running Windows 95.

Then the iPhone changed the entire computing landscape again with it’s new swiping gestures, and apps a’plenty, and a new ecosystem that developed around this amazing device. I knew when I first saw the Apple Watch that it might be a game changer. I didn’t really want the big-ol-slab-of-glass strapped to my wrist. But that was before I chatted with my friend.

First the tablet, then the phone, now the watch.

To start, I bought my Apple Watch (38mm version) at the Apple Store in NYC. Amazing. One of the things I didn’t like about the design of the Apple Watch was the size. So when I saw there was a women’s size (I typically wear women’s sports watches) and I was in love.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 6.38.04 AM

There are three options for the actual watch: the Sport (shown here) the Classic (with a stainless steel bezel) and the WTF? with 24k gold.  And with the smaller watch, you are glad they include a larger band. I went black on black with the least expensive Sport version. The whole thing, plus tax, set me back about $380.

For the full experience we took Apple up on the offer to provide a set-up genius to help us get started. And once you get the bluetooth pairing setup (a very cool process) this screen appears after you elect to sync apps between your watch and your phone.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 6.37.52 AM

And with that he told me a few things…

  1. If you cup your hand over the entire watch it will mute an incoming call or any other disturbances from the watch.
  2. You can answer the phone and text messages right from the watch.

I then headed back into the city with my watch as a watch and sort of forgot about it. Until it buzzed with the first text message. My daughter wanted to know if I really got an Apple Watch.

I had answered the first few with the watch. The system tries to give you several options. Like: Yes, No, Can I call you back? But I did a meta-meta move and took a picture (with my iPhone) of her text to me on my watch.


And that was about it, for a while. I did look at my fitness monitor screen quite a bit, to see how long my walks around central park were becoming.


Over all, at this moment 1.5 days in, the watch is a watch and a very intuitive way to interact with my phone. Responding to texts seems to be it’s current magic app for me. There are a few things the I’m not 100% happy with, but that’s to be expected.

The apps on the main screen are too damn small.


And even as I can use the click button to zoom in or out, my big fingers don’t always trigger the correct app from the screen above.

And there are a couple other things to keep in mind.

1. Since the watch uses bluetooth to stay tethered to your phone, you will be leaving BT on on your iPhone. It tends to suck the batter life down a bit quicker. I have taken to turning off wifi when I’m crusing around to cut down on power consumption.

2. The charging disc is magnetic and the first night I had accidentally plugged the charging cable into a plug that was switched. When I turned off the lights for bed the charger was also switched off. The next morning when I discovered this, I had to put the watch in WATCH-Power Reserve mode. My iPhone has been on the same plug and was at 1%. So I went out with the watch untethered for a few hours, giving my phone a chance to catch up.

3. Replying on text gives the option to send the captured response as a text message or as an audio message. I thought about looking for the setting to disable the audio version, until I sent a voice message to my girlfriend and she got all happy about hearing my voice.

4. Asking Siri to search for something on the web doesn’t return the same results as asking your phone. I’m not sure what the difference would be, but misinterprets web search requests from time to time.

Today, day three with the watch, I am fully charged and ready for a day of exploration in New York. I’ll let you know what else I discover in the next 7 days with the Apple Watch.

UPDATE Day 3: There’s no argument that technology intrudes on our time and attention much to frequently. I am actually a bit phone/tether adverse. Go figure, that I would get an Apple Watch. And that’s a feature that I am noticing today. A work week day, I am traveling home from NYC. And there have been quite a few interruptions. But 90% of them I have been able to take care of with very little effort. IGNORE. DELAY. RESPOND. And many of the responses are as easy as clicking one of Apple’s canned responses.


John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2015/06/apple-watch-review/

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