My Personal "Use Case" for the Apple Watch
[Originally posted on December 18, 2015] I was one of the early adopters of the Apple Watch when it was first released early this year. Most people who know me weren't surprised that I leapt at the chance to own the new watch, but, admittedly, many were also skeptical of the value proposition of the Apple Watch. It clearly falls more into the category of a "want" rather than a "need".
I have been a watch wearer all my life, unlike many of the millennials who have grown up without something strapped to their wrists in order to tell time. For the past decade, I have been wearing a trusty Swiss army watch while going through several leather bands, as those little leather rings that hold the strap in place would break. Then, those slender (maddening!) spring pins used to connect the band to the watch would wear out and come loose, sending them flying across the room with the watch falling to the floor. Eventually, I chose not to do yet another futile repair and decided instead to stop wearing my watch for a while to see if I no longer needed it. I was wrong. Despite months of going without a watch, I found myself continually looking at my wrist to check the time.
So when the Apple Watch was announced in the fall of 2014, my fate was sealed. As an early adopter of all things Apple anyway, I knew I would return to the "land of the timepiece" by boarding the Apple Watch train. In February 2015, I received delivery of my stainless steel Apple Watch with a Milanese steel-mesh loop band. I've been wearing it every day ever since.
People continually ask me "do you like it?" (the answer is a resounding "yes") and "is it really useful as more than a watch?" The answer to the second question is also "yes" but needs some elaboration as to how it fits into my daily activities. So, here's a not-so-quick list, in mostly "chronological" order:
1. The watch begins my day as my bedside alarm, awakening me at the appointed time. Five minutes before the alarm sounds, it lights up with a gentle glow, displaying the time, date and scheduled alarm time. his blog post features a photo from the other morning's awakening (taken with my iPhone, of course). The sideways display on the face of the watch shown in that photo automatically occurs when you set the watch on its side and connect it to a charger.
2. The charger stand you see in the photo below is a recently released Apple product and as you might expect, it is somewhat pricey (at $79) but elegantly designed for the task at hand, providing for me the perfect solution for a bedside alarm clock. Until the new watch stand came out, I simply laid the watch on its side and connected the magnetic charger supplied with the watch. That worked, albeit not a particularly neat solution as far as the charging cable was concerned. I really like the new charger stand. It has a soft rubber ring on which to set the watch and the magnetic charger ring is completely adjustable, from a position of lying flat (for those with watch bands that unbuckle) to fully vertical (for those with loop bands like me).3. My watch face displays the current temperature and if I tap on the temperature, the watch shows me the day's weather in a circular display that cycles with each tap through projected hourly temperatures, precipitation likelihood, and the degree of sunshine/cloudiness. Swipe down and you'll see a 10-day forecast, and swipe right and you can cycle through several cities you pre-select on your phone.
3. My watch face shows me the current temperature and if I tap on the temperature, the watch shows me the day's weather in a circular display that cycles with each tap through projected hourly temperatures, precipitation likelihood, and the degree of sunshine/cloudiness. Swipe down and you'll see a 10-day forecast, and swipe right and you can cycle through several cities you pre-select on your phone.
4. At the bottom of my watch face is displayed the time and description of my next appointment. If I tap on this listing, it will display all my calendar appointments for the next several days. There is also a "Month view" which allows me to select any other date in the current month.
5. The location and types of information on the watch face I describe above are known as "complications" (a traditional watch term) and are all user-definable and adjustable to the wearer's personal preferences.
6. The most useful feature of the watch during my work day is the "notifications" option, which again is fully customizable in terms of how many and what type of notifications I receive. Currently, I am notified of all incoming phone calls and text messages, "Slack" messages (a corporate team-based messaging app), emails from my VIP list (a selection of my email contacts), appointments on my calendar as they occur during the day, and progress reports toward certain fitness goals during the day like steps taken and calories burned.
7. Did I mention that the watch does a great job of telling time? I favor an analog display of watch hands to the numerals of a digital display, which probably comes from years of interpreting time spatially from the position of the hands on a clock. The reliability and accuracy of the timekeeping of this watch is critical to my tightly timed schedule of catching commuter trains to and from work. There are many selectable and customizable watch faces (including Mickey Mouse pointing to the hours and minutes and tapping his foot as the seconds go by.)
8. Another thing the watch does for me on a frequent basis is to pay for my coffee at Starbucks or purchase things at BestBuy, one of a few stores I use that currently offer ApplePay - Apple's secure payments method that eliminates the exposure risk of credit card information in a transaction.
9. Recently, the watch software was updated to allow the watch to be used as a remote control device for the new AppleTV 4 via Bluetooth. I've tried it and it works as advertised. It remains to be seen whether this will be a practical way to control one's AppleTV.
10. I generally end the day by setting the alarm on the watch before placing it on its charger and climbing into bed. I never come close to running out of power, based on the daily uses described above.
So that's a typical day with my Apple Watch. It's become a regular part of my daily life and has saved me many reaches for my phone throughout the day. I have even answered phone calls on it with success.
Your mileage may vary, but I continue to marvel that this is a version 1.0 product. Of course, I should say that it looks great, too and continues to turn heads and prompt conversations.