Apple Watch face

I told you last week that I had an Apple Watch on order and that to get to that point I had gone through a few different emotions before eventually landing on one that had me rather excited about Apple’s first wearable and the future that it could have. As I write this I have had my Apple Watch on my wrist for a little over a full day, and I thought someone somewhere might be interested in how I feel about the purchase. I also wanted to share one or two things I have noticed after spending my first day with the Apple Watch, too.

For those who may not have read my previous Apple Watch musings, I flip-flopped between not caring about the wearable and being stupendously giddy about it. After ordering and then trying the thing on in an Apple Store, I was left eagerly anticipating the delivery of my very own Apple Watch Sport in Space Grey, with black band. Turned out I managed to pre-order at the right time and with the wind blowing in the right direction too, because it came on launch day. Not everyone was so lucky.

The first thing you notice about the Apple Watch and something that is driven home during the first days of use is that the fluoroelastomer band is actually surprisingly nice to wear. It’s not going to stand up to some of the leather or metal bands as far as looks are concerned, but it’s probably more comfortable on the wrist and it has to be said, doesn’t look cheap. For what is ostensibly a rubber band, I was worried I would be counting down to days until my leather loop arrived. As it stands, it’s crossed my mind to cancel that order all together.

Set up is easy as can be, though I had to use the manual configuration system that used a numerical code as authentication because the watch wouldn’t show me the fancy blue globe QR code whatsit that I was supposed to scan with my iPhone. It just didn’t draw on the screen, leaving me to try and scan a black screen. A timely reminder before I even got started that this is still very much a version 1.0 product. Still, onwards we go.

After spending longer than I care to admit trying to decide on which watch face to use, I set about installing all the apps that I wanted. It’s at this point that I found myself making two decisions. The first was to decide which apps I actually wanted on my wrist. This isn’t a simple case of installing everything with an Apple Watch component because note everything suits being on a watch. Being discerning about what kinds of apps you use is something I’ve spoken about before, and I think it’s going to be important moving forward.

In the end I installed a handful of apps. More will no doubt get installed in due course.

The second decision revolved around glances. Accessible via a pull-up shade when the watch face is in view, glances are best described as Notification Center widgets for your wrist. Glance-able – see what they did there? – data lives here, and it can be very useful indeed. Not all Apple Watch apps have a glance, and of those that do, you won’t want to enable them all. Again, it’s worth being a little more picky at this point because the more glances you use, the more power you’re draining and the more CPU time you’re tying up.

Speaking of power and CPU, I haven’t noticed too much slowdown yet. The odd app has thrown me a spinning progress wheel with no end in sight, but a close and relaunch has sorted that and I’m putting it down to buggy software rather than anything hardware related. I know some people have gone on and on about Apple Watch apps being slow, but so far I haven’t found myself unduly concerned about how long it is taking for things to happen, even when using location data being fed in by my iPhone.

As far as power is concerned, the battery life on this thing has been stellar so far. Supposedly rated to last around 18 hours on a full charge, I’m finding that after about 16 hours of use, I have almost 40% of my battery remaining. That was the case for the first 24 hours of use and it’s looking very much on the cards for the second, too. Given the likelihood that I’m using the thing more than usual thanks to the novelty of it all, I’m rather pleased with how the battery on the Apple Watch is turning out.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my iPhone.

Pre-Apple Watch I would routinely see my iPhone 6 go through a day’s use without charging. That means around 16 hours or more without needing to be plugged in. Since I got the Apple Watch, that has dramatically reduced. The first day of Apple Watch usage saw my iPhone die after just 13 hours. That’s with neither the watch nor the iPhone being used for a solid 3 or so hours because I was at a football game, too. This is hopefully a case of software optimization, and once true Apple Watch apps arrive, the watch and phone shouldn’t need to talk to each other quite so much, thus saving battery. Time will tell in this regard, and all we can do is cross our fingers and hope.

Other notes from my first day include:

  • Nobody has noticed I have an Apple Watch yet, and as a result I haven’t either been mugged or told how awesome I am for having it.
  • I made my first Dick Tracey call using the watch and it worked well. Will I use it beyond the first few days though? No, probably not.
  • If you happen to be using EE in the UK, having Wi-Fi calling turned on seems to affect making calls from your watch. Or at least it did for me. It just wouldn’t work.
  • Yes you get a lot of notifications if you tell your iPhone to send them. Turn them off, and you won’t. Who’d have thought?
  • The Apple Watch is comfy. Whether that be down to the band choice or the fact I’m using the light Sport option, I don’t know. All I know is I haven’t worn a watch for years and I’m not finding myself desperate to take this one off.
  • Speaking of the Sport band, I had read reports of it being difficult to put on and take off. And it is. If you only have one hand.
  • The Mickey Mouse watch face is silly.
  • Did I mention the battery is awesome?
  • That magnetic charger is awesome, and we need the iPhone to get the same technology as soon as possible. The iPad I’m not so sure about, but the iPhone is a no-brainer. Make it so, Apple.
  • Force Touch is all well and good, but I keep forgetting it exists and even when I do remember it, I don’t know where it can be used. Maybe that’s my sieve-like memory, but it might also be poor user interface design. I’ll let you decide that one.
  • Being able to shout ‘Hey Siri’ and then ask it to set a timer for something you just put into the oven may be something I could have done with the iPhone or iPad, but there’s something undeniably magical about doing it with a watch. Shouting ‘Hey Siri, show me my timer’ is just as awesome as well.
  • Bulleted lists in blog posts can go on forever.
  • I’m glad I didn’t spend $500+ on one of these things.

