Am I Allowed to Review the Apple Watch?

I’m no gadget guru but when new devices are released to the market, I often find a need to do anything and everything to get my own.  I was disappointed when I missed the Google Glass chance and then jumping for joy when a 3D printer was donated to our company game room. Again, I’m no expert but my reaction to new technology is somewhat of a kid in a candy store approach (with the sugar-high and all).

My birthday gift this year is the Apple Watch. At first I was hesitant to commit.  I mean, how would you react when all the Googleites with Android fever were surrounding you spitting on the subject that Apple could come out with a smart watch? But considering I’ve ‘gone full Apple’ over the past 10 years, I figured I could spare a birthday on an overpriced digital watch. So, I first tried to sell my Movado, and only scammers wanted it. Then I decided it was worth the risk to check out the new technology. We scheduled a fitting and marched into the Apple Store to try out the new toy.

I decided on the 38mm, stainless steel case with the milanese loop. I also added a white sport band so it would be more comfortable to run in.  The watch came about a month later and now that I’ve worn it for about 2 weeks, here’s my very basic review:

Likes:

  • Packaging – If Apple just specialized in awesome packaging, they’d make every gift a wonder. I seriously am keeping the packaging to share the experience with others… it was superb.
  • Look – It’s appealing, doesn’t look like a gaudy smart watch and passes as a professional piece. Most people don’t know it’s the Apple Watch until I point it out to them.
  • Fit – I’m happy I went with the 38mm (though I wanted the 42mm) because it fits well on my slightly small wrist. After a few days you get used to the size of the screen so that’s not a drawback. The milanese loop band which I wear most of the time not only looks nice, but fits nice and allows me to resize quickly and easily put it on or take it off. It does loosen a bit on it’s own, but can’t say I want to complain about that as it doesn’t bother me.
  • Alerts – Probably the most useful feature outside of the actual time keeping component is the ability to receive alerts on your wrist. I often forget my phone somewhere and then forget I’m supposed to be at a meeting or on a call, the watch has helped. The ‘heartbeat’ vibration is subtle enough (you get used to it) so that it doesn’t completely distract you from what you’re doing. I like the phone calls, text messages, meeting reminders and alerts from Apps like Fitbit saying I’m behind on my steps.  I recently started liking the Apple Activity Tracker app as it reminds me to stand up when I’ve been sitting at my desk over an hour.  [Wait, I have to stand now.] It’s a good habit maker.
  • Apps – Map My Run is cool, easy to start/stop/see stats during your run. I used it during the Brooklyn 1/2 Marathon last weekend and it worked very well (the screen even worked well in the pouring rain). Customizable home screen is helpful for me to see the time, date, temp, alerts and calendar at once. Clear app works well especially since my husband and I use it to day to track our groceries or lists of to-do’s.
  • Siri – Pretty good at understanding what I’m saying and putting it to text.
  • Phone Calls – Good for quick calls. Anything longer than 1 minute makes your arm hurt and people question your sanity. Noise reduction is good and volume is also good to keep your calls a bit private when in a public setting.
  • Navigation – The scroll works well, the swipe too. Looks like a good design for all that they want the watch to become. Elevating your wrist makes the screen turn on – that’s pretty cool and keeps your watch face private.

Dislikes/Needs Work:

  • I can’t garden with it. It’s too darn delicate and I’m worried I’m going to smash it into a rock or something. I can garden with my Fitbit Charge HR though. (I love my Fitbit)
  • Apps Suck – seriously, it’s as if they all thought about it 2 minutes before the watch launched and just put out 2 features to appease Apple early adopters and to get in the top 10 apps list. There are only like 3 apps that are worth using daily! Get on board app designers! Please! Why can’t Map My Run show me speed/pace?, Why can’t Instagram or Twitter show me more than 5 items total? Why can’t the calendar app show me weeks in advance? And what the heck is the point of the Solitaire app that shows me nothing other than what I haven’t done (no, you can’t play on your watch). It may be all memory issues as some suggest but I think it’s an app problem. Get on it developers! Memory is cheap!
  • Picture Taking is Creepy – my 7 year old was wearing my watch in the other room, I was on the phone and suddenly she’s taking pictures of me. #weird #creepy Give me a watch that takes its own pictures please.
  • Stupid font colors in email make it difficult to read on the Apple Watch. Dark blue on a black background makes me think I need glasses.
  • Text Canned Responses aren’t very nice – why can’t they combine “Ok” and “Thank you” by default? #manners
  • Apps don’t install.  What the heck do I have to do to get all my apps installed? I plug the watch in overnight, but still, there are apps that are partially loaded. I know I could just Google it, but I can’t do that on my Apple Watch!
  • I. Can’t. Google. – why oh why would you offer me a smart watch with no ability to search the web – not even through Siri? What were they thinking?
  • Login to Apps – you have my passwords in my iCloud keychain… take it, apply it to the watch at install and that’s that.  Stop making me sign in via my phone.  Speaking of my phone….
  • What the hell is handoff supposed to do? Well, rather, I know what it’s supposed to do but it doesn’t work. I never see the icon on the lower left of my screen. I have to login to my phone and then find the app. That’s not a handoff – that’s more of a fumble #fail
  • I still need my phone. At most, if not all times. It is not a replacement and I can’t go for a run and expect GPS to work without my phone… so with my phone, Apple Watch and Fitbit on all at once, I look like I’m on display at CES when I’m only trying to go for a run.

My cousin told me the Apple Watch was an overpriced remote control for my iPhone and I have to agree with him. HOWEVER, since I’m still an Apple Champion, I will give them another release to get this right (and to pay off a few app developers in the process). Also, I just want to support this guy – he’s just awesome.

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About Stefana Muller

I'm an experienced product management professional with over 15 years in the software industry. I've launched successful businesses and products into the cloud, managed services, enterprise and consumer markets. I currently work in DevOps / DevTest tools and technologies and focus on the most recent tech trends such as Agile Application Development, Software as a Service (Cloud), Big Data analytics, and Mobile Applications. I'm an advocate for Women in Tech and I blog about geeky things that interest me.

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  1. Apple Watch…A Review… | Politicaldog101.Com - May 25, 2015

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