24 hours with the Apple Watch

2015-05-10 09.29.35

So I’ve had my new Apple Watch strapped to my wrist for over 24 hours now. All in all, it’s been an interesting experience.

I’ve experimented with a few of the various watch faces, but have (for the moment) decided on the one above. It has a nice amount of useful data. In the pic above, starting top left: day and date, time, upcoming appointment, percentage battery remaining, activity summary and weather. You can add and remove these pieces of info, as well as change the colour of the text.

I had a bit of an issue with the watch within a couple of hours, where it would ‘crash’ when I tried to send texts or make a call. I narrowed this down to an issue with the contact (ironically, it was @FrankDJS!) as it didn’t happen when I contacted other people via the watch.

I ended up deleting his contact card from Address Book and reinstalled a fresh file he emailed to me. Moments later, no issues, and I was quickly texting emojis like a Japanese schoolgirl. A simple fix, but a frustrating hour while I tried to figure it out.

I forgot I was wearing the watch for long stretches of time, which I suppose is the point. If it was incredibly heavy or bulky, it would be a distraction and a chore to wear. I got some useful reminders during the morning and early afternoon: Twitter mentions, reminders from ToDoist, calendar appointments and reminders from the Activity app to stand up and move around.

Unfortunately, the latter went off while I was watching Avengers: Age of Ultron in the cinema. Twice. All while I had muted my phone – so I need to find out out to turn off that reminder when it’s inconvenient to stand up and walk around.

Not all notifications behave the same way though. Some are dismissed by swiping to the left, while others have a ‘dismiss’ button below the notification text. I’m sure I’ll get used to this and eventually spend less time figuring out how to clear the screen.

The ‘taptic’ notification is much more powerful, but also quieter, than my Pebble. I feel it on my wrist, enough to get my attention, but not enough to disturb someone close by. I’ve had feedback previously that my Pebble’s notification left some people thinking there was a wasp in the room!

In terms of battery, I got all the way through to 10pm last night and had 51% of the charge left. This was encouraging, as I’d worried about how the battery would hold up. I’m not sure how representative my use of the watch was – you always end up using new gadgets far more in the first few days. Exploring the functionality, demonstrating it to others and so on.

I’m away all this coming week for work, so I’ll be interested to see how the battery holds up while I’m working 7am to 8pm each day. I suspect I’ll get more than enough out of it. Tim Cook apparently wasn’t exaggerating when he spoke about an 18 hour battery.

While I’m on battery life and charging, a few photos of what I think is the best idea Apple had when it came to the Apple Watch: the UK charger. It’s a thing of beauty and person-centred design.

I’m not sure how much non-UK readers will appreciate how useful it is to be able to fold the usually sturdy UK plug. Really, really helpful. It almost makes it pocketable and definitely cuts down on bulk.

So, a quick review of my first day or so using the Apple Watch. I’ll share more thoughts and observations as I use it over the next few weeks. So far, I’m really happy with the watch. As someone who has used another smartwatch for the past six months, the whole concept made sense to me already. Whether or not you can even see the point of an Apple Watch is up to you. I’m definitely not trying to convince you!

But if you have any specific questions, just ask me in the comments.

  1. Interesting post – and much less controversial than your views about the UK General Election! I’m an active guy too – more cycling and sprint triathlons than marathons – but I’m out of action with a medial knee injury, so related to your London struggle! My question is about how suitable the watch would be in sporting events and outdoor activities in general. So, if your iPhone was in (say) a cycling top, could you read useful data off the watch (other than the time!). Would the battery in the watch and phone both drain quickly? And what about rain? Could the watch withstand being worn say on a hike through rain in the Lake District?

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    1. Thanks Tim. Not sure I was that controversial re the election, but that’s politics! Up next, sex and religion 🙂

      I think the watch would be fine for outdoor events. Apparently you can wear it in the shower, so it should be fine to deal with some rain. Even in the Lake District! 😉

      I’ve not taken it out for any intense sports activity, but it does measure my activity on an ongoing basis throughout the day using the “Activity” app. I haven’t noticed any negative impact on my iPhone 6 plus and, as I say, I’m pleased with how the battery on the watch is lasting.

      Time will tell, I think.

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      1. Sex and religion is fine – the two usually go well together in any debate after a few drinks!

        I forgot you’re an iPhone 6 Plus man. I’m due an upgrade from my 5 shortly and am unsure which way to go. Folk say the 6 Plus can replace both your iPhone and iPad, but it looks quite a beast to slot in a Gortex coat pocket or back of a cycling top! As I understand it, unless you’ve got your iPhone with you, the Apple Watch is fairly useless? So you wouldn’t take it on your next (half!) marathon?

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        1. Apparently you can go running etc without your phone and your Apple Watch stores activity data as you go. Won’t be as accurate, as it relies on iPhone GPS to a large extent.

          I’m well used to the size of the 6 Plus and wouldn’t go back to a smaller model for anything. The screen is magnificent. Yep, it doesn’t fit in skinny jeans, but is easy to pocket in all my coats, jackets, suits etc. And that’s with a cover on it. I got this one from Moleskine and love it: https://store.moleskine.com/gbr/bags-and-cases/cases/classic-booktype-case-compatible-with-iphone-6-plus/p704?lang=en-gb&ic=sWXryw%3D%3D

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  2. Great review sir, thanks for that!
    I’ve been following the first reviews of the Apple Watch from both the industry and individuals alike. Sorry if you’ve already said this – but what size face did you get, the 38mm or 42mm? I’ve consistently thought from the get-go that the watch looks *really big*; and I have fairly small wrists / hands. Something tells me this is really the iPod Touch 1.0 in wrist format, and the good stuff is yet to come.
    Although The Verge’s review of non-stop notifications put me off a little, it seems like this version of the watch is really just a remote screen for the iPhone – it needs to be a bit more autonomous than that before I’ll jump.

    Looks great though!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words!

      I got the 42mm screen, whereas my other half got the smaller screen. We’re both happy with our choices and I think trying one on in store is the way to go.

      I’m still exploring all the functionality, but so far can say it’s definitely not just an extension of the iPhone. The health and activity tracking alone is great.

      It’s not a must-have (what is?!) but I find it useful and fun to use. Your mileage, as always, may vary.

      In term of version 2.0, I think they’ll make it thinner and with better battery life. Probably more sensors too, to track health stats more accurately.

      What this space for further updates 🙂

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    2. I’d also add that it’s really easy to control the notifications you receive. Takes a couple of minutes, max.

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