And there’s the rub. As a version 1.0, the Apple Watch is very good indeed, and it could certainly find a corner of my life in which to live. It still might, but right now I’m back in the mood where I’m not 100% sold on keeping the thing. I want to, because it’s super cool and having the thing on your wrist is awesome. But it’s not cheap, and it’s missing features while some of the features it does have need tweaking here and there to either fine tune, or simply rework completely. Ultimately I think I’ll stick it out and wait to see where the Apple Watch goes over the coming weeks and months as Apple, and third-party developers, start to get comfortable with what can and cannot be done with this little computer.

In the mean time, it’s great for walking around the supermarket with a shopping list!

  • Merman123

    When you say you are unsure about keeping it, do you mean you are going to return it, or sell it? It seems like the only thing you don’t like is the price? Also i’d say give your phone a couple of days for it to settle. I have a feeling it is being drained heavily right now because of all the back and forth that is involved with setting it up and installing new apps.

    • He outlined everything he felt good and bad about the watch and it’s not just the price.

      • Merman123

        What else? I just re-read the article.

      • Wifi calling messes it up, not enough features and current features need work, apps freezing and his iPhone dies significantly faster.

  • johnsm

    38 or 42mm? I heard battery on 42 is better than 32’s

    • Pokeh321

      It is better but all of Apples tests were done on the 38mm.

  • Pokeh321

    I think all the additions to the stainless steel model is going to justify my purchase of it.

    • Tommy Gumbs

      I doubt it. I think many people will eventually realize they spent way to much money on it. But others will feel different.

      • Pokeh321

        Considering all over the sport it has more and looks better

  • Tommy Gumbs

    Thank you for a real post. This was a great read.

  • Max

    My iMessage text notifications are not showing up on my apple watch! Yes I select all the options on the watch up. Not sure what else to do 🙁 I get all the other notifications.

    • Merman123

      Do you have two step verification set up?

      • Max

        Ummmm I don’t think so

  • Mustang5Oh

    Great article! Good to see some REAL thoughts not just Apple-fan thoughts. I love Apple stuff and only own Apple stuff but I won’t buy this version at all. I LOVE my Pebble and the Pebble Time looks better to me for my needs and the price is also better than the Apple Watch. I’m hoping the next Apple Watch is thinner and has more than a day of battery life. It’s great having my Pebble last over a week without needing to be plugged in.

    • Tommy Gumbs

      I’m really considering getting a pebble. I went to the Apple Store and played with the apple watch……too much money for what it does/doesn’t do. Plus I want something I can take swimming. The pebble can.

      • Merman123

        Should be an easy choice then 🙂

      • Tommy Gumbs

        In all honestly I’m waiting to see what luck people have with the Apple watch and swimming before I make the final choice. Lol.

  • Brandon Higgins

    There are three reasons i really want this. I don’t communicate very often except by email, but what i do want is to easily be able to open my door and turn on/off my lights. That and checking time at work is top three for me.

  • “Nobody has noticed I have an Apple Watch yet, and as a result I haven’t either been mugged or told how awesome I am for having it.”

    This. The biggest reason I’m not getting the Watch is because of mugging and/or ridicule by friends who don’t even understand NORMAL watch culture.

  • Mallouk Malek

    me me me hahahahahaha

  • Mallouk Malek

    Normal watches increase their value with time
    I don’t think the apple watch will (or any other alternative), it will be an electronic gadget that will be outdated within few years.

    Real watches after 10 years will have an increase valuer not only for money but morally and spiritually, I mean imagine grandpa gave you his old watch!!!

    • Jeff Maxwell

      Uh, no. With very few exceptions, normal watches do not increase in value over the years – especially when adjusted for inflation. I’m a watch guy and have a collection of nice watches – many of which are classics. Those that I bought used have held their value but none have increased in value. And new watches are like new cars – they lose an immense amount of value the moment they leave the store.

      There are a few exceptions to this rule but you have to luck into them. My father owned a first generation Omega Speedmaster that would be worth significant money today. But if you bought some subsequent generation models, they haven’t increased in value at all after you account for inflation. Nice watches have about the same chance of increasing in value as nice cars. It happens but it’s not routine.

      I know this is a popular misconception. But a misconception it is.

  • Nirvana

    Although Apple advertised Force Touch is a flagship on the Watch, it still seems like a hidden feature, need telling every time I want to do something that requires the feature, a failure at this point I think!

  • Onur Gözüpek

    Would you like to gift your Apple Watch to one of your followers if you didn’t like to use it? 🙂

  • Dave Small

    Magnetic charger wont happen for the iPhone as it needs a strongish magnet inside the device for alignment. Put that in an iPhone and we’re all going to have wiped credit cards. I know there’s Apple Pay, before anyone mentions that, but it will be a very long time before that’s adopted outside of the Americas.

  • Jeff Maxwell

    Totally concur about emotional value. I lust after watches for a reason.

  • David Bloodgood

    I got my watch the day they came out. No, there’s no significant lag time to see the time. The battery lasts more than a day and I use it a lot. Notifications are easily controlled and not overwhelming. My first phone call was to Thailand–perfect reception and good audio. Its great for the iMessage (especially with customized responses). I’ve used the maps on a short trip and love the wrist tap for directions. Health apps make me feel lazy and might even serve to push me towards more exercise. Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased.
    Is it an essential purchase? Probably not—is an iPad really essential if you have a phone and computer? (Remember when SNL did a skit saying the IPad would end up being a serving tray for drinks?) The Apple watch is a great addition to existing technology, fun to use, helpful,practical, and eventually will become second nature to its owners. All the nay-sayers and the critics–especially the ones who don’t have one—can continue disparaging the watch, but my bet is, its absolutely here to stay and will get better and better. Relax–there will soon be a new Apple product to malign and serve as a target for doomsday predictions for apple. All will be well.

  • ieatcalcium

    I wish that apple would stop being dumb and just use the standards that are already out there- like qi charging.