With all the buzz currently around the new Apple Watch, I decided to ignore the reviews and try it out for myself over the weekend.
When it first arrived in the office it was an exciting moment – whenever a new Apple product arrives I find there’s a moment where it feels like Christmas all over again, because of the luxurious packaging and knowing what is inside. However, when the Apple Watch arrived I didn’t feel that. Obviously it was going to be carefully wrapped for its long journey, but what came out of the brown sellotaped box was, somewhat, unimpressive. The bland white box (long, heavy and very clunky) wasn’t the usual Apple style… Possibly they wanted less attention on the packaging but rather what was inside – but I feel traditionally Apple has been renowned for its compact and elegant packaging that gets you more excited about the product inside.
Anyway, enough about the packaging – you want to hear about the Watch! We were possibly quite daring and went for the lime green sport band… Because we love green here at AB! It looked radiant in the box (possibly helped by the bland packaging) and of course, we wanted to try it out straight away. Paring it up to my iPhone (remember you need an iPhone 5 or above running iOS 8.2 or later) was a straightforward and quick process. I had the option of including all Apple Watch enabled apps from my phone or choosing to download apps of my choice.
Luckily for me (and my eagerness) I borrowed it for the weekend and used it as much as I possibly could. I happened to be taking a train to London that evening and at a busy Exeter St David’s station, I wondered “would I look stupid or stand out with a chunky green and shiny Watch on my arm?” I did see a few people notice and the Watch and look two or three times – but there was nowhere near the stigma received when people were wearing Google Glasses.
It is rather beautiful to look at and use. The design is slick and very modern – in my opinion unlike any other Watch on the market. For someone who does not wear a Watch day to day, this sat comfortably on my wrist. The touchscreen is very easy to use and the sensitivity is impressive which means it is quick to swipe through your favourite apps.
Not impressive. Be prepared. The Watch itself can last up to a day (possibly less if regularly used) but the other issue is how much battery is being drained from your iPhone. Because the Watch connects to your phone via Bluetooth, this causes the battery to run down much faster and if your phone runs out of battery, then all you have on your wrist is a very expensive wristwatch.
I love the health benefits that Apple Watch offers. Instead of counting steps or calories, the Apple Watch focuses more on your overall health and well-being. Fitness isn’t just about running, biking or hitting the gym. It’s also about being active throughout the day. Providing notifications to stand from your desk, take a break or try a different workout could have major health benefits to certain individuals who sometimes… forget about their health. Negatives? When going for a run and tracking performance with the Watch you require your phone to be with you… Which I think is crazy! Let’s hope the Watch evolves to work without your iPhone close by.
Calls – Probably not the strongest feature of the app. I generally keep my phone on silent, so the gentle vibration of an incoming call on your wrist is a good reminder to pick up, as well as picking up notifications quicker. Answering a call on the device isn’t for everyone, as it is indiscreet, fairly loud and you definitely wouldn’t want to be having a private conversion on the Tube! I do like the fact that this is possible, though.
Texting – Predefined text replies are possible, as well as dictated texts through Siri, which I was quite impressed with. I’ve never been a fan of the “Can’t talk right now. Call me later” style replies but it was good to be able to say a quick note to the Watch and… there were no errors!
Notifications – Loved them. For the first time I actually enjoyed receiving push notifications. They were subtle, just a quick flash on the screen during a meeting to update me on email, social and my remaining schedule for the day. Just a light vibrate on my wrist alerted me that something needed to be reviewed and this can be quickly checked without causing offence in an important meeting.
It has to be the Health app. I’ve never been that concerned about my health and fitness, however over the weekend I checked my stats multiple times to see how active I was during the day. After doing lots of walking all over London I was hoping to see some good results. The Workout App specifically was able to give me more detailed information on for example, a cardio workout.
I think the main question here is, can the Apple Watch currently do enough to justify costs? Although it offers a modern take on day-to-day life, it isn’t currently flexible enough to be a solution for everything. I believe as the Watch continues to evolve it will be adopted more and more and a version that is controllable without an iPhone will help to achieve this. After all, what happens in a mad morning rush when you forget your iPhone but not the Watch?
Author: Chris Shadrick
Chris leads on Digital Strategy and works with our clients to enhance their online communications and uses insight to better understand business challenges. His enthusiasm for new technology and digital means he can lead and develop a clear Digital Marketing Strategy for all our clients and has experience working across multiple sectors. Chris is Google Certified, which means he knows his Panda from his Penguin and runs digital campaigns that achieve results. He also runs a fast-growing digital networking group in Exeter and will also be lecturing at the University of Exeter on Digital Marketing in 2017. Chris enjoys escaping for long walks on Dartmoor and is often found getting creative in the kitchen.