Apple Watch – 3 Months Of Hands-onRoddy Bergeron
After what feels like a decade of rumors and speculation, Apple finally released a watch last spring. Being the owner of an IT company people expect me to keep up with the current trends, but for the Apple Watch I waited. The critics and the fans seem evenly divided, so I wasn’t certain it would be worth the hefty price tag. I was also worried about keeping up with something that I had to make certain is charged every day. That would be a big change from my old watch which was solar powered and radio controlled. I never had to worry about it and it kept great time for the 5 years I wore it.
I finally broke down and purchase myself an Apple Watch 8 months after its release, and I was disappointed with myself for waiting. The watch is absolutely phenomenal! Having what amounts to a small iPhone instantly available on my wrist has made my life easier.
First I should address what I see are the biggest limitations. Yes, you have to be within Bluetooth or wifi range of your iPhone. While the watch communicates with Bluetooth when it can, when your phone is to far away it switches to wifi for communication. I’ve been 60 feet away from my phone and still been able to get updates. That feature is great when you are cutting your grass or playing with the kids in the yard. You also need an iPhone to use 90% of the features. Sorry Android users. Also, heavy use of your watch will eat up most of the battery during a 16 hour day.
The most basic of benefits is the advanced watch functions. The watch has many faces to choose from, and I am certain more will come in future updates. I chose a basic watch face, and added things like my calendar notifications, sunrise/sunset times, and outside temperature. If you click on the temperature you go into a weather screen shows you rain or temp forecast by the hour, and if you scroll up you get the full 10 day forecast. If you click on your next calendar event your whole day will open up. Also the watch has some great timer and stopwatch apps. The timer is great if you are cooking something and not staying close to the stove. I am of the opinion that just these features almost justify the price.
However, the biggest benefit to an Apple watch is the notifications. Your texts pop up on the screen and allow basic or dictated replies. Calendar invites can be instantly accepted, social media notifications pop up, and even my cloud based phone system at my office notifies me on my watch when my desk phone rings. While my phone is capable of notifying me of all these things, it is awkward to be always be staring at it. No one gives you a dirty look if you check your watch. The small screen limits you to only the most important information, so you keep your interaction brief. I feel like I am still connected, yet not being rude to those around me.
The last big features are, the health features that Apple has pushed hard. I didn’t find those features to be exceptional. A Fitbit does essentially the same thing and more and is smaller and more convenient. I do like how the watch tells me to stand up and get moving every hour, but I don’t know if this offers any real health benefits. I think if your only motivation is the health apps, you will not find the price worth it.
In the long run, I plan to keep up to date with the latest watch version. The benefits are far greater than the price. Things like accepting a calendar invite as I am walking down a flight of stairs or skimming a text and determining I don’t need to act on it while my phone is in the next room are too hard to give up. I hope future versions of the Apple Watch give us even more features, but I am already hooked.
-Scott Lavergne – Founder and CEO, Enterprise Data Concepts