"It Keeps on Ticking..."
Some of you may be old enough to remember those 1950’s TV commercials hosted by John Cameron Swayze (whoever he was) demonstrating on live TV that Timex Watches “take a licking and keep on ticking”. Well, after almost four years of daily use of my Apple Watch, I’m beginning to feel that way about Apple’s first timepiece. Although it has yet to sustain any real lickings, it definitely “keeps on ticking”. It has all the feel of a “real” watch, rather than the wearable computer that it actually is. To me, that’s one of the ways in which the Apple Watch is quite different from the iPhone, in which the use as a phone seems secondary to many of its other capabilities (not that it isn’t a perfectly good phone)…
The Apple Watch has a reliable, visually appealing, comfortable “watchness” to it. If it did nothing other than to keep time as well as it does, I’d be a happy Apple Watch owner. It has met and exceeded my expectations of what a watch should be, but it is equipped to do so much more. When I bought the “1.0” version of the Apple Watch upon its release in 2014, I chose the stainless steel (vs. aluminum) case and the Milanese stainless steel watch band offered, hoping that I wouldn’t find myself needing to “trade up” as quickly. The Apple Watch is now into its fourth generation and I remain very satisfied with the original model, though the day may come when I find myself unable to resist the latest features being offered.
I have have to say that I’ve never worn a more comfortable watch. I admit that the concept of watches as items of jewelry has never grabbed me, so my “go to” brands were Timex, Casio and later Swiss Army. The plastic or leather watchbands that came with these brands often caused my wrist to sweat underneath the band during the summer heat. The Apple Watch’s breathable Milanese mesh watchband, combined with the device’s rounded edges, is so comfortable that it often makes me forget that I’m wearing my watch.
In years past, I found myself going back and forth between digital and analog watches, desiring some of the newer features offered by digital watches, but preferring the analog method of telling time using sweeping hands on a watch face. The Apple Watch gives me the best of both worlds by offering a wide range of analog and digital watch faces, while providing an extensive array of “complications” to enhance the standard watch wearer’s experience.
I also regularly use several of the extra features the Apple Watch offers beyond the standard timekeeping functions. These include:
1. Having the watch face display my next appointment (with the option to access the full calendar with a tap of the upcoming appointment)
2. Being able to see the current temperature (and access a weather forecast)
3. Monitoring pulse rate, steps taken, exercise levels, and other health related info
4. Using the watch as a bedside alarm clock, as well as a handy timer or stopwatch.
5. Taking phone calls on my watch (with surprisingly good fidelity) when it’s not convenient to pull my phone out of my pocket.
6. Being notified via the watch’s haptic vibration of incoming texts, emails, and other notifications of importance (these can be managed so you aren’t being constantly pestered by unwanted traffic).
7. And speaking of traffic, the Apple Watch enhances the use of the iPhone’s GPS mapping, as it provides gentle reminders via haptic feedback of upcoming turns, lane changes, etc.
The purchase of a “first of a kind” Apple Watch in 2014 was a leap of faith, not knowing whether this might turn out to a foray into territory where Apple didn’t quite belong. However, Apple’s continuing annual releases of new versions of the Apple Watch that deliver intriguing new features suggest that it has succeeded in establishing a firm foothold in the “wearable” space. Even here in a “thinly settled” region of Atlantic Canada, I am seeing more and more Apple Watches on the wrists of friends and neighbors. That’s a sign that the Apple Watch is here to stay.