Opinion: I spent a week with the Apple Watch, and here’s what I thought

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As anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter will tell you, I’ve been openly critical of the Apple Watch and the entire concept of smartwatches for a long time now. Most people have responded with an attitude of “don’t knock it until you try it,” which I suppose is a fair attitude to have. The problem was that I had no plans to spend over $300 (or $1,000 for the model I really liked) to try an Apple Watch.

Recently, however, an opportunity arose to try the watch out for a while. I was offered a loaner watch to test out an app that I was covering. I accepted the offer and spent about a week with it, wearing it full-time and using it for everything I could (including, of course, using the app that I was testing whenever I could). Earlier this year my colleague Ben Lovejoy had been convinced to keep his after using it for a week.

Could I be convinced that the watch was, in fact, a convenient and useful gadget to have in the same amount of time? I went into this week with an open mind to find out.

Getting Started

My first day with the Apple Watch was mostly spent toying around with the various features, dumping every watch app I owned onto the device to see what they could do, and trying to figure out how to use things like Glances effectively.

After I had nailed down the basics of the device, I strapped it to my wrist and started going about my daily life, only checking it if I needed some quick information or when it made a sound. As time went on, I found myself paring down the number of apps that I kept installed.

After checking each and every third-party watch app that I could use from my iPhone on the Apple Watch, I started deleting them one-by-one to clear up some of the clutter on the home screen. The blob of icons that the watch uses as a home screen has always seemed like a bad idea to me. It’s always seemed like a good way to lose what you were looking for. Indeed, as expected, I frequently lost track of apps that I didn’t use often.

One factor that didn’t help things was the fact that some of the built-in apps have very similar icons. Take, for example, the four functions that are present in the iPhone’s Clock app: the world clock, alarms, stopwatch, and timer. These are all hidden behind just one icon on iOS, but on the Apple Watch they’re spread out across four different apps. It’s understandable why Apple would keep these bite-sized functions separated, but because they all use orange icons with similar (and usually nonsensical) glyphs, it was difficult to track down the one I wanted on my first tap.

Once I’d stuck a few apps that I used frequently near the Clock icon in the center of the home screen, I generally overcame that issue. Sure, I still couldn’t find the Stopwatch app on my first try, and I wasn’t quite sure where I’d misplaced the Phone app, but at least I could find a few apps regularly.

So the home screen wasn’t a great experience, although I did find that it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be as long as my favorite apps were visible most of the time.

Clock

The Clock app presents a wide array of faces to choose from, each with the ability to customize a number of complications to show important information at a glance. I settled on a mostly-stock version of the Modular design, which I set to show my weather, battery, activity, and the current date. In the center of the face I put my upcoming calendar events. I set the color to white and never changed another thing, only occasionally trying out a different design only to return to my original selection after a few minutes.

The watch face itself is quite useful, though I discovered that I routinely twisted my wrist in such a way that the watch automatically turned itself on, then my hand brushed across a complication to launch an app. Later, when I intentionally woke the watch, I’d be confused as to how I got wherever I found myself.

There are options to mitigate this type of behavior. You can disable the auto-wake function that turns the screen on when you rotate your wrist a certain way, or you can set the watch to always wake up to the time rather than your last app. I tried both of these with little success.

Disabling auto-wake made it harder to quickly check the time, while setting the watch to automatically return to the clock face on wakeup often led to me looking up from the watch for a moment, then going back to it and finding I’d lost my place. Neither solution was ideal.

Eventually I settled on the behavior that was causing me problems and resolved to be careful so that I didn’t accidentally open any more apps. I continued doing so for the rest of the week anyway.

Glances

After the first few days, I realized that I had a lot of active Glances I wasn’t using. I dug around through the Watch app on my iPhone and started removing a few. I didn’t have any music on my watch, and controlling my phone’s music in the car was much easier from the phone’s lock screen than from the watch, so I removed the Now Playing screen. I considered how often I had used each Glance and how useful each one could be just like that and removed those I didn’t need.

By the end of the week, I had only two Glances left: the default settings and the Heartbeat screen. If I wanted to access my Activity rings, I could tap the complication on my watch face and be in the app faster than I could swipe up to activate my Glances and then swipe around until I found the correct one. The app itself could provide more complete information than the glance, as well. This was also the case for Weather.

In fact, the only reason I kept the Heartbeat Glance around was because there wasn’t another way to get that information on the watch. If there had been a Heartbeat app, I’d have removed that Glance, too. To be honest, the Settings Glance could also have been removed if that were possible, if not for the “Ping iPhone” function, which I thankfully didn’t need to use to locate my phone. Logically it wouldn’t make much sense to be able to remove that Glance, since Glances can only been modified from the iPhone, so if you lost your phone you’d have to find it first in order to restore that screen and the Ping iPhone button.

In fact, I found the fact that Glances can only be added and removed from the companion iPhone app a bit off-putting. I would have liked the ability to manage them directly on the watch.

User Interface

On the subject of the interface, there’s actually a lot to like here. Sure, it’s flat and mostly boring, but there are some nice little touches. Animations on incoming notifications look great, and the “springy” feel that buttons have makes them much nicer to tap than a static roundrect. The home screen takes on the same “springy” feel when you touch an icon.

There are also some things that I found less enjoyable about the interface. You can only access Glances and Notification Center from the watch face, which, on one hand, makes sense since other apps might need to use those gestures to scroll. On the other hand, it feels inconsistent with iOS and makes getting to notifications and Glances a chore.

Additionally, I found the Force Touch gesture to be somewhat troublesome. One issue is that it’s not easily discoverable. You just have to try it out and see if anything happens. If something doesn’t happen on one screen, you still have to try it on the next screen in the same app just to see. It might also do different things on different screens, which can make it hard to find the function you’re looking for.

Another issue with Force Touch is how bizarre it feels to have to actually apply force to a touchscreen. When the iPhone first debuted, Apple made a big deal of the fact that it used a capacitive touchscreen, meaning you could activate it just by lightly tapping your finger to the glass, as opposed to older resistive screens that required you to push down (many iPhone users these days are too young to even remember these types of screens). Force Touch seems like a bit of a step back in interface design.

Wth rumors that Force Touch will soon be coming to the iPhone, I’m concerned that these problems will only be amplified on that device, with each screen element potentially doing something different (or nothing at all) when pressure is applied, with no visual indicator whatsoever informing you of that option.

Notifications

As I spent more and more time with the watch, I found that notifications were my favorite feature. I let my watch mirror all notifications on my phone and never changed that setting. My phone stayed silent in my pocket until I needed it, and I was able to quickly interact with incoming emails, breaking news bulletins, and more right from my wrist.

Incoming calls were a different story, though. More than once I was caught off-guard by a cacophony of ringtones. I use a custom tone on my phone, but since my Mac can’t use custom ringtones, I set it to use one of the built-in sounds. The watch, on the other hand, doesn’t even allow you to change the sound effect for incoming notifications, text messages, or calls.

So, on several occasions, I found myself sitting in front of my Mac with my phone next to me and my watch on my wrist, all loudly playing entirely different sounds and, in the case of my phone and watch, vibrating.

[tweet https://twitter.com/MikeBeas/status/635943257701261313 align=’center’]

Unfortunately, since the watch lacks a proper keyboard, I could do little more than dismiss incoming notifications in many cases. New Tweetbot mentions that warranted a reply, for example, had to be handled from my phone, which basically negated the convenience of the watch.

