Yesterday I did something I haven’t done before. I forgot to put my Apple Watch on when I left the house for work. That meant being about 14 hours without my watch. over half a day with no wearable notifications, or fitness tracking, or quick replies to messages. For the first time since April 24th, I was Apple Watchless.
And I was kind of pleased.
The reason was that I now had chance to see just how used to the Apple Watch I had become. My failing memory had given me the opportunity to spend a working day away from the Apple Watch to find out just how engrained it was in my daily life, and importantly, whether I would miss it or not.
At first, apart from my initial irritation that I managed to forget to pick it up, I didn’t miss the Apple Watch at all. Before it arrived a month ago, I hadn’t worn a watch in around 8 years so not having one strapped to my arm wasn’t as alien as it might be for some. I suppose that’s how I managed to forget it in the first place, because if I was more used to having a watch on, I might have noticed it was missing sooner. Whatever the ins and outs of the situation, I was facing a day without my Apple Watch, checking my iPhone for notifications like some sort of animal.
Oh the indignity!
Initially, I didn’t really notice that I didn’t have my Apple Watch with me. Sure, I was conscious of the fact that I was pressing the Home button of my iPhone to check the time or for notifications while it sat on the desk, but that was it. The sky didn’t fall in, my arm didn’t fall off, and the world kept on spinning even while my Apple Watch sat on the shelf at home.
But then I started receiving messages and Twitter replies as a couple of conversations sparked. My iPhone started bleeping with alarming regularity and I found myself checking it more often than I really needed to, but I felt compelled to because it was shouting at me. Like a baby crying, it’s impossibly difficult to ignore an iPhone which is so desperate for your attention.
And then I realized that the Apple Watch would have stopped all that. Instead of all the distracting noises and perceived requirement to check notifications, the Apple Watch would have tapped me on the wrist and then gone away, keen to let me finish what I was doing. The Apple Watch is so much better at letting you know that sure, there’s something for you to look at, but you can do it on your own terms. No need to stop everything to find out that someone has sent you a message on Twitter.
There are offshoots of this too. When I was checking notifications on my iPhone, I found myself replying to tweets or messages when I didn’t need to because they could have waited. What’s worse is I then ended up browsing Twitter or tapping a link that took me further away from what I was meant to be doing. People talk about the Apple Watch reducing distractions but it’s true, it really does.
At the end of the day I went home with my initial beliefs confirmed. The Apple Watch is not something any of us need, and not having one isn’t going to ruin your life by any stretch of the imagination. If you do have one though, I’m willing to bet that you’ll feel a little off should you not wear it for a day. You might not be able to quite put your finger on what’s wrong at first, but it will dawn on you soon enough. The Apple Watch has found a little hole in my world and while it’s not going to change lives, just plugging that hole can make a difference.
I’m still not convinced that apps are the Apple Watch’s forte, and that may never change even when “real apps” arrive after WWDC, but if receiving notifications of things happening and then triaging the resulting information sounds like something you do a lot of, then the Apple Watch may just fill a hole for you as well.
If you own an Apple Watch and have worn it every day for a couple of weeks at least, I challenge you to go a day without it and see how you get on. I’m not going to say that people don’t know what they’ve got until it’s gone, but I have a sneaky suspicion most will want to make sure they put their Apple Watch on the next day.
I know I did.