Four Days With the Apple Watch: A Consumers Perspective
If you are reading this I'm sure, by now, you've read impressions and reviews from many different sources, but how many of those were from actual consumers rather than the "tech titans" of the internet? I'd bet few-to-none, so I thought it would be refreshing to hear from someone like you who has spent some time with this much talked about new device.
My initial impressions right out of the box was how heavy and "stylish" Apple went with their packaging. They've always been known for having a lot of pride in the presentation of their new gadgets, but make no mistake, they took it to a whole new level with the Watch. In fact, "stylish" could really be the main tagline for their entry device into the convoluted world of wearables. They really wanted you to feel like you were putting on precious jewelry rather than some tech gadget or phone accessory.
I got my hands on the 42mm stainless steel Apple Watch with a white fluoroelastomer band. The package was a little over a pound in weight. Beneath the layers of cardboard there was a thick, dense, plastic rectangular prism that housed the watch. It felt very similar to the white part of the casing used for the iPhone 5C, but much thicker and heavier. Upon opening it, you are greeted by the pristine new watch propped up by a groove in a sort of felt, or faux-felt material. Classy stuff. Apple enthusiasts might want to take note that this is the first Apple product that didn't come with the Apple logo stickers, but instead came with an additional half band in case the M/L size is too big. Not a bad trade off...we all have those stickers lying around anyway, don't we?
The watch has a very premium feel to it, the steel is shiny, the curved glass feels luxurious, the band is smooth- oh so smooth, and the whole piece together has a very nice weight to it. Not to be read as heavy, but just heavy enough to help remind you that it's there.
Enough about how it looks, am I right? After all, we've all seen the pictures a dozen times. Let's talk about how this thing works. The "Digital Crown", as Apple calls it, is very responsive, but I did notice that if I scrolled back and forth too fast, I could occasionally out run the screen and I would have to stop moving it to get response back. I was a little surprised with the speed in which the crown rotates. I was expecting it to have just a hair more resistance, but after about four or five minutes, I adjusted. I do find myself at odds occasionally between using the screen and the crown to scroll. Since so many of the gestures require touch, my mind doesn't think to return to the crown, but I do like that I have the option to do either. It makes reading messages a pleasure by not having my fingers constantly in the way.
Speaking of clarity, Oh. My. God. That screen looks sharp! It might just be Apple's nicest looking screen thus far. It really makes all the different watch faces pop. There are 9 watch faces and they can all be customized in various ways (no you can't change anything on Mickey Mouse's character). I started out with one of the round classic faces, but it had been so long since I'd read a radial watch face I eventually changed to a more modern digital display. I have a feeling that for different outfits, and different occasions I'll be changing the face I use to suit accordingly. The whole process is a breeze once you learn and remember this one Pro Tip: force touch everything.
Before I had the watch in my possession I heard a lot about how difficult it was to learn the new WatchOs, but I've had very little problems. There are a lot of swipe-downs, swipe-ups, left, right...all the normal things we do with our phones. The biggest difference is the inclusion of Apple's new Force Touch technology. I spent a few moments using Force Touch everywhere I could to get accustomed to the types of things it would be used for, most of the time they were things you expected to find in a "right click" menu.
I'm very pleased that the apps aren't front and center as once you get over the initial new tech honeymoon period you're probably not going to use them a whole lot, at least not until developers figure out new and interesting ways for us to use the watch. I found myself swiping up from the watch face much more often and looking at the glances to check my activity or what's trending, or using Siri's help from voice commands. She has never been more accurate.
It's hard to tell if this is a problem or not, at least so far. Apple has been speaking out a lot about their apps and while they do have a lot of apps (over 3,000) most of them don't really serve any purpose or take just a bit longer then their iPhone brother. Even the glances take a moment to load and sync up, but so far I haven't had to wait more than just a moments time.
I absolutely love not having to pull my phone out of my pocket all the time to check notifications that really matter. I had already set up the most important ones to show up on my wrist and by not looking at my phone I don't see all the little distractions from other apps that would take my attention away from what I was already doing.
So far, I like the watch. It feels good, I like the way it looks, and it's a fun addition to my iPhone. I need more time to try out the fitness apps in depth. How does it perform over time? Do you need one? Is it worth the money? Does Apple have another revolution on their hands? These are all questions I'm going to try and answer for you after a little more time to form a full concise opinion- stay tuned!