Apps

After playing around with all of the third-party apps that I had installed, I started deleting them just as I had with the Glances. Eventually, I removed all but two: the app I was testing (which was legitimately useful and better than Apple’s stock alternative in many ways) and HipChat, which 9to5Mac uses for our work chat. In fact, I could have removed HipChat as well, since I never actually used it.

The built-in apps were a little more appealing in some cases. I consulted the Weather app several times a day to see if I should expect another thunderstorm later in the day. I checked the Stocks app once or twice after the bottom fell out at the beginning of this week.

However, if given the option, I would gladly have deleted many of the stock applications. I had no use for the Music app because I wasn’t interested in pushing music from my phone to my watch when I could just as easily listen to it through my phone. I didn’t care about viewing photos on a tiny screen on my wrist when the phone in my pocket had a 4.7-inch screen. A camera remote? Basically useless to me.

Even Siri seemed to have trouble accomplishing basic tasks without having to redirect me to my iPhone.

I wish Apple had taken some of the time they spent building a remote for the iPhone’s camera and dedicated a little bit of that to making a version of Reminders for the watch. I would have used that more often than the camera remote. A calculator might have been nice, too.

Activity Tracking

I paid attention to the Activity app (and complication) very rarely. I found it very difficult to care what had been logged in that app after I discovered that the watch actually had no idea what I was doing most of the time.

Calories burned always came out laughably low, exercise registered when I wasn’t doing anything at all, but failed to actually pick up on real exercise I did, and stand notifications continued pinging me even after I had spent several minutes standing and walking around just ten minutes beforehand.

Overall I found the activity tracking features unreliable and a bit annoying.

The Verdict

After spending a week with the Apple Watch, it’s safe to say that I remain unconvinced that it’s a product I’d care to use.

While I absolutely loved the convenience of having notifications, SMS and iMessages, and my upcoming calendar events available so easily, I found that 90% of the core features weren’t something I had any particular interest in using, especially not at $350 or more.

From annoyances like finding that I’d accidentally opened an app to the need to apply force to the screen to trigger some key features, the Apple Watch doesn’t seem as well thought out in many areas as it should.

If there was a much cheaper model of the Apple Watch that included only incoming notifications, the “Ping iPhone” function, and the clock face, I could possibly be persuaded to pick one up. As it stands now, however, the past week has only solidified my existing opinions on the Apple Watch and smartwatches in general.

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Comments

  1. Me In LA - 7 years ago

    Thanks for a useful and honest review! I’ve been on the fence – and being an Apple guy since 1985 and pre-ordering damn near everything, it’s odd I don’t own one. Even more so since I’m a horologist! Maybe there will come a time or a change that gets me there, but for now, I’m still on the sidelines too.

  2. benmorrow2 - 7 years ago

    Thanks for the thoughtful review. Many of the nags you pointed out have been bothering me too. :)

  3. tincan2012 - 7 years ago

    I am glad you presented this as an ‘opinion’ and not as a ‘review’, as I have had enough tech reviews that tells me features, limitations, work arounds etc. in this version 1 product. Just as I often put more weight on word of mouth and user comments when it comes to movies than ‘professional’ movie reviewers, I read and liked what actual users were saying about the Watch. So I got the Watch and it integrated itself into my daily life. Now after a month, I am not sure what I did for notifications before my watch ‘nudged’ me for appointments, activity levels, weather alerts… emails and texts which are easy to ignore or answer – my choice. I am looking forward to the updated OS and to future functionality. Yes this is not a discount device, but for me, it is amazing tech and great value for money. I could not go back.

  4. Kai Cherry - 7 years ago

    “If there was a much cheaper model of the Apple Watch that included only incoming notifications, the “Ping iPhone” function, and the clock face, I could possibly be persuaded to pick one up.” – but yet, these watches do exist and are dinged for being cheap and limited.

    Basically, the problem people seem to have with these things is that they aren’t iPhones. We’ll see how it goes with watchOS2 and apps that can do more and don’t “need” the phone to do it…

  5. Brilliant review. 100% how I feel about my watch. One thing you failed to mention was Apple Pay. It’s hands down the best feature.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      I actually only had one chance to use Apple Pay on the watch and I used my credit card instead. I’ve found that using it on my phone only serves to confuse the employees at the local stores where it’s supported and I’ve stopped using it altogether.

      • fattym77 - 7 years ago

        That’s too bad. People aren’t going to get used to consumers using it unless they are using it. C’mon man, help the cause!

      • This is one area where the watch excels over using the phone. With just a double click on the side button and waving my wrist over the terminal, I can pay faster than any other method. I liked Apple Pay on the iPhone, but on the Watch, I loved it, that’s the future. Not to mention checking in for a flight and having the QR code on my wrist ready to go for the ticket clerk and unlocking my hotel door with just a wave of the wrist, both of these have been game changers. Perhaps you just didn’t have those experiences to show you the real value and convenience that the watch can offer.

  6. epicflyingcat - 7 years ago

    Great article. I agree, the Apple Watch is a nice device but it’s not even close to being worth a minimum of $350.

  7. rnc - 7 years ago

    Useless review…

    If you were on the market for a watch.

    If you were on the market for a sports tracker.

    No, you don’t. So the Apple Watch is not for you. If you don’t want to buy something similar, of course it sucks, and it’s too expensive (compared to what???)

    But if you want really good (and still being convenient) sports tracker, you have to buy the $350 Apple Watch Sport, and if you want a really good watch, the $599 Apple Watch is an excellent preposition.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      I don’t think you understand my position. Like I said at the end of the review, I’d easily consider a cheaper model that has some of the smartwatch features but ditches most of the cruft. The Apple Watch simply isn’t worth $350 as it stands.

      • nelson1112233 - 7 years ago

        … For a person that doesn’t want to buy anything like that.

      • 1nf3cted - 7 years ago

        I think you have to use if for more than a week to understand the value of it. The Apple Watch is a device that presents itself as useful in many small ways that add up over time to be of great value. It’s the type of thing that you really don’t need, but will in time prove to be convenient in ways that will make you miss it when it’s gone. That is the definition of a smartwatch — not completely necessary, but useful in very specific ways.

        For example, I use it to time my breaks at work; answer phone calls or decline them without touching my phone; reading and sometimes responding to texts (if my response will end up short enough to trust using dictation); handling notifications; micro-managing emails (archiving them straight from the Watch); controlling the music on my iPhone; checking the weather; pinging my misplaced phone; handling small task lists (Clear app); looking up definitions (Dictionary app); tracking my physical activity while at work; navigation in Maps; controlling my Apple TV; unlocking my Mac (MacID app)… even something as small as checking if a certain movie has a bonus scene during the credits (AfterCredits app). Those are just the things that come off the top of my head…

        Again, they are small things, but I can’t imagine doing them without the Watch, after owning one for just over a month. Sure, the product itself is not perfect and has its shortcomings, but it is darn good for a first gen Apple product; and the impending watchOS 2.0 update will be adding many more very compelling features and opening the doors to significantly better third party apps.

