Time Tells All: The Apple Watch One Year Later
The Apple Watch launched on April 24, 2015. The whole world watched and waited to see if Apple could turn another product category on its head. So what has it accomplished?
I've been wearing my Apple Watch every day for a year, well-- a year and 9 days. The watch hasn't changed my life, but it has become a very convenient addition to my day to day practices. I have never run out of battery life, not once, in that year. I do charge it nightly, which some may find to be bothersome, but I was never too keen on wearing one while I sleep anyways. Apple made a big fuss about how it would usher in the rise of the wearable app market, but in reality they were way off the mark. There are a few apps that are nice, but even after the watch received its first full firmware update (Watch OS 2.0) it still fails to be quick enough or find real use for the apps to make them worth using over their phone counterparts. In fact, the only use for the apps I've ever been fond of are the ones that have found a way to make good use of the "glances" feature. I would love to see Apple really double down on these rather than full apps. Glances are a widget of sort that you can get to by swiping up from the watch face screen and provide quick insight into different apps. The ones I've found most useful are Apples own AirPlay glance which allows the user to control volume and playback options for any media that the phone is currently using, the Battery (and Power Reserve) glance, the Control Center glance which might contain my personal favorite feature of the watch- a find my iPhone button that makes the phone ring to help locate it if lost, and their Activity Glance to keep track of my active calories burned throughout the day.
If Apple hasn't been able to find a good use for apps then what does the watch do well? Besides the glances it has made my life at work so much better. I'm now able to check my watch for the notifications that I've deemed most important to pop up on my wrist without appearing awfully rude to my co workers and customers by pulling out my phone and getting lost in the black hole that is checking Facebook, Twitter, and other various social networking deterrants. As silly as it may sound, it works very well as a watch, crazy huh? I don't find myself switching between watch faces too often, but I do have my casual watch face, my gym watch face, and if I ever need it, my dress watch face. I love the complications on the watch faces, but I truly hope that there will be more of them and more options for them in the future.
Apple succeeded far more with their watch bands than I ever imagined they would. I'll admit it here, I'm a watch band addict. I own 6 bands now. Two sport bands, a brown leather loop, black classic leather buckle, silver Milanese loop, and one of the new spring nylon bands. I switch my bands at least once a day from wearing a sport band while working out and then changing it to an appropriate band for work, and then to fit my evening attire if I go out with friends to a bar, dinner, or whatever we have planned.
What do I never use? I never send sketches. Occasionally I'll have a friend who will spam my wrist with taps and a hand written message of "hey" or "sup?", but other than that you won't find me using the feature. The "favorites" button on the side of the watch also rarely gets use from me- come to think of it, the only time I press it on purpose is when I'm attempting to use Apple Pay.
Speaking of Apple Pay, I live in a fairly large city so I can find places to use it, but it's still not everywhere. I can use it at GameStop and various restaurants (Panera, McDonald's), but other than that I'd have to go out of my way to find places to use it. I can't use it at my grocery store, but I could choose to go just a little further down the road to Walgreens to use it if I really wanted. I never make that choice, but it's nice to know that if I forget my wallet at home, I won't be stuck in an awkward situation.
There you have it, a year later the Apple Watch has faded a little bit from the public eye and while it is the market share leader, it still hasn't redefined the industry. It's not a necessity quite yet, but it is very convenient. I'm very glad I took the plunge and purchased one and I'm looking forward to seeing future iterations. It's my favorite luxury item that I own.