My Year with the Apple Watch
One year ago I found myself in possession of an Apple Watch.
If you asked me last August whether I thought the Apple Watch was ‘worth it’ I probably would have said: No, not exactly. A year down the track and my opinion has started to shift.
As someone who didn’t wear a watch in the first place, I’ll admit that I was a difficult case to please.
Didn’t I at least get a kick out of constantly knowing the time!? Nope.
Unlike traditional watches, I suddenly had this chunky rubber band on my wrist that lit up randomly, vibrated occasionally and never lasted longer than 2 days.
“I suddenly had this chunky rubber band on my wrist that lit up randomly, vibrated occasionally and never lasted longer than 2 days.”
The most impressive moment for me was getting a phone call and unconsciously finding myself impersonating the likes of James Bond, Dick Tracy and Penny from Inspector Gadget.
When travelling abroad I had to drag along another charging device. Hotel hopping presented its own challenges without the added concern of leaving the charger behind.
I constantly fell into the trap of thinking each buzz of the wrist meant I had received an important message. When in actual fact, the Watch just wanted to boss me around: “It’s time to stand!”
The act of checking Watch notifications came with its own social consequences. Non Smart Watch users constantly misinterpreted my body language; mistaking a simple gaze to my wrist as a sign that I was getting impatient or bored. ‘I’m not checking the time. I just got a notification!’ was a phrase I found myself repeating over and over.
‘I’m not checking the time. I just got a notification!’ was a phrase I found myself repeating over and over’.
But as the year rolled on I realised that having an Apple Watch wasn’t all bad. In fact, it was actually growing on me.
For starters, using Maps on the Watch has completely changed my experience of driving with a GPS. I no longer have to deal with an insistent monotone voice telling me to perform U-turns. Nor do I worry that a cop is going to catch me on my phone while driving.
This is due to the Watches’ step by step approach to directions. While this doesn’t sound like anything new, the simplicity of the interface allows for quick, clear and best of all, silent, communication.
It also uses haptic vibrations to indicate that you are within 500 metres of your next turn. This saves constantly staring down street signs you can’t read anyway.
The Watch also has the ability to receive messages, phone calls and social media notifications simultaneously with Maps. This completely eradicates the need to touch your phone while driving.
I’d even go so far as to say that if all provisional and learner drivers were fitted with Apple Watches, the amount of youth related road accidents caused by phone usage while driving would decrease dramatically.
Why? Well the Millennial compulsion to constantly be ‘in the know’ and check notifications is solved with a simple turn of the wrist. Albeit still not ideal, the gaze of someone checking their watch above the steering wheel is much safer than someone looking down at their phone in the middle console.
“…the gaze of someone checking their watch above the steering wheel is much safer than someone looking down at their phone in the middle console”.
Apple Watch also integrates with Siri and allows voice commands like ‘Tell Sophie: ‘See You Soon!’ allowing drivers to send hands free messages.
In April, my Watch suddenly doubled as a credit card.
First introduced to American Express, it was only a matter of time before another one of the big 4 decided to integrate with Apple Pay. Lucky for me it was the ANZ Bank.
Like many, I was suspicious of how secure my money was. What if I accidentally stood too close to the person in front of me? Would the Apple Watch cause me to foot the bill of their weekly shopping?
I quickly found that this was not the case. Payments cannot be made without double tapping the Side button first. The Watch must also be within 1 inch of the terminal which is hard to do accidentally. If someone steals my Watch I can cancel Apple Pay access remotely from my iPhone or via iCloud.com.
Now I have a lot of faith and trust in my Watch. I no longer have to worry about concealing cash from potential on-lookers or rifling through my bag to find my wallet at the last minute. It’s also a great talking point with the Cashier, who is almost always intrigued – ‘Gosh, the technology these days!!’
“I no longer have to worry about concealing cash from potential on-lookers or rifling through my bag to find my wallet at the last minute”.
A year down the track and I am still getting asked ‘Is the Apple Watch worth it?’ Unlike my answer a year ago, I would say yes but make sure your expectations are realistic. The Apple Watch will not replace your iPhone. It will only compliment it. Some features will be down right annoying; others will be life changing.
But I think it’s important to remember that this is just the beginning of wearable technology. It can only get better from here!
Do you have an Apple Watch? Let me know what your favourite features are in the comments below! I’d love to hear your opinions.