      • I myself pre-order the damn thing and been in Canada the cheapest model was $650. I was excited and skeptical at the same time.I would buy it no matter what because I have been a early adopter quite often and I wanted to give a shot to what I saw as the best smartwatch yet. The first week I had it was nice, it was a gadget, was always playing and toying with it. It frustrated me because the watch is no made to use as a phone. It is suppose to be a enhancement of the phone and in that way works great. After a while I started looking at it more critically and I have found myself loving it yet not overacting for it like I would with a phone. The Apple Watch as a sport tracker is not that great compared to a lot of others fitness tracker even tho I must say the heartbeat monitor is very nice thru-out the day and the app workout app is not bad at all, but it is not a great fitness tracker, it’s only good. Then as a watch per say it’s the same its not great. Couple of time I had to fall to low battery mode and at that point I wished I could just remove the watch, but I was on the go. When in low battery mode the watch is simply straight garbage (same as a fully dead battery). What makes me love it tho is all the quick features. The quick weather infos available ( I work outside a lot and need it often) are great as are the calendar appointments (as a Electronic Tech its great). The QR codes for theater and such are just so easy. Receiving a text message, email or whatever when busy or in a meeting is amazingly useful on the watch. The watch is definitely not for every one and is expensive, but it is worth giving a long term chance (that when it shines). NB: Cant wait for Apple Pay to come in Canada

  8. Hector Yague - 7 years ago

    I share the same view as the writer: I don’t see the functionality of Smart Watches. Since you need to carry your iPhone anyway, why would I choose to read a cramped email or a message on a 1.5″ screen if I can read them on the glorious iPhone 6 screen? Why would I look at a street map on an iWatch over an iPhone? My phone already vibrates when I get an email/message, and pulling it out of my pocket is no effort at all. Therefore, where’s the iWatch convenience advantage?

    I just don’t get Smart Watches, really.

    • darwiniandude - 7 years ago

      “I just don’t get Smart Watches, really.”

      True.

      Where do you keep your phone? I keep mine in my pocket. I have to pull it out when I vibrates to see what notification came in. Now I can glance at my wrist, see it’s an email from a mailing list, and look away. Phone stays in my pocket and I’m back to work.

      My wife keeps hers in her handbag. This means all texts and emails are missed. Phone calls may get answered once she goes to her handbag (sometimes in another room) and finds her phone in the bag. Now she can glance and see who is calling, tap “sorry, can’t talk now I’ll call you back” and get on with her day. Or answer the call on her wrist without going to her handbag.

      • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

        I agree with both of you. I understand the appeal of having instant access to notifications really easily, but the rest of the watch seems really useless to me. I’d rather read my twitter feed on my big phone screen than the small watch screen (yet twitter inexplicably allows you to read your whole timeline from their watch app). And because most of the features don’t seem useful to me, it makes it very hard to justify paying the current price.

        That’s why I say if there was a cheaper version of this watch that ONLY did notifications, I’d be more likely to consider it. Best of both worlds. Easy notification access and a more acceptable cost.

      • Hector Yague - 7 years ago

        Reaching down to my pocket takes about 2 seconds, and I get to read the message, emails, tweets, etc in a glorious 5″ screen instead of a cramped 1.5″ screen. And, on top of that, I dont have to buy, charge and carry 2 devices (phone+watch). If the watch was 100% independent from phone so you could leave the phone at home, I could see the point of the watch. But since you must carry your phone anyway with you… what’s the point?!

        Like I said in my previous post, I just dont see the convenience factor of the watch.

    • kc merrill (@themayor) - 7 years ago

      While I don’t have an iWatch, I do have a moto360 and absolutely love it. I’ve also worn a traditional watch for as long as I can remember so it’s either having a regular watch or a smart watch and for me the answer was pretty obvious.

      Regarding your comment regarding carrying around your phone, I honestly had the same thoughts but it’s come in handy so often that it’s one of the things to live with. Not sure if ios has this, but android has a smart lock feature which is amazing. It will allow your phone to remain unlocked while you’re around it with a paired blue tooth device if you so chose. So when I walk away from it, or if I accidentally leave it somewhere it automagically locks.

      I keep my phone on the charger when i’m not on the move, so when i’m at home, my phone will be in the kitchen. When I get a text, update etc it pops up on my phone and my watch. A quick glance to see if it’s important enough to stop the current activity or if you should stop what you’re doing and answer the message/call. I can pause, play and find different music on my watch which is exceptionally handy when I’m at home cleaning, or in the backyard(all while my phone is charging). It’s awesome for setting up reminders when your hands are full, or when your phone is in buried in the bottom of your bag.

      I use it all the time at work too. I’m typically at someone elses desk, helping with this or that. When my phone would normally gone off, i’d check it and again, now I just casually glance at it and determine with a flick of the wrist if it’s something that needs my attention now or if it can wait.

      I used to use my phone as a remote control for my tv, and that’s all gone to my watch. If I get too far away from my phone it’ll buzz which has saved me from forgetting my phone in restaurants and concerts.

      Smart watches might not have that one killer app, but it’s so convenient in many different ways I’m not sure I can live without one now.

      I dunno, I say all that to say to each their own. I see and have experienced a ton of great useful functionality that has saved me a few minutes here or there but over the course of time it really adds up.

  9. Rob Nee (@robnee) - 7 years ago

    I’ve had the watch for about two months and really like it but I have to agree with this review (perhaps it’s more of an opinion piece). I can’t say the Apple Watch is for everyone. It makes some things much easier, some things a little easier, and some things, frankly, harder to do. Depending on what’s important to you you may think the watch is great or completely uncompelling. I really like to be able to use the now playing glance vs. the lock screen controls. Mike prefers the lock screen screen controls. Neither of us are wrong. Apple bills this as their most personal device yet and that’s very accurate perhaps to Apple’s detriment when it comes to selling the watch’s features. Unlike the easy-to-sell ideas with the original iPhone like having a real web browser in your pocket most of the watch features are matters of personal preference and taste. I think there’s room for building it’s feature set over time but really not that much. It’s likely always going to remain a hard sell for many people.

  10. peteostro - 7 years ago

    ” routinely twisted my wrist in such a way that the watch automatically turned itself on, then my hand brushed across a complication to launch an app” how the heck did this happen?? I’ve had my watch since it was released and it’s never happened to me.
    If you use the watch for more than a week you will know what icons do what.
    I only use a few glances. I hope the become more useful with watch OS 2
    I have about 4 core apps that I use every day (city mapper, dark sky, workouts, wink) also use a bunch more on a weekly basis. When I’m driving/biking I use Siri all the time. Extremely convenient on the watch (when it works) Siri directions home, Siri directions to the closest gas station, Siri text wife do we need milk. Siri play summer of 2005 play list.
    No mention of apple pay, which I use every chance I get (security). Allot better experience on the watch than the phone. Notifications are great. But I want more apps that allow me to reply.
    I guess it comes down to what you do in your day. If your not going to do activity tracking (or the work outs app, which is in my use pretty accurate) then a big chunk of the watch is being left out. 3rd party apps will have access to all the sensors in watch OS 2 and it’s going to make it feel like a new device when I comes out this fall.

    I love my watch, I wear it and use it every day. There are bugs and some flaws (like every apple product) but I won’t start my day with out it on my wrist.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      I didn’t use Apple Pay on it because I’ve found that using it on my phone usually ends up being less convenient and just confusing the employees. I also had some trouble getting my credit card to activate on the watch, but I’m not sure if it was my bank’s fault or what.

      As for your mention of apps that let you reply, iOS 8 doesn’t allow apps to have that type of interaction, but on iOS 9 they’ll be able to behave the same way that iMessages do with the quick-reply function, which will likely work on the watch via dication as well.

