I had ordered my Apple Watch at 3:04 am on launch day and had been told it would arrive mid-May. Imagine my surprise when it showed up this past Tuesday. Of course I was traveling for business and didn’t get time to play with it until I arrived home late Thursday evening. It has now been about 24 hours of using the watch (excluding sleeping, showering, and what not), so I feel I can start talking about it.
I ordered the geek special, i.e. 42mm Space Grey Sport with a black band. I have also ordered a second band, but that has not yet arrived, more about it when it does. The watch is light, the band is comfortable, and interface is taking a bit to get used to. I have been using a Withings Pulse pedometer and sleep monitor for over a year now, so having something on my wrist is not a problem. I never really did give up wearing a watch, as I’ve liked having the weight on my wrist, and I find looking at my phone for the time to be a bit silly.
So, I just made a comment about the interface taking a bit to get used to…let me explain. By default, the natural tendancy is to treat is like iOS. It is not, iOS, it is a new Watch UI, and as such you should not expect to play with the watch in the same manner as your iPhone or iPad.
There are five major interfaces to the watch: 1) The clock, 2) Glances, 3) Notifcations, 4) Friends, and 5) the rest. Let’s look at each of these in sequence:
1) The Watch:
Apple has spent a lot of time making the watch face customizable. Not every watch face will allow you to add all the features you want. For example, right now the watch face I am using is the classic face and as such doesn’t allow me to add the calendar to it. I do; however, have the battery, my fitness info, the date, and the current temperature on the watch face. I will try out other watch faces over the next few months, but for now I like this one. You can change the color, the amount of marks to distinguish the time, and other features too.
Glances are applications or application extensions that provide “enough” information on one screen. You get to these by swiping your screen from bottom to the top. Apple has a done of glances predefined, but reduced mine to the information I care about. First I want to be able to mute, do not disturb, and go to airplane mode quickly, this is my first glance. Second, is my calendar, knowing my next meeting is critcal for me, as most of my days are back to back. When I do have time to run to the restroom or get a drink, knowing how much time I do have is kinda important. Third, weather – I tend to forget to bring the right jacket or umbrella. Forth, is music – I love music and the fact that I can control it from the watch is cool, but not critcal. Fifth is fitness – this should probably move up to forth. Sixth is heartrate… I really do like the idea that it monitors my heart right periodically, I never realized how much variability my heartrate has. And lastly I have the battery details screen.
I have enabled a few of my email accounts to push notifications. Right now it is managable, but I may reduce it to VIPs only.
You get to friends from any screen by pressing the button below the crown of the watch, I have four people listed so far. My wife, my co-host of my podcast, my boss, and another friend. I am trying to keep this very clean for now. I’ve only interacted with one of them so far, and it is fun and cool. I am not a big SMS user, and as long as it only uses Apple Messages protocl, I may be safe, but I am guessing, just like iMessages it defaults to SMS when the person is not on iMessage. We shall see.
5) the Rest:
The number of apps that have suddenly pushed out new updates in the last few weeks had been staggering. I am not sure they all makes sense to me. I have 30 or more apps on the screen, I don’t know what most of them do, so we shall see how many I remove.
So what do I think so far? So far I really like it. The notifications are subtle enough, the interface is clean, and the few features I’ve used have worked as advertised. It is also kinda cool to use the watch to make a phone call. I really do feel like dick tracer.