My Thoughts on Apple Watch

I’ve had an Apple Watch for almost a full work week now, and I’ve formed a variety of opinions. What I can tell you up front is that I really like this device, and have no buyers remorse. The Apple Watch does a lot of things really well, and a few things not-so-well. Here are twelve personal observations about the Apple Watch that I’d like to share with you.

1: The Apple Watch is at its best when you don’t try to force it into your workflow. Just let it come naturally and you will have the best experience. Listen to our latest episode of Let’s Talk iOS to hear my in-depth thoughts on this matter.

2: If you can, opt for the 42mm version. It’s easier to read on screen text, features more elements on screen at once, and it’s not so much bigger than the 38mm that it looks goofy, even on individuals with small wrists.

3: Don’t take a shower with it, despite what others may say.

4: Purchase a good pair of Bluetooth headphones. You’re going to need it for using the watch solo without an iPhone. Speaking of that, did you know that you can use your Apple Watch standalone for lots of different things?

5: While you’re at it, plan on buying a watch stand. The inductive charger is nice, especially the one that comes with the Apple Watch collection, but having a proper stand will look much better.

Watch our Apple Watch unboxing

6: The Carousel Home screen interface, while doubtlessly pined over for countless hours, still feels a bit unpolished. Trying to zoom into an app and launch it using the Digital Crown feels forced and inaccurate. It’s definitely one of my least favorite parts about the Apple Watch interface thus far.

7: Keep glances to a minimum. That way, you’re not swiping through 15 glances to find the exact one that you want. At this point I find most third-party glances to be useless, in fact I only have one enabled—Dark Sky. In addition, I use the stock Settings, Music, Heart Rate, and Power glances.

8: Setup Apple Pay and use it. It’s arguably a reason enough alone to buy an Apple Watch, especially if you have an older device lacking Apple Pay support natively, like an iPhone 5. Apple Pay seems to work even better from an Apple Watch than it does from my iPhone 6 Plus. It’s very impressive.

9: It’s obvious that Apple has had the Apple Watch in mind for quite some time. Many of its decisions—things like Apple Pay and Handoff—make so much more sense now that the Apple Watch is here. That’s not to say that they didn’t make sense before, but it’s obvious that these aren’t just random decisions by Cupertino—they’re part of a bigger plan.

10: Use the double-press on the Digital Crown often. This lets you quickly switch between two apps; it’s really handy, since I find the Carousel Home screen interface to be so frustrating.

11: I like the idea of the Digital Crown, but I’m not entirely sold on its being used as a Home button. It’s awkward to use in this way with a single finger, so I find myself pinching the device between my thumb and index finger, which gets a little cumbersome at times. I almost wish there was a Home button on the bottom side of the device that you could easily press with your thumb.

12: The Sport band may not look as good as some of the other options, but it’s so much better than you might expect. I think I actually prefer the Apple Watch Sport band over any of the other bands from a functionality standpoint. It’s super-comfortable, water resistant, and lightweight. It, coupled with the Aluminum Apple Watch Sport, will never weigh you down. Also, if you can, opt for the Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch over the Silver Aluminum. Both look good, but the former has a higher end look about it for the same cost.

Of course, I have many more observations, many which were discussed on our last episode of Let’s Talk iOS. What are your observations about Apple Watch thus far? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts.

  • socrates

    My Watch previously said it was shipping May 13th to 27th. I got an email today stating that it should deliver tomorrow, and UPS My Choicr says from between 10am – 2pm. I’m in class from 8am – 5pm, so I’ll pre-sign.

    But I do agree that the Digital Crown should be relocated. I can’t picture having to put my hand in the position. I’ll update once I give it a try though.

    • Alex

      And here I am with 4/24-5/8 shipping time and items still processing…

      • Jake Platt

        Really!? Wow that’s ridiculous dude. I had 12/5-27/5 shipping time and it arrived on my doorstep today.