      • Nandan Desai (@nnddesai) - 7 years ago

        I agree with OP. Apple Pay is the single best feature of Apple Watch IMO. Especially when you compare competition. I’m no fanboy, but if you’re having a hard time adding CC to your watch, you should contact Apple and your CC company and put them both on conference call so they can figure out what exactly is going on. i’ve done that on numerous occasions.

      • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

        Not really worth it for me. Only two local stores support it anyway.

      • peteostro - 7 years ago

        It’s not worth it since you don’t even have the watch any more. But even if it only supported one store it would be worth just for security reasons. I’ve already had to get 3 new credit cards due to Home Depot, cvs, and target hacks. These companies doe not give sh!t about your info. Apple pay allows me to pay with out any of my info going to these morons.

  11. rogifan - 7 years ago

    I’m glad I didn’t pay attention to reviews. I’ve had my Watch for almost a month and love it. And I’ve not had the issues this reviewer had. If I had listened to tech reviews I probably would never have bought it. Honestly I feel a lot of these reviews have an anti-smart watch bias going in and so that’s what we get coming out. Just like the MacBook reviews from tech writers throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get a MBA with retina display.

  12. mlanders1433 - 7 years ago

    It truly isn’t for everyone, unlike say the AppleTV which I recommend to everyone with an iOS device

    But for the people it appeals to, it becomes like second nature.

    It’s a major part of my workflow now and I would hate to lose it. It also makes me notice how many people in public have their faces buried in their phones. I’m not self conscious about doing it myself

  13. mlanders1433 - 7 years ago

    Excuse me, I meant to say I’m now self conscious about using my phone too much in public

  14. Real Apple Nerd - 7 years ago

    Really good observations. I’m really enjoying the usefulness of my Apple Watch, but have noticed some of the same issues mentioned. I do whatever I can to not have to go to the App universe screen. Instead I setup complications that take me directly to apps, or use Glances for my most used apps. This works pretty well because there are only a small number of apps I use every day, and some I only use a couple times a week.

    I’d also love if Glances could be accessed from any App screen, or at least from the Workout app screen. If I’m doing a workout and want to control my music from the Glance, it takes 3 steps to do this, when they could just make it a swipe up.

  15. Soluble Apps - 7 years ago

    It does seem that you aren’t making as much use of Glances as you could (even for things like Weather and Stocks, which you say you were referring to regularly.)

    I read an article a few days ago (I don’t have a link handy) that said anyone who reviewed a wearable after a week was a fool, as it takes longer than that to properly appreciate how best to fit it into your life. It does takes a while to configure it to taste

    I use Glances for the couple of things I use most, as they are designed to be the most easily accessible from the watchface. (This makes most sense if you have the Watch set to return to the watch face view, of course)

    Personally I find rapid access to notifications, a music/podcast remote and weather to be really worthwhile. Then Apple Pay and the rest are a great plus on top of that.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      My problem with glances was that they were just as easily accessible as the main apps, but included less info. I couldn’t see the chance of a thunderstorm for the rest of the day from the weather glance, for example. Only current conditions were listed. My main use for the weather app isn’t to see current conditions (i can just look out a window or step onto my front porch), its more for viewing forecasts. Ran into that issue with many glances, where it just ended up being equally convenient to get to the app through a complication, and doing so provided more info than the glance.

      • Soluble Apps - 7 years ago

        I found glances much more easily accessible if the watch is set to return to the face every time, as mine is. Especially if you have lots of apps.

  16. Yep. I bought one. Took it back after I didn’t wear it for 4 days straight. It’s a boring device with a stupid-confusing UI. The new Pebble has a vastly superior interface. Having to charge it every night when it should be monitoring my sleep is a complete deal breaker. The battery life appears to be sufficient to wear it all night, but it’s so slow at charging that you can’t then just top it up while you shower. The battery should fully charge in 20-30 min and then I’d reconsider.

  17. Tony C (@Muadibe10) - 7 years ago

    As others here have said, Apple Pay on the watch is one of the best features. I can understand how it would be ‘confusing’ to store employees if your card was not actually set up – which seems to be the case. When set up properly, it is fast and not confusing at all. So you weren’t able to get one of the main features working, but you also decided it wasn’t worth the hassle since there were only two stores in your neighbourhood.

    I wonder, if all of the stores around you were to accept ApplePay and you figured out how to get a working card loaded, would you evaluate again? Or would you still consider it not worth the hassle. Using ApplePay on the phone is excellent, on the watch, almost perfect.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      It’s confusing to local employees here not because my card isn’t setup (it is setup on my phone and works just fine there) but because they stand there totally baffled and unsure of what to do on their end to get the card reader into a state where it can accept nfc payments. they’re just as confused when i use my phone for it. it’s a new thing they’re not used to. it’s not worth the hassle to use it on my phone anymore, so i doubt it would be worth the hassle to use it on the watch.

  18. yojimbo007 - 7 years ago

    I love mine and im addicted… The review is too off base…

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      the wonderful thing about reviews and opinions is that they’re entirely subjective and you may not necessarily have the same views :P

  19. CranApple (@MoreCran) - 7 years ago

    My only problem with the review, and every review for any product that tries to say “not worth the money” is that it’s too personal to say what $350 means to you. Just say what it does whether there is some function there. Let me decide whether the $350 is worth that function.

    The biggest thing I find with the watch is people are comparing to the phone, and I agree it does not compare well on a price to function ratio with the phone. However that totally misses the point. It’s not whether it has the same value as the phone, it’s whether it does any or many useful thing. It does. And for, spending $350 on a useful device is a no brainer.

  20. Terry Dunham - 7 years ago

    Wow, how different our experiences are. I don’t know whether it’s because you didn’t continue using (and growing with) the device, whether your device is malfunctioning, or whether one of us is an outlier whose reactions are atypical!
    What I do know is that the watch has become a regular, and satisfying, part of my daily routine.
    Apple Pay, with never a problem. Remote operation of the phone camera. Pulse-directions from Apple Maps-and it’s easier to flip my wrist while steering, to put a direction directly in front of me, than to glance down at a mounted phone running the app, or a dash gps. Dark Sky. The weather and stock apps. Calendar events in glances. Responding to texts via dictation. Answering a phone call (only twice, but holding my granddaughter and couldn’t have done it otherwise–long enough, in this case, to say “I’ll call you back in 10”, and now i know the phone IS accessible on my wrist if needed). The activity app: I find myself striving to complete the three rings, and in my case, results closely track results from my Fitbit. Overcast. MyRadar Pro. Weather Alerts. Traffic notifications from my local tv station. And so on.
    I guess some of us will love it and some won’t. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      I wouldn’t say my results were atypical, really. I showed the watch to a few people and demonstrated the features and they all generally concurred that it seemed overpriced for what it did, and said it wasn’t something they would be interested in using. Obviously there’s a market for it somewhere, but I’m guessing Apple’s not releasing sales numbers because that market isn’t as big as a lot of people expected. These results may actually be more typical than you think, especially among “non-techy” folks.

      • Jassi Sikand - 7 years ago

        Given that recent surveys pointed to non-tech people being more satisfied with the Watch than tech-y people, I’d say that that assessment of “non-tech-y” folks would be incorrect.

