Apple Watch – Initial Impressions
On Monday morning, our much-anticipated first Apple Watch arrived - a 38mm Sport in Space Grey. I say our first because we ordered two to enable us to test our first Apple Watch app on both screen sizes. (I'll be reporting on the trials and tribulations of developing an app for Apple Watch in a later post).
On Monday morning, our much-anticipated first Apple Watch arrived - a 38mm Sport in Space Grey. I say our first because we ordered two to enable us to test our first Apple Watch app on both screen sizes. (I’ll be reporting on the trials and tribulations of developing an app for Apple Watch in a later post).
I'd been doing my best to dampen my levels of expectation, partly because of Apple's well-documented struggles with battery life, and their resulting decision to degrade the functionality to allow it to last a full day between charges.
But I was also aware that this is a first generation product, and Apple's "It just works" reputation of outstanding quality and ease of use has been somewhat tarnished in recent years, due in no small part to the ever-increasing complexity of its products and their associated eco-system.
Still, I'll admit to a frisson of excitement as I opened the beautiful packaging, and beheld surely the most lusted after consumer product of 2015.
Despite the obvious quality of materials, my initial impression was slight disappointment, however. Unlike the iPhone 6, and the new Macbook, both of which are undeniably the most beautiful products in their categories, the Apple Watch is awkward in appearance, and in 38mm form at least, also slightly weedy and geeky looking.
I've been wearing it for two days now, and it has failed to attract a single second glance from anyone else, this despite the rather obvious arm movements required to actually check the time (more on this later).
One area that Apple have absolutely nailed it, though, is the initial setup and pairing with your iPhone.
Switch the watch on, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, point phone at watch and voila, pairing occurs instantly. Within 20 seconds (or a couple of minutes if you select the option to transfer all apps from your phone), the watch is up and running.
There are extensive options in the iPhone app to manage the settings and controls on the watch, and if you're interested enough to have ordered a watch in the first place, you're likely to be the type of person who'll have fun tweaking all the settings to get it just so.
But straight out of the box, and with no tweaking at all, you can be up and running and reading emails, calendar appointments and yes, telling the time!
There are plenty of other articles that have documented the idiosyncrasies of the user interface, so I won't give a lengthy explanation of that here. Suffice it to say that, while there are a few new styles of interaction to learn, they quickly become intuitive, and in the pared back manner of Apple in general, you'll find yourself accessing all the functionality without thinking about it within your first day.
But the area I've been most interested in during these first couple of days is this: just how much use will I make of the watch? How, if at all, would it make my life easier, better or more fun? And would the benefits make the exorbitant $500 - $1,500 cost of a product likely to be obsolete in a year worthwhile? Check out my next post "Living with Apple Watch" to find out more.