I’ve been wearing the Apple Watch all day for six days now.  I have to say that the advanced reviews I read that said it took a few days to get used to were true. I do feel like we’re still in the early days of courtship, as we get to know each other better.  There are pros, cons, and things that need to be tweaked over time to get the watch to work best for you. I’m not particularly surprised, since this happens with any device, including phones, as you learn new features and ways to get things done efficiently.

Word to the Wise. Watch the Videos.  I’m serious.

I’m usually not one to sit through “intro to your new gadget” videos, so I skipped them at first with the watch.  This is a bit of a mistake, since the hints they give you will really make learning how to use the watch a LOT easier. Save yourself some frustration, and watch the videos.

One of the first things to know is that most of the adjustments to the watch apps actually takes place on the iPhone watch app, including adjustment of where the app icons appear, and which ones are shown.  Watch versions of apps I already had on my iPhone were automatically downloaded, but many of them I don’t need to see on a daily basis.  For example, several travel apps, including a map of the London Tube system and currency exchange apps, I don’t use every day, so those can be safely “not shown” on the watch. I can always add them in right before a trip.

High Points:

Some apps, designed especially for the watch, are wonderful.

  •  For example, I have to keep time on several projects I work on, so the watch/phone app Hours, is perfect.  I can set up a few categories, and then as I start to work, just tap the timer, and then tap it again as I finish working on that particular project.  It is so much easier than opening and closing other time keeping programs.
  • The Activity app is doing a great job reminding me to stand and move around more with a gentle nudge, and I love that.  When we moved mulch yesterday, it recorded all of that activity, and steps exercising on the treadmill- it is like the Nike Fuelband with more two-way communication.
  • I downloaded the Water Balance app, and that’s helping me keep track of water vs. other beverages and is encouraging me to drink more water, so that’s a plus as well.
  • I haven’t had a great opportunity to use Apple Pay yet, but I am excited to try.
  • Messages has been a useful way to quickly dictate a text or send a quick reply without digging out the phone.  The voice recognition seems a bit better than on the phone alone.
  • I’ve enjoyed messing around with the different watch faces, but I have to say, I love the flower face the best.  I also have another face customized for more business purposes.
  • Only one of my friends currently has a watch, that I know of.  Sending sketches/nudges, taps from here to Boston is fun.  However, I think you could find this “silly” feature very useful in meetings, where you want to let your coworker know something without being obvious about it. Think drawing a circle with a slash like a no smoking sign to let them know an idea is a no go…I can see this being useful when there are several folks with watches around the office.
  • The maps app is really useful, but the ways to interact with it through hard pushes, etc. aren’t always intuitively obvious.  This is one of those examples where watching the video is incredibly helpful.
  • The To Do list app called Clear works well on the watch and is one of my favorites as well.

The ability to quickly ping the phone when it’s somewhere in my purse, making it easier to find is a nice, simple touch I appreciate.

Because the watch keeps track of events and sets those little physical reminders before meetings, it’s causing me to be better about keeping all of my calendar dates written down, rather than counting on my memory alone to remind me.  It’s also super easy to add things to the calendar with Siri on the fly.

Glances are little information screens you can see without launching the whole app.  You can add and re-prioritize the order of Glances on the iPhone watch app, and it will be reflected on the watch itself.  I’m still moving things around to find the perfect set of glances for daily use, and I’ll get there soon.

Low Points:

  • Mail- don’t think you are going to get anything useful out of having email notifications on your wrist.  You will get a snapshot of your email, but other than letting you know whether something important has been sent, any real interaction is still going to need the phone itself.
  • Do not think of web browsing on the watch- that’s not what it’s there for.  You can get Siri to fetch sports scores for you, or even look for a restaurant and provide directions, but web browsing is for your phone or tablet.
  • You will need to adjust your social media notifications so your wrist isn’t buzzing all the time.  I had a bunch of notifications I just didn’t take the time to adjust on the phone because it wasn’t important, and they were easy to ignore.  On the wrist, harder to ignore, but on the plus side, I am saving battery life on both the phone and watch now by getting rid of all those useless pings.
  • I love the look of the milanese loop band, but I think I’m going to appreciate the sports band for most day to day use.  Also I think the lighter, aluminum model, while less stylish, is actually a great choice- the stainless steel version seems a bit heavy sometimes.
  • You can quickly answer phone calls on your wrist, but the sound is horrible.  It’s good for quick triage of incoming calls but you’ll want to use your phone for longer conversations.

Overall impressions:

I do like the watch, and it’s clear we’re forming a long term relationship. I’m not all the way to love, because we’re still getting to know one another.  But I find that I’m not grasping for my phone all the time because I’m getting updates on the watch for important reminders and nudges, and I feel like I am already a little more active and more productive as well from this new “wrist coach”.  I’m more likely to check my activity level, or make sure I calendar everything, because it’s just easier, with less steps, with the watch than the three or four screens on the phone to do the same task.

I’ll keep you updated, but so far- much more useful than Google Glass, less socially isolating, and has lots of potential, especially with travel.

What questions do you have about the Apple Watch? What do you think?