  21. Chad Mark (@ChadsFault) - 7 years ago

    “Calories burned always came out laughably low, exercise registered when I wasn’t doing anything at all, but failed to actually pick up on real exercise I did”

    A brisk walk is intended to register as a exercise, so you’ll pick up a little here and there. If you’re actually working out, you’re supposed to use the workout app… go figure. If you do that the watch will constantly take your heart rate, and give you a better caloric reading, even if you’re arm isn’t moving much. I’m curious what method you used to determine that the calories burned were low though. Hopefully it wasn’t the “I’m sure I burned more calories than that” method.

    “Another issue with Force Touch is how bizarre it feels to have to actually apply force to a touchscreen.”

    That’s not an issue. I really feel that you spent a week trying to prove your preconceived notions right.

    Opinion pieces are just that, but I’m still not sure you actually gave it a fair shake. Then again, if you’re uninterested in the primary features of a device, it’s only natural that you won’t like the device, but others may love it. I’ve had my watch for 5 days and love almost everything you hate, except 3rd party apps, but watchOS 2 is coming out soon and it’s specifically aimed at third party apps. Until then, I’m perfectly content not using most of them, because everything else works so well.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      i didn’t go into this to prove any preconceived notions, although that did end up being the case in a lot of areas. the watch barely registered any calories burned at all when i can guarantee i burned way more than it was showing. as for the force touch thing, it certainly is an issue. you may not think so, but it absolutley was for me. i continually found that i wasn’t pressing hard enough to trigger it because ive spent the past 9 years being trained by apple to do the exact opposite.

      • pkdecville - 7 years ago

        About calories burned. Were you using Workout at the time?

        If not, Watch checks heartbeat every 10 minutes. With Workout the check is done very minute.

        Workout is more accurate.

      • Chad Mark (@ChadsFault) - 7 years ago

        Force touch may be an issue over the course of a week, but it obviously wouldn’t be an issue over the course of watch ownership. Anyone would adjust to “pressing the screen hard” over time, especially with the iPhone expected to get it too. So once again, it’s absolutely not an issue. The fact that you brought it up as a problem suggests to me that you never considered an ownership period longer than a week. That said, you’re allowed to not like the watch as much as I’m allowed to think that you never gave it a fair shake.

  22. a strange review. i let go of my rolex (leave it to more formal events) to wear the applewatch. it seems to do everything i need it to do. since I’m a watch guy I’m used to leaving the phone wherever it is and just checking my wrist for time. everything else is just icing! as with anything, a weeks worth of testing is probably not enough to “get acquainted” with any device. it took a while to get used to the first iPhone and it took a while to switch from pc to mac. hell… it took a while to get used to an iPad! one could say that spending over 2k for a laptop or a desktop is outrageous but I’m sure plenty have done it with apple in the blink of an eye. so the whole notion of the “$350” excuse is… well… up to the individual. with a quick glance around the writers home I’m sure we’d find items of questionable value! i like my applewatch and id strongly recommend it to those who have a need. I’m happy that apple doesn’t rely on reviews like this and from the likes of leo laporte from twit (who basically called the applewatch worthless) to stay in business! now… go out and be fruitful and multiply!!

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      Despite writing for an Apple blog I don’t even own an iPad because I can’t justify the expense. I actually own a lot less tech than you’d think for someone in this job, and all of it is a few years old, except for my phone. You won’t find any “items of questionable value” in my house. ;)

  23. indiscriminateblather - 7 years ago

    What you want in a smartwatch (cheaper, notifications, etc) perfectly describes the Pebble. Check it out!

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      Yeah, I’ve been watching the Pebble since its days on Kickstarter, but I’m not super convinced by it. My big problem there is that in the past I’ve previously tried other third-party smart watches and other types of “smart devices” but always found that they suffered from connectivity issues for a number of reasons, such as their companion app dying in the background on the phone. Generally those devices proved unreliable and kind of turned me off of them. Maybe they’ve gotten better with recent updates, I don’t know, but I haven’t had much success with them in the past.

      EDIT: Just checked Dom’s review of the newest Pebble and it seems it still can’t do things like silence incoming notifications on your phone when the watch displays them, so that’s kind of a bummer. Some other iOS limitations look pretty lame as well.

  24. chasinvictoria - 7 years ago

    I can’t criticise this piece because its a personal sort of review, because many of the observations — while perhaps more “meh whatever” in attitude that I would be — aren’t wildly off the mark, and because Mark is being honest. However, I think he really should have spent a bit more time with the device: you can certainly set reminders on the Watch, and you can use it as a calculator — by telling Siri to set the reminder (or timer, or countdown) and asking Siri to solve the math problem. Indeed, I had really under-used Siri until I got the Watch, now I use it for messages, appointment settings, reminders, what movies are playing and other stuff.

    I agree that it’s not for everyone, and perhaps even overpriced for what it does at present (but watchOS 2 is right around the corner …). But I love the health/fitness aspect (and have not had the problems Mark has had), I love that notifications and texts have moved to my wrist and my iPhone largely stays in my pocket, and I love the quick contact of your 10 or whatever best mates. Most of the rest of it, I concur with Mark, is more potential than actuality, and I also agree that customizing it to your use (particularly for notifications) is key. I think the article is excellent fodder for discussion, and is not intended to persuade owners that they bought junk nor dissuade the curious from buying one, it’s just one guy’s perspective on what did and didn’t work out for him. YMMV, as they say.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      Oh, sure, you can set reminders using the watch, but you can’t actually pull up your list. If, like me, you spend a lot of time telling Siri on your phone to add things to a grocery list in the app and then you can’t even access it from the watch when shopping, that kind of kills the usefulness of that feature.

      • peteostro - 7 years ago

        The 3rd party Apple watch app reminders nano does this works great, syncs with the reminders app, very good design. It’s almost as if apple destined it.

  25. Michael Alexander Savich - 7 years ago

    I would say the watch is definitely not for everyone. You mentioned that the watch doesn’t have a keyboard, but you can use dictation to reply to things. If you’re not the kind of person comfortable talking to your devices to enter text, then I seriously doubt that you would find much use from the watch. However, I do like it, though I find it a bit unreliable at times when it comes to networking features like third party apps. I agree with you that Siri on the watch needs some work. I mean, it’s one of my favorite features, but it is really frustrating when I need to pull out my phone to complete a certain task. The one thing I really wanted it for was to be like a sort of phone that I have with me at all times, since I leave my phone charging when I’m at home I don’t always receive phone calls when I’m at home, which feels a little silly. For the most part that works, but I found that there was a certain distance that the watch would still be on Bluetooth but the signal would be so weak that calls would just drop. I wish there was just a way to tell the watch to only use wifi. Anyway, moving the phone to a different location during the day solved the problem, but I don’t like having to build routines around a device that was supposed to make my life more convenient. Nevertheless, now it functions as I want it to most of the time, but I still wish it was a little more reliable. I hope that reliability that I’m looking for comes with watchOS 2 and third-party apps running right on the device. I’m really looking forward to being able to rely on PCalc for the watch, whether my phone is present or not. Oh, and on a side note about the price: I sort of received it as a gift so in my situation money wasn’t an issue. Although I would note there are plenty of watches that offer less functionality than the watch and cost way more.

  26. sdeetz - 7 years ago

    Interesting that you found the Activity tracking to be unreliable, when Consumer Reports tested it and said the calorie and distance tracking on the Apple Watch were far more accurate than any Fitbit, Jawbone Up, and many other activity trackers.

    This was the #1 reason I bought one, and so far it seems exceedingly accurate in my tests.

