My First Week With The Apple Watch

Having spent a week now with my Apple Watch, I thought I’d share some of the things I love about it, as well as a couple things I’d love to see improved (one of which will be with this fall’s free software update).

My Favorite Things:

– Viewing the time, date, weather and daily fitness progress right from the watch face. The face customization interface is also super fun to explore.

– Being able to receive text messages on my wrist, then reply with canned responses or via Siri. Super handy.

– Using Apple Pay. It’s absolutely magical, and way more convenient than on the phone.

– Scanning items from Passbook. I do coffee walks with the guys at work most mornings, and paying for Starbucks with my wrist has worked pretty well (despite the fact that I’m the guy paying for coffee with a watch).

– Controlling my currently-playing audio with via one of the watch’s “glances” (activated by lifting your wrist and swiping up). This is especially handy with my non-inline-remote headphones.

– Seeing when the next train is leaving on my commute (also via a glance). This one can be a bit finicky (see my 3rd-party app note below), but when it works, it’s glorious.

– Getting fitness notifications/progress updates. It’s a nice fitness tracking system, and it makes staying active a bit more fun.

– Being able to control my Apple TV with the “Remote” app. Solid gold. No more losing the remote or having to use the iPhone app.

– Setting a watch-specific alarm that vibrates on my wrist (and doesn’t annoy people around me). I tried this today as a “don’t forget to get off the train” reminder, and it worked like a charm.

My Not-So-Favorite Things:

– The “lift wrist to activate the screen” works generally pretty well, but when it doesn’t, you find yourself lowering and re-raising your wrist to light up the screen. This makes you look like a moron. Such is life on the bleeding edge.

– Most 3rd-party apps are a bit half-baked (given their current limitations). This will get fixed with native app support this fall, but at the moment there aren’t too many life-changing 3rd-party app examples.

Other Notes:

– The watch itself is really solid, which isn’t surprising given that it’s from Apple. It looks good and feels good. The magnetic charger is awesome. Charging a watch when you go to bed isn’t something that everyone will want to do, but the battery easily lasts all day for me (I tend to end the day with around 40-50% or so of the battery remaining).

– The wrist taps (how the watch notifies you) are pretty cool. At first I found them a bit *too* subtle, but after trying the “more prominent” setting, I’ve gone back to the default taps, and they’re growing on me.

– I’ve found that less is definitely more as I’ve futzed with customization. For best results, dial down the number of notifications and set a small number of glances.

– I tried the “tap your wrist differently to indicate if you should turn left or right” turn-by-turn directions system, and it worked as advertised. Not sure how much I’ll use it, but pretty nifty.

– Taking phone calls is pretty cool, though I seriously doubt I’d do it it public.

– I’m looking forward to trying Apple Music with this when it launches tomorrow (especially when it comes to downloading local copies of subscription music if I want to go running without my iPhone).