If you have any interest in the Apple Watch1, you’ve probably already read various reviews and they all have mostly the same things to say. They say it’s a good watch, and that being a watch is its core purpose. They say it’s not a replacement for your phone, but it’s very good for dealing with the little notifications you get throughout the day. They say battery life is better than expected. They say most of the third-party apps so far suck; they say it’s comfortable, surprisingly small, and overall feels very nice. They say you don’t need one, but you might want one. They say if you’re on the fence, wait for version two, which will certainly be better.
Those things are all true, and I agree with pretty much all of them. It tells time, the watch faces look good and the various “complications” are handy, and it usually turns on when you look at it2. As long as you spend some time configuring which notifications you get on the watch, the notifications are great—less obtrusive, more convenient, and easier to interact with and/or dismiss than notifications on your phone. Sitting here at almost 10pm, my battery is at 58%, and I’ve had it on since about 6am. Third-party apps are slow to load and most try to do too much. It feels very nice. I don’t need it, but I like it. And the next one will be better, but not as good as the one after that. Of course.
So what’s surprising?
The activity tracking aspect is surprisingly fun, useful, and motivating. I never wore a FitBit, etc., but I run, and walk around, and, like, kayak maybe?, and the goals and little nudges from the watch are simple and effective.
I answered a phone call on it, Dick Tracy style, and everyone laughed but it worked great. Then I picked up my phone and the call seamlessly transferred. The future!
It’s making my text messaging persona a little less jaded and cynical. When a coworker asks me if I want them to get me a coffee, one of the suggested responses is “absolutely,” and I’ve been using that one in nearly every situation. I’m enjoying my newfound enthusiasm, and I can only assume they are too.
I also like sending people completely ridiculous animated emoji that just scream and scream in their messages app forever.
On Friday I used it to buy a bottle of gin. It was delicious.
Overall, it’s a fancy digital watch that helps me stay connected to some things and people I find important at home or at work, while letting me look at my phone a bit less, and so far it’s giving me a little extra motivation to achieve some minimum amount of exercise every day. It's unnecessary but convenient. It's a watch. I’m keeping it.