  27. bb1111116 - 7 years ago

    Reviews like this one from Mike Beasley are useful in showing how someone who doesn’t know much about smartwatches can struggle trying to make sense with how they work.
    I have spent decades doing training with computer users including some very tech challenged individuals.
    Many of Beasley’s comments reminded me of how I would need to motor through some individuals step by step in how to use PC tech.

    From Beasley;
    “If there was a much cheaper model of the Apple Watch that included only incoming notifications, the “Ping iPhone” function, and the clock face, I could possibly be persuaded to pick one up.”

    There is a watch like this. It is called the Pebble. Pebble has been selling smartwatches that are compatible with iOS for years and have sold over 1 million watches.
    Beasley could get a Pebble watch and the bonus would be that he would then become familiar with how a smartwatch works.

    Another amusing part of this review.

    “More than once I was caught off-guard by a cacophony of ringtones. I use a custom tone on my phone, but since my Mac can’t use custom ringtones, I set it to use one of the built-in sounds. The watch, on the other hand, doesn’t even allow you to change the sound effect for incoming notifications, text messages, or calls.”

    A person who wears a smartwatch typically has it on all waking hours and receives their notifications through the watch.
    – So, the smartwatch wearer does not need to have ringtones on their phone or Mac.
    The smartwatch handles notifying the user.

    But I realize that understanding the basics of how a smartwatch works, takes more time for some.
    And that’s fine. We all learn at our own pace.

    • Mike Beasley - 7 years ago

      You seem to not be very familiar with me or my work, and that’s fine. But I’m absolutely familiar with how smartwatches work. I’ve been watching the industry since it started going mainstream with the Pebble kickstarter campaign a few years ago. I know the Pebble exists. The Pebble is not an Apple Watch. It’s a third-party watch, and in the past I have had issues with third-party watches and other smart devices like them not maintaining reliable connections to my phone. The Apple Watch had no such connectivity problems, likely due to the fact that it is built into iOS and not reliant on a third-party app limited by the APIs Apple chooses to make available.

      So, in summary: yes, I know what the Pebble is. I’ve known about them for years. This article is specifically referring to an Apple-branded smartwatch.

      As for the ringtone part, YOU now seem to be the one who doesn’t understand how these things work. If you get a phone call on your iPhone while connected to your Apple Watch, both devices ring. If you happen to be working at your Mac at that time, the Mac also rings. All three devices ring, even if they’re right next to each other. I know this for a fact. I watched it happen more than once. The idea that I should remove the ringtones from my iPhone and Mac just because my watch can ring is ludicrous. What about the times when the watch is dead and I haven’t noticed? What if I take it off for a short period of time or leave it charging in another room? Should I be expected to miss a phone call because I decided to turn off the ringer on my phone and Mac—which, I might add, I’m far more likely to accept a call on? This isn’t some weird edge case. This is how most people have their devices setup, and will leave them setup as long as they own them. It’s the default configuration.

      I took only one or two calls on the watch to demonstrate the feature to someone. The rest of the time I much preferred answering from my Mac while working or directly from my phone.

      • bb1111116 - 7 years ago

        From Mike;

        “You seem to not be very familiar with me or my work, and that’s fine.”

        I assume that anyone, such as yourself, who writes an article on a major tech website has tech expertise.
        But expertise in one area of personal tech (which you have) does not mean expertise in all areas of tech.
        – This is not a criticism of you.
        I think it’s useful for readers to see articles about smartwatches where the reviewer is new to this kind of technology.

        “As for the ringtone part, YOU now seem to be the one who doesn’t understand how these things work. If you get a phone call on your iPhone while connected to your Apple Watch, both devices ring.”

        Put the iPhone on vibrate and the watch will provide you with notifications.
        You say you “know the Pebble exists” but you don’t seem very familiar with how it interacts with the iPhone.
        Letting the Pebble handle notifications with the iPhone on vibrate is a basic smartwatch feature.
        In fact not needing the phone to ring is a main practical reason for having a smartwatch including the Apple Watch.

        “The Pebble is not an Apple Watch. It’s a third-party watch, and in the past I have had issues with third-party watches and other smart devices like them not maintaining reliable connections to my phone.”

        I agree about the unreliable notifications (since I owned a Pebble). But in spite of its limitations using a Pebble creates familiarity with what a smartwatch does.

        “The idea that I should remove the ringtones from my iPhone and Mac just because my watch can ring is ludicrous. What about the times when the watch is dead and I haven’t noticed?”

        One could say the same thing about having a dead iPhone and not noticing.
        The Apple Watch has about the same battery life (in real world use) as the iPhone.
        If a person can monitor their iPhone battery life, they should be able to do the same with a smartwatch.

        “I took only one or two calls on the watch to demonstrate the feature to someone. The rest of the time I much preferred answering from my Mac while working or directly from my phone.”

        And that’s fine Mike.
        An Apple Watch review by someone who has not extensively used a smartwatch and is not that interested in using a smartwatch, is useful for potential customers who aren’t very certain if they like the smartwatch idea.

      • Stefan de Jong - 7 years ago

        Actually bb1111116 has valid points:
        – Knowing about smartwatches does not give you smart watch experience now does it … so you are still a noob when it comes to using them, I’m a Apple professional myself and am also biased up front … actually I don’t like notifications at all and am considering downgrading my phone to something simple because I hardly use the smartphone options anymore (I use maps, fb, weather and sometimes a browser).

        Does that make the iPhone suck? No, I just don’t like where the world is going with smart-tech in general, people are becoming increasingly anti-social and I think that the constant barrage of notifications forcing people to respond is one of the big reasons, people are constantly looking at their phones whilst life is happening right around them … I also regularly have to pay so much attention in traffic that if I would not I would probably kill or maim someone who is being stupid and not paying attention to the road but to their phone.

        – The ringtone part does make sense. Do you actually need to have all three devices ring all the time? No! You could put the phone on vibrate through its switch when you have both near, the mac on silent mode when you are behind it and the watch full on all the time.

        That way you only hear 1 ringtone but get notified by vibration on your phone and the mac will still show you’re getting a call when you’re behind your screen so this should suffice shouldn’t it?

        Even though things get called smart it doesn’t mean it actually is … it won’t (for now) register where the other devices are, if they are turnt on and if they are being used by the person using the smart-tech. If it would you could set it up to do all kinds of crazy things like detect your presence and turn off (or on) notifications, etc.

        I for one also dislike all forms of wearables so the Watch will have to be damn good for me to even consider it (I just don’t like the feeling of stuff on my wrists or neck … even if it were a million buck item I could get for free I would hesitate to wear it at this point).

        That all being said:
        We’re on the brink of something amazing, the Watch is a great starting point but its still way off of what it could (and perhaps should) become.

      • Stefan de Jong - 7 years ago

        p.s. I forgot two things:

        – I’ve just used NFC for the first time ever yesterday … i used it from my debit-card and it worked like a charm, the employees seemed to love the idea … so NFC might confuse employees but isn’t that just a simple problem to solve by telling them how it works (and besides their end of the receiver will give a beep for receiving payment so in that sense … did it bleep? yes, then i payed, simple) … I don’t see any problem with that really

        – The workout part does actually work fine and if you either expect something to work but aren’t using the proper app and don’t have any actual reference as to what you should expect in “calories burnt” you can’t really tell if it is working or not either. I’d say revise that part by deleting it, get back to it and test the Watch + another sport wearable and compare figures, only then can you tell if something works or not.