      • Chris Coleman

        Mine was until yesterday, then suddenly it went from preparing for dispatch to dispatched and I should receive it today…keep the faith

    • Gerardo Castro

      What model, if I may ask? Mine is still saying from 5/13-5/20

      • socrates

        Entry level for me; 38mm Sport, Space Grey. Lesson I’ve learned is to take the shipping “estimations” just as they are: “estimations.”

      • Gerardo Castro

        The next day form when I sent my first comment I had gotten a shipping confirmation. This is my 2nd day with my 42 mm space grey. Love it. It is worth the wait, my friend.

      • socrates

        Approaching the second full work-week with mine. I truly cannot see how some people think this is anything but the most convenient thing Apple’s ever produced.

    • Twyler

      It’s because you’re a developer and they matched your Apple ID for being a Developer to your order. They did the same for me.

      • lukemul69

        My sister isn’t a developer hers was supposed to be due first week of june, she got it on launch day. Mine said 24-8 I’m getting mine tomorrow and I’m registered as a dev.

      • socrates

        Ah. That would make perfect sense.
        Except I’m no developer. Possibly just one of the lucky ones.
        I placed my pre-order at x:05, as the pre-orders launched at x:01. Could be some logic there.

    • Fanboy 

      Dont presign, call UPS and tell them to hold it for pickup and just go to the local UPS store to pick it up. Unless you’re comfortable having it on your doorstep until 5pm, but personally I didnt take the risk.

  • Andres

    Still debating if I should buy it or not. I’m set on the 42mm stainless model w/ black sport band. But not sure if I should buy it… It’s looks a little too chunky although I know it really isn’t. I feel like the watch with all its health capabilities should be water proof. And a second gen Apple Watch could be much improved from the first but who knows. Also, looking at shipping dates in June it might be better to wait till next April.

    What do you guys think?

    • Eli Montoya

      I’ve played with it for 2 days. Gave it right back. I’m an outgoing person and I do not think this will play along with my lifestyle.

      • Merman123

        What does being outgoing have to do with the Apple Watch?

      • Eli Montoya

        Call me crazy… I guess I just dont have patience for life on a tiny screen. I do everything you can do on the watch 10x faster on my phone.

      • TwinSon

        I’d love to get one but I already have an iPad Air 2, 6+, and RMBP(2014). I think I’m alright with Apple products for the moment. And I refuse to give up my JB, but I’ll consider the Gen 2 version when it comes around but as of right now I’m a no go.

      • Fanboy 

        People who try using Instagram, Twitter, etc. on the phone dont understand the concept. It’s not suppose to replace your iPhone. Personally it’s helped me pick up my phone less. I see all messages, phone calls etc. on my phone and instead of having to check my phone consistently I can raise my wrist up and decide if the notification I just got is important enough to stop what im currently doing.

      • Eli Montoya

        You bought a watch to tell you if you got a notification?!?!? Well, I’m glad to hear your phone is always away from your sight. Mine is in my hand, on the table, or if im busy or I don’t wanna use it.. I simply don’t reply or respond. I’m jb. Different vibrations and ringtones tell me what app it is and who it is. I guess I’m set.

      • Fanboy 

        Yep! That way whenever I’m at work, or at the gym, or doing anything like washing my car and my phone is away from me I am able to see whats going on still and if I choose I can reply from my wrist. I could be working out and I get a call and I can answer and take a quick 30-second phone call there. Different ringtones and vibrations wouldnt tell me who and what a person texted me so that doesnt help me whatsoever.

      • Eli Montoya

        Sounds like your life relies on this watch. I can hear my phone ringing when I wash my car. I am allowed to use my phone at work so that’s not an issue. I too can answer calls! with my headphones, and without having wandering ears listening to my 30 second conversation. Funny how life works.

      • Fanboy 

        Exactly, you can hear it ringing and now if you want to know if its an important call or not you have to stop what you’re doing and go check your phone to see if to answer or not vs just lifting up your wrist to decide in 2 seconds.

