Why I like my Apple Watch

Hello there,

I got my Apple Watch yesterday (6/29/15).  By the time my wife came home that night, I was happy with it and impressed.  What is strange about this is that I did not plan on buying one yet.  I saw the keynote when they were announced and while I was impressed I did not think I would buy one.  Partially as I did not need a new watch, but it just did not click with me.  And since I started buying Apple stuff with an Apple II/Plus it was a big surprise for me, and a bigger one for my wife.  Things started to change as I saw blogs by people who did not like Apple or the Apple Watch but found it worked for them.  Often it was due to it meaning they did not look at their phone as much after they started using the Apple Watch.  But the catalyst for me was the WWDC where I saw the next version of the watchOS.  One of the things I liked was Wifi would be used in the future to connect your watch to your iPhone instead of just Bluetooth.  The other was I liked the possibility of apps running on my watch.  It is interesting that I am glad that only Apple has apps on my phone now but I see as developers learn that changing and that is good.

But, I thought I would list out specifics of likes and not likes.  Just in case it might help someone.  And I will keep this current.  Of course they are not in order of importance but in order of remembering! Or when I find them!

Things I like

  • I really like how my watch face looks and what it shares with me.  You can see it below.  It shows off the local temperature, the time in my HQ, and that I have no more meetings today.  I had 3 meetings today and this little display let me know about them.  And yes, I know there are other watch faces but I like this one.  At least for now.  And I like the idea of it, meaning more then just the time is shown.  Update, in watchOS 2, or that is I believe as a result of watchOS 2 I can now have the day, and the date seen in this watch face.
My primary watch fact

My primary watch face

  • BTW, I really like the Take Control book on the Apple Watch.  It helped me out with a lot of things and I think it very worth the 10 bucks (links below).
  • An application I like on my phone – AroundMe – gives me a notification of the weather each morning.  You can see it below.  So each morning I get a tap on my wrist and I look at screen and see this (today’s below).  I can swipe it to the left to delete it if I want.  If I don’t look at it I see a red dot at the top of my watch face to let me know I missed something.
IMG_2723

Notification from Aroundme with the weather

  • I really liked the packaging and setup.  Nice package is good to work with as it is easier to do things with, plus it is easy to undo.  The original setup was easy as the Apple Watch did some sort of odd graphics and I pointed the phone at it and they were paired.
  • I thing the default of taking configuration from the phone worked well for me to start with.  So things like Do not Distributive (DnD) mode, or notifications.  Got me working fast.  Then as I played I was able to improve the notifications easily.
  • I like Glances.  This is where you swipe up from the bottom of the watch face.  There are a number of things there.  Below are four samples.  The first is battery remaining and that is at late afternoon.  The next is the first appointment tomorrow. The next is maps and showing where I am.  These are not the full apps but quick glances at them. The last one shows I have mute on, and DnD and Airplane mode are not on.  Plus it shows me as connected with my iPhone.  So all very handy!
IMG_2724

Glimpse on battery strength – pretty good

IMG_2725

Glimpse from Calender with tomorrows meeting

IMG_2726

A glimpse from Maps – show more or less where I am

IMG_2727

Connection Info – the first glimpse

  • I am impressed with the power usage of the watch.  I have not worn it working out yet which I understand uses more battery but I do not expect to run out of juice before I charge at night.  I have seen this reflected on the web in various blogs.
  • I like how you can enable Airplane mode on the watch and it takes care of it on the watch and the phone.  Of course with that turning off the radio you do need to manually disable Airplane mode on both devices.
  • I like how it uses taps when you are navigating to location.  Not sure if they have figured out the right taps yet but at least I can tell them apart.
  • I like how there are some quick responses I can easily select and send when someone texts me.
  • While I have not tested it I like how you can check in on your flight with the watch.  Might be a little awkward but it should work.
  • While I cannot test it I like how it can support Apple Pay.  Eventually the Canadian banks will get on the Apple Pay bandwagon and I will be able to use it – I have been with my bank since I was 14 years old – so I hope I don’t have to leave them to get Apple Pay.  I have heard from people that it is easier to use the iPhone for Apple Pay.  Good to have options!
  • I like how I can limit seeing email on my phone to just people that are VIP’s.
  • The notification control is particularly good  – meaning granular – for Apple apps and only on / off for non-Apple apps.  I see that changing and I understand why it is this way now.
  • I think the amount of customization on watch faces is just right.  Not too much or too little and since I see that changing as time goes on I think it was a pretty good start.
  • I really like how if it leaves my wrist it locks the screen.
  • I like how I can take calls on the watch if necessary.  Don’t see me doing that often but it will be fun and it might be handy too.
  • I like how I can charge the watch from my laptop.
  • I really like how the Watch and iPhone know when things are happening and how the results should be on one or the other.  For example, I was using the time that I set on my iPhone, but it was locked so it went on on my Watch.  Nice.
  • I also like how when I travel and use a Jambone box with my iPhone plugged into it as a music system that my Watch can control the music!
  • I like how when I get Message, I have a couple of prepared answers that make it very easy to reply.
  • I like the stopwatch and timer that are built in.
  • Since the 6/29/15 when I got the watch I have worn it in every shower, every workout, and a bunch of hiking.  It has done well for certain!
  • I like how 1Password allows me to pick exactly what is seen on the watch. I could pick a password, or a secure note, and have only that on the watch.  So pretty handy.
  • As of watchOS 2 I really like Nightstand mode.  I have now junked my Clock Radio!
  • I just learned something else I really like.  When my iPhone has a timer go off, and it is in the other room or downstairs, I can dismiss the alarm on my watch.  Nice.