  28. Ian Dickie - 7 years ago

    I love the idea of the watch especially the notifications where you are able to just glance at your wrist. I haven’t got one because I need reading glasses so a quick glance won’t work as I have to dig out my glasses to read anything small. So if doing that I would be as well just pulling out my phone. Looks like I have to wait until my distance vision deteriorates to and then I can get varifocals lol..

  29. djpunzo - 7 years ago

    I disagree with this entire review. I Don’t have any of the problems that you are having. Same for my buddy and my pops. As I was reading the review I can hear the hate you have for the watch not even giving it a chance. Yes at first price was a factor but in reality it’s the same amount as the iphone iPads and iPods. I’ve been using it since the first day it came out I now think the price was worth it. And I’m on watch os2 and still not having any problems.

  30. A well thought out opinion piece and a very valid criticism of the pricing, which seems absurd to me. And it seconds my feeling about the Apple Watch – great for notifications, and even taking a quick call sometimes, but little practical use beyond that. I also find really annoying the lack of an always-on ambient mode and the fact that it does not work with Android devices (I use an iPhone currently but switch phones often, and it just seems short sighted IMHO).

  31. I totally agree with the article. I’m on the market for a “smartwatch” but the Apple Watch doesn’t yet cut it for me.
    – way too expensive ($700 in my case) for something I’ll upgrade in a couple of years (and I already upgrade my iPhone on a biannual basis)
    – it’s still too fiddly (for now) and “promotes” features I despise (hello, Heartbeat)
    – battery life isn’t brilliant and I hate having to charge YET one more device every night (now: 2 phones, a bluetooth headset and an iPad every few nights). I also travel a lot and I don’t think Apple engineers ever factored frequent travellers in on their designs.

    My needs boil down to phone / messaging notifications, frequent HR monitoring and ideally Shazam (I dance a lot, so I often need to know what the DJ is playing without having to reach for my iPhone). Give me that in an elegant form with more than two days’ worth of solid battery life and a reasonable price and you have my money.

    • bb1111116 - 7 years ago

      Since you want more than two days worth of solid battery life, your only choice with a smartwatch is from Pebble.
      Pretty much all the smartwatches that have more smartphone like features (Apple Watch, Android Wear, Samsung) are limited to about 2 day battery life due to their HD screens and their more powerful SOCs.

      A Pebble watch by contrast can get the user 5+ days on a charge.

  32. You clearly went into this “trial” to prove you didn’t like the Watch. That sentiment drips off this article. I could share with you all the amazing things I do with my Watch, having owned it for more than a week, but that seems like a waste of effort.

    • rogifan - 7 years ago

      Pretty much spot on. Reminds me of The Verge review. Nilay Patel has been pretty vocal in his hate for smart watches so it’s no surprise his Watch review was on the negative side. And since the media wants this device to fail so they can say “see Apple sucks without Steve Jobs” they focused on The Verge review even though other reviews were more positive. Heck I remember an article on this site highlighting bits and pieces from reviews and it only highlighted the negative, giving the impression everyone absolutely hated the watch which was not the case.

  33. Leif Paul Ashley - 7 years ago

    I bought it day 1, and I actually started wearing it more over time than when I got it. Why? Fitness tracking…

    By far the best fitness/watch out there.

  34. paulywalnuts23 - 7 years ago

    I have found that the problem with the writer and most people the get the watch and don’t like it or find it useless is that they bought it, or in this case used it, before they knew what use they had for it. I don’t go down to the hardware store and by a hammer unless I have a nail to drive into something. Same thing applies to tech.. Don’t buy something unless you know what you are wanting to do with it. As others have pointed out, stop trying to compare it to the phone! (This applies to everyone, not just the writer.) It isn’t and never will be, no matter if it turns into a stand alone device, a replacement to the iPhone. 1.5 inch screen vs 5 inch screen not gonna happen. What it is, is a great device that supplements the iPhone and the two together make life more convenient. If you know what you want to do with it before you buy it, it helps justify the 350+ price tag, which for a fashionable watch or piece of technology that incorporates all that this watch does, isn’t a high price tag at all. But if you have no use for anything it does sure, you might feel it is a bit over priced.

    Obviously something is a bit off when writer of the piece has to spend more time defending what he wrote than the time it took him to write the piece. If you guys want a much better view on the watch and views on life with it for a week then a month and now three months, go check out Ben Lovejoy’s piece on the watch.

    http://viptest.9to5mac.com/2015/07/31/apple-watch-diary-three-months/

  35. chrisl84 - 7 years ago

    Good read, the Apple Watch will become a must have item, but I don’t believe it will be that item for a couple more generations.

  36. paulywalnuts23 - 7 years ago

    Test

  37. Although I fully comprehend your thoughts on this and to some degree I agree with some even, I think there are a few key items that are worth mentioning that people seem to rarely hit on.

    1. The ringing everywhere you mention. I don’t experience that. It only rings on my Apple Watch when I have it on, not on my laptop, not on my phone. I can’t remember if that’s because I’m on OS 2 beta 5 / OS 9.

    2. Other than maybe Apple Pay and dictating text reply, there are NO compelling features. This is the hard sell on this thing. The culmination of things are the things you get used to and want to go back to when you don’t wear a smart watch for a while.

    I owned a Pebble 2x. The reason is I had the first one for a month, sold it because I thought it was worthless. Then I got a second one after not owning it for a month and missing the notifications. Used it almost daily for 1.5 years.

    3. This watch is not beneficial to all use cases. This one is rarely mentioned as I find writers do not put themselves in other people’s shoes very often.

    I’m a restaurant General Manager. I walk about 8-9 miles/day at work. I spend about 1 hour sitting on my 10-11 hour work day. I also DO NOT carry my phone on me while at work. A smart watch is VERY beneficial for me. It allows me to see how my heart rate reacts to my work day. I can see my notifications while at work. I can select WHICH notifications I want to see. I can answer a call in a pinch. I can text message hands free if I’m busy… “Text my wife email me the document.” “Your welcome”, “Take your time, see you in a bit”, etc. I can set timers on the fly to remind me to get people off the clock before they hit OT or something. You get the point.

    If your job entails you sitting at a desk in front of a computer… guess what, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that you might not realize all the benefits of this thing.

    Even then, there are benefits. At home I NEVER carry my phone with me. I have a fairly good size home and generally leave my phone on my nightstand all day if I’m home and simply carry the watch on me.

    So yeah, smart watches are not beneficial to all. But can be a great asset to others.

    • rogifan - 7 years ago

      I don’t agree with your #2. Perhaps there are no other compelling features FOR YOU but you don’t speak on behalf of everyone. I use the watch as a silent alarm, I use it as a timer in the kitchen when I’m cooking. At work I use it as a remote to control Apple Music playlists. This allows me to leave my phone in my handbag and still listen to music. I use the workout app every day. I will use it for sleep tracking once watchOS 2 comes out. These might be little things but they all add up to one happy customer. I wish people would stop making comments is the older speaking on behalf of everyone.

      • I agree with ALL of your comments because in one way or another I use it the same way you do. However, what I mean by my statement is that I don’t know ANYONE that would decide to drop >$350 on it SOLELY because it did all of the above. I stick with what I said. It’s the culmination of all of these things that makes you want to purchase it. Not a sole feature.

