Apple Watch

Everyone thinks they want one, doesn't want to pay for one, and doesn't really know what it does. Let me put a rest to your wondering. Here is my knowledge gained and experience using the Apple Watch.  

First, let me dispel rumors. It is not a tricorder, cannot do much without your phone, and the only useful independent wireless service it has is Bluetooth. It does have Wifi, but that is dependent on your phone already being signed into the Wifi network. You cannot independently sign your watch into a network. If you are expecting your Apple Watch to change your life, set your bar low. If you do that, then all will be well. I did, and it is now an indispensable part of my daily kit. 

Now that you don't want one, let me tell you why you might want to purchase one. These days notifications are a pain. We all get too many, twitch at the slightest sound in public places, and are bombarded by unimportant notifications. If you look at the Apple Watch as an elegant filter for those, a watch, and a platform to display only the most important information in your world ... you will love your new watch. That is exactly what it is, a really useful watch. It is not a phone, a space ship, or a servant, it is more of a tech butler.  

I now leave my phone on silent most of the time now. Only texts, two email accounts, weather updates, and phone calls show up on my wrist. Those alerts I do get, arrive silently. Ahhh, peaceful silence. I am even starting to twitch less in public, because unless my wrist vibrates, I don't pay attention to any beeps, bloops, or robots elsewhere. I rarely look at my iPhone now unless there is a specific app I need, book to read, or lengthy text input that needs to be done. The Apple Watch elegantly assists with everything else. 

First off, it is a well engineered device. It feels great to use, is comfortable, and the battery (even with a daily workout), has more than enough energy to last, regardless of your schedule. Secondly, you can set the watch face up to display the info that you would normally be obsessively checking your phone for anyway. Thirdly, the speakerphone is actually quite great on the watch. I leave my phone plugged in somewhere in my house, and with the excellent Bluetooth range, am able to take calls anywhere in the house.  

Here are the things I use it for every day: 

  • Timers and alarm clock
  • Speaker phone
  • Weather
  • Fitness tracking
  • Responding to texts and emails
  • Remote for Apple TV and iTunes
  • Calendar notifications  
  • Transit directions
  • Siri voice search

Before, I would have to pull my phone out all the time, open apps, or use my computer to do these things. For the most part now, I just use the watch. It is easier, quicker, and helps you avoid being distracted by all the flashy eye candy on your phone. If you're wanting to just accomplish a simple task and stay focused, it is perfect.

Now, running apps natively on the watch is clunky. Aside from basic tasks, which it accomplishes with elegance, the third party apps feel laggy and useless at times. As usual, you can't delete or hide Apple's Stocks app. At this point, I think that App is a sick running joke among their programmers, and they get joy out of everyone wanting so badly to delete it, yet not giving us the choice.

Here are my favorite native apps on the watch:

  • Clock
  • Wallet
  • Alarm
  • Timer
  • Messages
  • Phone
  • Maps
  • Workout
  • Activity
  • Remote

Here are my favorite third party apps, that actually have useful Apple Watch extensions: 

  • Dark Sky
  • Kayak
  • News Republic
  • Thyme
  • Yelp

I am sure the next year or so will see the development of some other amazing extensions on the watch. This is just the beginning. Before deciding on your purchase, think through and research the apps above. If you want less clutter in your life and use these apps, then the Apple Watch might be a good purchase for you. 

One final note, if you are not an early adopter of tech, you might want to wait till version 2 comes out. If you are ok with exploring a new piece of technology that is not seamless, but can help out in the above mentioned areas of your life, go for it! As usual, if you get one and have questions, want your watch set up so that it works right, or need lessons so that you can actually use and not regret your purchase, get in touch. NelsonWerks is always here to help! 

- Hans