Apple Watch: Still holding out after two weeks, Swiss delight still in bottom drawer
The new steel-and-sportsband Apple Watch has been on my wrist for two weeks now. I like it nearly as much as I thought I would. The previous bit of crack, my beautiful IWC Pilot’s Chronograph, is still sitting in a drawer and, if I am honest, I don’t know when I will next take it out.
John Biggs, writing for TechCrunch, neatly sums up my feelings:
As TechCrunch’s resident watch nerd, I have been asked many times if I’m swapping my Omegas and Seikos and JLCs for the Apple Watch. And I have. I honestly have. I’ve worn the Apple Watch every day since I got it and I don’t know when I’m going to strap on a mechanical next. It’s the saddest thing in the world for me to say but, after years of calling each and every smartwatch nice but not necessary, I’ve finally succumbed to this shiny bauble for a number of reasons.
I said I like the Apple Watch nearly as much as I expected. It does have one big problem and one not-so-big fault. I never realised just how often I glance down at a mechanical watch for confirmation of time or date. I now know that it is dozens of times a day and this is where the Apple Watch gets frustrating. A glance at the watch doesn’t bring it to life; all you get is a bland black screen staring back at you. You have to raise your hand or flick your wrist (the most reliable action) to see the face spring to life. This is a bummer for anyone who is used to a wrist watch. That second or so rather kills the spontaneity of checking the time.
The second problem is related. Lifting the wrist doesn’t always work and, occasionally, I have to resort to tapping the screen to bring it to life.
I like the range of features, particularly the fitness applications which work well. I like to be able to see messages and emails as they arrive without having to haul the iPhone 6-Plus out of my pocket. I also appreciate the ability to reply to text messages with stock phrases (including six I have written myself) and the speech-to-text facility is a boon.
Initially I had worried that I would be so addicted to fitness tracking and other features that I would be unable to leave home without the Watch. To a large degree I have overcome that fear. The Watch does very little that the iPhone cannot do. Indeed, without an iPhone it is just an expensive bauble. I realise that the iPhone, which I have with me constantly, will continue to monitor steps and fitness. Indeed, I have now shed my addiction for the manual Omron pedometer that has been a fixture in my right-hand trouser pocket for the past five years. I have gone all digital.
In time, this belt-and-braces approach may encourage me to take out the IWC on special occasions without feeling too deprived. I shall certainly not sell it.
Siri, wherefore art thou
My relationship with Siri-in-the-watch is strained. Many times the normally obliging genie doesn’t hear me. He’s always deaf when I try to demonstrate his amazing ability to send a text message purely by command. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but Siri does need a bit of a boot up the backside.
Glances (app displays that are permanently available for a-swiping of) are a brilliant way of accessing quick facts, such as steps, heartbeat, stock prices and weather. I’ve even downloaded a mini financial app, Pennies, that allows me to record petty cash and credit-card expenditure while on the hoof. When Apple Pay arrives in England I shall be complete.
Beam me up, Scotty
Strangely, the one thing I thought I wouldn’t use is the one that impresses most. It’s the ability to answer phone calls from the watch, again without dragging the phone from the pocket. It works well, despite the tinny speaker and the need to hold the watch to the face, midway between the speaking bits and the hearing bits. I have had quite a few beam-me-up-Scotty moments in the past two weeks, not to mention a few bemused glances from strangers. If I were 20 years old this would be considered normal behaviour. But at my age it is decided eccentricity. Nevertheless, this it is a useful feature.
The construction of my steel watch is faultless. I still think the device looks more like a miniature iPhone strapped to the wrist rather than a real watch, but does this really matter? Also, because of the square format, it seems larger than my standard, round 42mm watch. It looks great however and, when my Milanese Loop arrives (in “five to six weeks”), it will even more resemble the dog’s organs.
Now it’s reminding me to stand. Better comply, finish this post and then get on with the business of the day.