Prior to its arrival, I likened the Apple Watch as the flaming asteroid from Armageddon, an unstoppable force that would put a major dent in my digital ecosystem. My experience with smartwatches was limited, only having spent a few weeks with the Moto 360. It too pairs with it’s sibling, the Moto X, a phone I still like a lot. But this was the Apple Watch and this going to work with my iPhone, which is my daily driver. And the build quality, design and sense of fashion would be unparalleled. It was going to be the modern remote for my home automation, take over the heavy lifting of handling a steady stream of notifications. This was going to be the wearable device that would have me leaving my iPhone in my pocket or on my desk. As we head into the second week marker, I find it’s one of the more interesting timeframes in a life cycle of a new device. It’s about now the luster of that new-unboxing smell has worn off, as well as the gotcha features that are fun on day 1 or 3, only to settle quickly into the background by day 10 as something you’ll rarely use. What’s been the impact of my Apple Watch on my iPhone? Has my iPhone slipped into the background, rarely leaving the comfort of my left-front jeans pocket?
Prior to my purchase, I was a believer. Some could translate that into being a sucker for marketing. That’s not just with Apple products. I’m willing to give any company the benefit of the doubt when it comes to improving my life. There’s been a big lead-up to the Apple Watch. We had its grand introduction in September of last year, followed by a dedicated event and the pre-order event. All of which was surrounded by a swath of official and unofficial marketing channels. The Apple Watch was going to “provide a while new experience.” It was their most personal device, offering a whole new way to communicate and it there were already over 3,000 apps ready to go. Go ahead and watch this 10-minute introduction video with voiceovers by Jony Ive without pulling your credit card from your wallet.
My digital universe; prepared to be dented. Not even Harry Stamper can stop the Apple Watch. My UPS guy losing the package, maybe.
You’ll forgive another movie quote, but I was Magatu on day one (credit Michael Baturin).
“Dear God, it’s beautiful.”
Having had a try-on, I wasn’t surprised by the size. Those who have yet to see on in person, I can attest to just how small the Apple Watch is in person. The 38mm is already too small, even for my dainty wrists. I immediately began transferring tasks to my wrist. My notifications were setup to mirror my iPhone. Those are particularly fine-tuned, only allowing information I need to know. On a typical day, my iPhone is on a desk or table, so immediately my notification recognition went to 100 percent or thereabouts. The clear all notifications was pure awesome. Take that iPhone, or at least until iOS 9. There were surprises, like the convenience of using Apple Watch for calls. The new-ness of customizing watch faces was more than enough to keep me content, despite early cries on social media for more options. Having the gentle tap of the Taptic Engine certainly felt like the future. Text messages immediately had a greater sense of personalization and I’m not even referring to those wild looking emoji, digital touch or doodles. Having to rely on Siri to dictate text messages, I used her more than usual and was pleased with the accuracy.
How in the hell did I survive without an Apple Watch?
It’s early and I’m still evaluating just how the Apple Watch fits. I’ll say this, it does have a place. How big or small is left to be determined. How much of my use during the honeymoon period was forced? That’s what I was hoping to answer, but I’m not sure I have a definitive answer just yet. Did the Apple Watch solve any problems? Animated emojis? Digital doodles? For me, those are a collective meh. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In this case, maybe it’s a sixteen year old’s treasure.
If I were a professor, third party apps would have to hope there was a massive curve, if they were to get a passing grade. The best and brightest are the apps that do the least. That’s unfortunate, but that’s the hand developers have been dealt. The need to communicate and pass information wirelessly can often result in a less-than-great experience. Screen time-outs have become a major buzzkill.
While alerts prevented me from missing a notification, there have been times when messages didn’t come in on the watch, but did on the phone. There’s also been the issue of having to clear notifications on my iPhone. In a sense, I have to perform double duty.
With the weather in NY eclipsing seventy, I decided to spend some time in the bright gaze of sunlight, forgoing my usual day in front of a computer monitor. There’s no better time to plant flowers like the first week of May. Having plans to spend much of the day with my hands in garden soil and mulch, I left the Apple Watch on its charger. Throughout the day, I checked my notifications, looked in on site traffic and fired up the Sonos for some Sunday afternoon Songza. At no point during the day did I feel any level of detachment. Everything I needed was within reach, on my iPhone in my front pocket. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything by not wearing my Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch has definitely left an impression on me. It fills a void, the size of which is still yet to be determined. But on this Sunday, I’m reminded that the center of my digital universe still revolves around my iPhone.