Things I don’t like

  • I don’t like that Bluetooth is the connection.  I like leaving my iPhone in my home office or at my desk at work and it would be good if the watch and the phone could use Wifi to chat as I wander around. I know that this will get better. Update: and it seems that Wifi is used for at least messages when you are outside of bluetooth range of iPhone / watch. Update: as of watchOS 2 there is more support for Wifi – in fact it seems everything is supported other then GPS and Siri. More info here on what is possible without the iPhone..
  • I may be missing something on this so it would be great if someone could correct me.  But it would be nice to be able to backup my watch face, or import one that someone else did.
  • I don’t like how I cannot remote wipe or find my watch.  I know that will change in the future. Update: as of watchOS 2 there is now activation lock so I am happy.
  • I wish it had a GPS chip inside but that is likely not quite technical feasible at this time.
  • I don’t like that I need to carry around a new cable and a new plug.  While I understand the need for a new cable, and I like how it can plug into the computer for charging I don’t like carrying around a new plug.
  • I use Tweetbot and I would love to have it put certain things on my watch.  Same kind of control that I currently use with my iPhone to keep it under control.  But that doesn’t work at this time.
  • Really, this is turning out to be the only thing that really bothers me.  When I use the Watch during workouts – mostly to end a workout often I cannot right away select the End option.  Other things on the screen might be selectable but not the end, or if I hit end sometimes I have trouble hitting save.  So very frustrating actually. Update, this has consistently improved.  Not sure how or why as no upgrades but I guess I changed. Update: in watchOS 2 I am told that all activities will be automatically saved.  That too will be helpful here.
  • Important one – just recently broke my watch, and it was replaced pretty fast.  And for a very small amount of money – even though it was my fault.  But there is no backups – other then unpair and pair.  Which actually works good, but if you break your phone and get a new one you need to configure it from scratch.  Sucks big.

Useful Links

I will update this as I learn and have fun with my watch.  Comments and questions are welcome.

Update

  • 2/5/16 – added the tidbit about dismissing an iPhone timer alarm on your watch.
  • 10/13/15 – added the link about to the swimming with your watch research.
  • 10/1/15 – add the comment about how I really dislike not having the ability to do a backup and restore too.
  • 9/24/15 – I have been using watchOS 2 for a bit.  This article now is updated for that.  Here is a whats new with watchOS 2.
  • 8/17/15 1210 – added the comment about about how starting and stopping, and saving workouts has gotten much easier.  Also the comment about 1Password.
  • 7/17/15 1349 – Added the comment about how I have hiked, and showered with this great watch since the 6/29/15 with no issues.
  • 7/13/15 1548 – added a comment about how I like the canned responses for Messages.
  • 7/11/15 1525 – added a link to help with Siri on the watch.
  • 7/8/15 0935 – added the comments about music control, and button problems.
  • 6/3/15 1251 – update on how the Watch and iPhone know if one or the other is in use.
  • 6/1/15 1307 – Thanks to one of my readers (thanks Scott), he confirmed something I noticed but was not sure about.  Wireless for Messages worked for him.  And when I am on the third floor of my home, and my iPhone is on the first floor I don’t believe that Bluetooth works that far, but yet my watch is still connected.  So some Wireless support is enabled in this first release of the watchOS.

Michael

=== END ===

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2 comments on “Why I like my Apple Watch
  1. Scott L says:

    Mike, new reader of your newsletter here, and wanted to thank you for all the pertinent information you are constantly gathering and sharing! I dont know how you find the time for it all!

    I’ve had my watch now for a month. It DOES use WiFi. As long as your phone knows about a WiFi connection, then your watch will also have access to it. At least for messaging, and perhaps other things. However, I don’t know if it will actually use the WiFi for connection back to the phone. Recently, I left my phone at a park about 5 minutes away from my house and ran home for something. My fiance then texted me to bring something back to the park for her, and I received the message on my wrist while I was at the house – phone still about mile away. 🙂 I was able to reply to her using the watch on WiFi as well. That’s how I know it uses WiFi… at least for iMessage.

    • Thanks Scott, glad you like the newsletter! And thanks for the comment about wifi. I have been wondering about that too as I have three floors in my house and my phone is in the basement and my watch shows connected when I am in the bedroom. No way Bluetooth goes that far.

      So much appreciate your comment, helps me understand!

      Michael

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