WHY I BOUGHT THE APPLE
This is the first version of the Apple Watch that tempted
me. Previous models simply fell short of my expectations for
the device. However, the addition of an independent cellular
data and GPS connection, along with the increase in processor speed, made the purchase easily justifiable in my mind.
Suddenly it felt like an opportunity to be liberated from the
constraints of my bulky iPhone for certain activities, and that
benefit was enough for me to go for it.
A few months in and so far I’ve been really happy with it.
I’ve used my Apple Watch untethered mainly during physical
activities like cycling, coaching, playing soccer, or just about
any time I don’t want an unwieldy phone bouncing around in
my pocket. As a husband and father of three boys, I regularly
find that something or someone needs to be picked up on my
way home. Going without my phone no longer means I am
unreachable. That’s a big deal. I also find that I’m much more
likely to look at notifications on my watch than on my phone.
The vibration of the haptic feedback has a sort of melody to
it, resulting in an unexpectedly functional device. I’m quite
impressed with how Apple was able to generate a haptic language that I intuitively understand. When you receive a phone
call or turn-by-turn feedback, you intuitively understand that
the notification is more important than one from Clash Royale
signaling that a chest is ready to unlock.
I find the versatility of the built-in apps to be a little under-whelming, and in general I’d like more control over different
parts of how I interact with Apple Watch features. I was anticipating being able to work with the watch to create a custom
fitness plan, but it’s a bit more generic then I imagined. And
while I found the haptic feedback to be an incredibly effective
tool, I immediately wanted to see Apple push it further. With
effective haptic feedback, you don’t have to look at your watch
and yet you know a certain action is happening. To me, this
screams out as a next-level form of communication. Wouldn’t
it be nice to be able to customize the intensity and pattern of
haptic feedback for each type of notification the same way
you pick a ringtone?
The speed of launching and moving between apps has
been better than I expected and doesn’t feel slow at all.
However, when I lift my wrist, it takes just a little bit too long
to show me the time. I’d like that to be more sensitive, so it
lights up faster.
I typically get two days out of one charge. Even with moderate use, it hasn’t run out of battery in less than a day and a
half. For me this is more than enough.
Hands-free Siri works great, if a bit slow, but I just don’t find
myself using it much. Perhaps I’ll discover more benefits later.
The call quality is quite a bit better than I expected. The
audio is loud enough, I can hear what people are saying, and
I don’t have to keep the watch next to my face. People on
the other end don’t complain or ask me if I’m talking on my
watch. It offers an all around smooth experience unless you’re
in a very noisy crowd.
I’ve been impressed with my watch’s ability to read and
track my activity. In addition to logging my time walking and
standing, it uses the heart rate monitor to accurately detect
when I’m doing more strenuous exercise. Tracking my ring
patterns over time has been very helpful in identifying recurring deficits in my activity routine. But once you try to go past
the automatic data collection into customization of workouts,
I’ve found it lacking. I was hoping to have more exercise types
to choose from in Workouts, and to be able to customize the
options. For example, if I’m playing soccer outside, I want to
be able to specify that and to also set whether it’s a high- or
low-intensity session. If it’s not giving me an accurate read,
I’m less hooked into it emotionally.
The Apple Music app gives you access to songs you’ve added to your iCloud Music Library on your iPhone, but doesn’t
give you unlimited access to 40 million songs like you might
expect unless you use Siri. To be fair this is still very cool, but
falls short when it comes to music discovery or building an
on-the-go playlist. To help fill the gap, Apple added a Radio
app, which lets you choose from stations by genre. You can’t
play music using the watch’s speaker, but it’s easy to connect
to outside audio sources via Bluetoooth.
Noah Siemsen is the Chief Operating Officer for i Phone Life magazine and has been an
Apple enthusiast since his father purchased the original Macintosh. Throughout his
career, Noah has worked extensively in product development, product design, graphic
design, information systems, marketing, and as an executive officer. He also loves
working with iPhone Life to help people get the most out of their Apple products.