We have been wearing Apple Watch since its arrival Friday. The setup was a breeze and things were up and running in just a few minutes. Not having read much on the specifics of the Watch on purpose, we found the user experience interesting from a few perspectives and thought we would share them for those folks still in the throes of making a go/no-go decision on the Watch.
1. iPhone Dependency: No big deal, unless your iPhone is not supported.
- We knew that Apple Watch requires at least an iPhone 5 running the latest iOS (8.3 as of this writing), so we upgraded our phones to the 6 Plus (from the iPhone 4S) on Friday . The upgraded iPhone worked fine for a day, then it had some kind of major hardware failure and had to be replaced. To Apple’s credit, we walked into the busy Apple store with no appointment an hour before closing time on a Saturday, yet they still managed to have us out the door in 30 minutes with a new iPhone 6 Plus. Kudos to the folks at the Apple Stores in Chestnut Hill MA! BTW, this is why Apple will be a trillion-dollar company soon, but we digress.
- The Watch/iPhone combo is a technological compromise, as cramming all the required computing power onto the Watch’s tiny form factor is not possible at present. Given that it had to be tethered to the iPhone, we have experienced no issues wandering around the office with the two devices separated. This is not surprising as the typical Bluetooth range is about 30′ to 50′, so the “roam-able sphere of connectivity” is fairly large.
By the way, if Apple Watch and the iPhone are on the same WiFi network but aren’t connected by Bluetooth, Apple Watch can still perform the following without the iPhone:
Send and receive messages using iMessage
Send and receive Digital Touch messages
2. User Interface on a Small Screen: fluid, tiny, responsive.
- It felt a bit weird at first, but calling someone via the Watch got “natural” pretty quickly.
- Navigating on the Watch’s tiny screen was fluid and responsive, but a bit taxing on older eyes. Those with astigmatism should definitely make sure their prescription is up-to-date 🙂
- A red dot at the top of Watch screen does NOT mean anything “bad.” It is an indication that there is an unread notification available, NOT that we were about to run out of battery power or something. Perhaps a green or yellow dot would be a better choice? Definitely some other less “urgent” color for this particular feature.
- Preference settings are best done on the iPhone, but some may be set on the Watch as well. When in doubt, check the iPhone first.
3. General Usability: Everything about it felt “right.”
- The Sport version of the Watch is very light but has a quality feel. The band was very comfortable and we had no problem wearing it all day long. The screen is responsive, its letters/number/images are super crisp, and everything about it felt “right.”
- Things we did that was easier with Apple Watch:
- Things we hope to be able to do with Apple Watch at some point:
When our new iPhone 6 Plus died, we got a new one and was able to get the Watch to pair with it, but not to stay paired. We were not sure why, but after a half dozen attempts at getting the two to “talk” to each other, we decided to “wipe and restore” the Watch.
We got a bit further, but kept getting “stuck” on the Terms and Conditions step. We weren’t sure why, but our situation appeared to have had something to do with communicating with Apple while on our WiFi network. It wasn’t until we turned off the WiFi on the iPhone and forced it to used the cellular connection to the Web that we were able to get past this step.
Do you “need” an Apple Watch? No. Will you want this one? Maybe. Will you eventually get one? More than likely you will end up owning more than one. Why? Because while this “thing” may be a watch today, there is absolutely no reason why this rectangular piece of metal and glass cannot be a pendant, bracelet, badge, buckle, button, etc tomorrow.
Apple hasn’t introduced a watch. They have introduced a whole new category of connected devices. We have a feeling that this is the true moment of “the Internet of Things.”