      • Chindavon

        You should have sold it locally or eBay. You can get twice as much back for it.

    • Antzboogie

      Just wait until the second generation comes out, but if you really want one get the sports model. The battery is just horrible.

      • Andres

        Oh my gosh the battery too. Yea I’ll get the second gen. I’m not about to drop $600 now on a watch I’m not satisfied with and then get the new one again next year which is another $600. Thanks

      • Chindavon

        Once an announcement of the second Gen comes out, and pre-orders for it starts looming, you should just wait for the 3rd gen.

      • Merman123

        But when the 3rd gen comes out , you might as well wait for the 4th gen.

  • Frizzle

    i agree with 3rd party glances. it’s very slow and not well optimized. also to save battery i would turn off location for watch faces in iPhone to save batter. it’s only useful if you care about moon phases and sunset.

    • Gregg

      What about driving directions? I usually keep my location services off on the phone, to save the battery. Will the location services work on the watch with them turned off on the phone? Or vice versa? Or you have to have them on on both?

      • Frizzle

        Well turning location off on phone will turn off location on watch. It doesn’t work the other way around. And if you need anything that requires location on the watch it will not function unless you give that app permission. Hope that helps.

  • Rupinder

    I love the space grey!

  • Tommy Gumbs

    Thank you for this article. Interesting points. I too did not feel comfortable with the digital crown while using it in the store. It good to know that it’s not just me.

  • Omar Ruiz

    My recommendation to you, if that’s your black sport 42mm Jeff, is to go to the Apple Store and try out the black leather band on it. It looks amazing IMO. It gives it a premium look. And it doesn’t have the odd contrast in color of the stainless steel clips that would other wise make it miss-match. That’s what I got (:

    • [RΞCØИ1]

      Can you change the direction of how the end piece of the strap goes? Like on traditional watches the end (flap) goes away from you’re body instead of towards you.

      • raulortiz318

        My guess is yes, its just be a matter of switching the wrap direction, or swapping how the bands are inserted on the body. Not 100% though as I don’t have in hand.

      • Omar Ruiz

        Yes you can

    • That looks really good.

      • Omar Ruiz

        It really does

  • Justin O.

    Very helpful article, Jeff. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jamessmooth

    I REALLY like the idea of a home button on the bottom side of the watch. Pushing the digital crown makes sense in theory, but is sort of a pain in reality.
    I agree with pretty much everything you said, ESPECIALLY about the sport band. It is SO comfortable.

  • [RΞCØИ1]

    Not to sound rude but I’m not sure what you’re deal is with pressing the Digital Crown in. I know you don’t really wear watches but any other watch to press a side button (even the pebble) you’d have to use a two finger method. One to hold onto the side of the watch and the other to press the button. Or am I wrong on this?

    I am excited to try out Apple Pay though. Makes me wonder though why on the phone Passbook automatically comes up at the lockscreen when in proximity of the NFC terminal and something like that can’t happen on the watch?

    • raulortiz318

      I had the Space Grey 42mm for a day before selling it. I can attest to the Digital crown being a bit annoying to use. I think it would be more beneficial to have a 2 finger tap (or 2 finger force press) to get to the home screen.

      I hope software continues to improve to the point where you don’t have to go to the home screen at all. I found myself tapping the complications on the watch face or glances to get to different apps of the Watch because I wanted to avoid the home screen as much as possible.

  • Alberto Espinal

     needs to implement most of the  Watch features into the iPhone, just because by the time the next version of the iPhone arrives people are going to be more familiar with these features and please  implement ForceTouch to the iPhone!!!!

  • Shaul Mano

    i got mine to Boston… 2 days ago but im still waiting to someone travel to Israel….hope to have it in the next 2 weeks.

  • Kr00

    Great piece, especially the advice on letting the watch fit into your workflow naturally.

  • Sohail Wahab

    Nice choice, sport edition black aluminum with black band

  • Sohail Wahab

    The must have feature for the watch should’ve been speaking time