I was one of the lucky ones to get that shipping message telling me I would receive the Apple Watch on launch day last Friday the 24th. We at M&B had been working on a couple of prototype watch apps for a few clients but without an actual watch on hand, it can be challenging to fully realize common interactions and best design an experience for it. I was happy that mine came early, but even more so that it will be able to help our clients be first to market with a couple of solutions.
Five days into wearing the watch constantly and I’ve formed some opinions on good and bad features that maybe you don’t think of off the bat. I’ve tried to use it pretty extensively to get a good feel for all of the bells and whistles. Here are some thoughts.
-As a leftie it is nice that they set up the watch to be oriented for either hand. I wish they would do the same for ITunes on the iPhone6.
-The most useful app so far has been Maps. Now instead of looking down at your phone for the next turn, you receive force feedback on your wrist. A vibration that gets more prominent as your turn approaches makes it easy not to miss a turn and keeps your eyes on the road.
-Apple Pay is even easier as I’ve used it at Starbucks and McDonalds. You just tap twice on the button and hold your watch up to the reader and done. No fiddling with a card or unlocking your phone. Frictionless and easy.
-Activity tracker is a nice reminder to get up from your seat (as it just dinged me since I’ve been sitting down to write) also tracking your calorie burn and steps, it quickly replaced my FitBit as it has the same functionality with all the additional features.
-Alerts, little vibrations that don’t necessarily turn on the screen are a nice design choice. It allows you to check on your own time and it doesn’t light up say if you were in a dark theatre. Each one has a unique vibration pattern that I’m still learning.
-Phone calls are surprisingly good, clear in a quiet room and the people on the other line have no problems hearing you, I assumed they would be much harder to complete.
-Battery life so far has been much better than advertised; I haven’t had a problem making it through the day with moderate to heavy use.
-Being used to the snappy performance of the iPhone 6, the watch is a little slower to move, like an old iPhone 3g or 4. Apps take a minute to pull up and sometimes the screen needs a second before being reactive. I’m sure this will improve as updates come out.
-Force touch takes a little getting used to. I assumed it was a hard long push but really what the watch is looking for is a hard quick tap as opposed to a light tap we are all familiar with.
-Third party apps are pretty limited in what they do at this point, not a lot of innovation or extra functionality outside of their companion phone apps. I know with will change with time and as Apple allows third parties to use native functions.
-Although they do provide a number of different faces to choose from and little “complications” you can add, I would like to see a few more modern looking watch face choices as opposed to mimicking a diver or other traditional feeling watch.
-Siri is helpful but again a little slow sometimes on the uptake. Especially compared to the speedy Amazon Echo device I’m also evaluating. I’m assuming this will increase in short order as well.
Overall I’m happy with my purchase and looking forward to what third party developers create, including us! I know I’m one of the early adopters and sometimes that can come back to bite you, but in this case I don’t feel like I bought a lemon. I’ve been more pleasantly surprised than disappointed so if you are considering one I would make the leap and pick one up. I see a ton of potential use cases for making the watch even more essential as time goes on.