  38. TrueCopy (@TruthCopy) - 7 years ago

    I’ve been wearing a Pebble since the original Kickstarter, and now have a Pebble time. As an iOS user, the early days of Pebble were rough, almost like alpha rather than beta testing. Keeping the watch connected took a multiple-times-daily ritual of toggling settings to ensure notifications came through. These problems are behind the Pebble, and the connection is rock solid now.

    I also tried the Apple watch for a week or so, and didn’t find it added enough value beyond my Pebble. Of course, I freely admit a bias – I have established “workflows” with the Pebble that give me quick, one-button-press access to key functions like music control. And when I get a call during the day, I can send it to voicemail quickly, without interrupting my work. I can dismiss notifications with a single button press. These are the critical functions to me.

    So for all of these reasons, I agree with your assessment. I’ll take it a step further, even. The Apple watch seems, at times, to even be a little “un Apple.” Things aren’t intuitive or “easy,” nor did I find the discovery process interesting or fun like I have with other Apple products over the last 20+ years. It was excruciating.

    I’ll pass on the Apple watch for now… but am definitely sold on the idea of smartwatches. And I do have confidence that, come WatchOS 3 or 4, it’ll be worth reconsidering.

  39. it might just be me.., but i have never read any positive article of apple from mike.
    still i like reading negative critic.

  40. also most problems said in here seems to be fixable via software update

  41. kevicosuave - 7 years ago

    This is a weird article to be posting now as opposed to a couple of months ago. As someone who has been using the Apple Watch since it first was released, I have a much different opinion of it. It’s been a key reason why my health/fitness has improved so drastically over this time period. It changed my life so much that it convinced me to buy Apple Watches for my mother, my girlfriend, and her two daughters.

    “Overall I found the activity tracking features unreliable and a bit annoying.”

    That’s what I would expect the first week. That’s exactly what I experienced. After spending more time with it, I found it to be extremely reliable and instrumental in improving my fitness. Using it with MyFitnessPal and entering my diet information, I found a corresponding weight loss that was almost exactly on target. Meanwhile, it’s consistently accurate on measuring heart rate, allowing me to keep in the best zones for a work out, and accurate in measuring distances hiked, walked, or run.

    Again though, this took some time. It took about a month to get really dialed in in terms of not only using the watch, but also getting into a fitness routine and getting other things together to monitor diet, blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, BMI, etc…

  42. Kim Ginnerup (@kgi111) - 7 years ago

    I have had my watch for three weeks. The least expensive 42mm. I like sms and calendar pop ups. I like that it tells me that I have sat too long. When I bougth the watch I decided to use the training part: movement, stand, exercise. I decided I would follow its advise to the dot, and accept the changes it suggested. I wouldn’t change anything else like the way I work, sleep and eat. Now after three weeks I can see a change on my weight and figure not a lot but it has only been three weeks so far. This feature combined with the archiving of results and sms and calendar, is enough for me. There may be alternative that is less expensive. But I like the watch the way it looks and how it works. If it at the same time can help me to a better and more fit health then it is worth the money. I am looking forward to what watch OS 2 will bring.

  43. Ali Momen - 7 years ago

    Hey Mike! Nice write-up. I just want to clarify, because I don’t think Apple does it well enough, why in fact the Apple Watch is the best fitness tracker on the market by the way it defines what it means to be “fit”. I’m a fitness nerd, and have read and researched a lot on health. I have noticed that a lot of tech reviewers poo poo the stand reminders saying that it asked me to stand even though I was standing around, or it asked me to stand even though I ran 10k, etc. Why the Apple Watch is THE BEST is that it understands that if you spent a day pretty much sedentary and did a two hour workout, you’re actually not healthy. That true health requires more than simply exercising. It requires natural and continuous movement throughout the day. One must stand and move many times throughout the day. It’s an epidemic in our society just how much we misunderstand that notion. Your 45 minute soul cycle class after your 8 hour day at your desk really does not do as much as you think. Research any and all studies on all Blue Zones (areas with high life expectancy) and constant movement is KEY. So I guess what I’m saying is if your watch is telling you to stand even if you “think” you’ve been standing you should listen to it. It’s actually incredible that it does that and that it views health as holistically as it does.

    And yeah, I think for 350 it’s a steal considering what it does. It also seems like you didn’t have Watch OS2 on it…it really is a marked improvement and once you add apps, who knows what it becomes. I’m very much optimistic on the watch.

  44. Don Horne (@DonHorne) - 7 years ago

    Your views echo my same thoughts. In this 1st generation of the Apple Watch I can not justify the price for just the convenience of looking at a few useful notifications instead of reaching for my phone. Maybe in the future Apple will gives us a stripped down version at a reasonable price or the technology will have progressed enough warrant a purchase. For now, like most people, I’ll wait on the sidelines.

  45. This “opinion” is a poorly written, poorly executed joke. So you deleted all the third party apps, and then complained that you wanted certain apps? Guess what? There are PLENTY of third party task manager apps and calculator apps in the app store. Yeah Apple should have included them as their own but you literally contradicted yourself in one little section by asking for them when they already exist. “90% of the core features weren’t something of interest” yet the features you liked: the clock, texts, notifications, and calendar events ARE CORE FEATURES. You also mentioned “losing your place in the app” with the auto wake feature. Clearly you didn’t take the time to learn that double pressing the digital crown takes you back to the app you were just using. Force touch is actually a fantastic feature as it allows apps to have basic functionality and options. For example, there would be no way to search for a location in the Maps app because there simply isn’t enough room on the screen to have a search bar. It makes complete sense to have a search function in a Maps app, and they are able to add it by having force touch. I agree there could be some sort of visual indicator that more options are available if you use Force Touch, but having an issue with it “because it feels bizarre” is pretty fucking stupid and it’s again, pretty obvious you aren’t even using it correctly because again, you didn’t take the time to learn basic functions. Force touch is actually a great innovation for capacitive touch screens and will definitely be a core feature people have no idea they lived without in the near future. Your criticisms are shite.

  46. I don’t think the music app is for “pushing” music from your phone to the watch. It’s for controlling the music on your phone from your wrist…

  47. rnichi - 7 years ago

    You mentioned the three things I probably use the most. I’m currently traveling through ireland and having a camera remote (combined with kenu stance) is one of the best things ever.
    The photo app is useless most of the time, but having it display your weekly changing timetable, while phones aren’t allowed, next to displaying other information as a second screen, like bank information while typing them on your phone: awesome.
    Using the watch as an iPod while running and not having to carry the big phone around: neat. Apart from that, you can also contol the music on your phone with it.

    I recommend fantastical as a reminder-like app, the glance is very nice, too. I would recommend many apps to you, you apparently didn’t test.

    I used the activity stuff a lot and I felt good walking 30min a day and standing a little bit every hour. Made me less tired, but it really is unreliable many times and after having completed every circle from the 27th may to the 19th july every day, I had some backup problems. Due to ios 9 beta (my fault) I completely lost one day. That destroyed it all for me, I got so frustrated and just stopped looking at it. Silliest reason: I couldn’t get the achievement for perfect month anymore. Can’t help it.

  48. Jamin Busick - 7 years ago

    If you actually used some of the things correctly, you may have liked them more.
    When you have your phone charging and you are across the room playing a song through your stereo, and you can change the song and adjust volume on the digital crown via the now playing glance, it’s pretty friggin sweet.
    Your write-up is like saying “I didn’t like the steak, but I didn’t actually put it in my mouth and chew it.”