It’s been a month that I’ve been using an Apple Watch and this is my first blog post about it. It wasn’t possible or fair to write anything before because this isn’t a product that can be written about after using it briefly.
This is not a full on review, but rather a post on how I’m using it and how it has changed my habits.
If you are considering getting one, the first thing you should be aware of is that it takes a while to know how to use it fully. It was only two days ago I discovered – via a friend (and complete accident) that when you long press an Apple Watch emoji, it changes colour. Those weird yellow faces become red. And I thought a month in, I knew everything about it!
The very first time I put it on, I wasn’t 100% sure what was going on. It was confusing; and I say this even though I’m quite intuitive with new products and can figure out how to use stuff quickly (who reads manuals anyway). The Apple Watch was different. It took a good few days before I got the basics. I mean, I used it in a way I thought I knew what I was doing, but it was only after a few days that I became familiar with gestures, scrolls, swipes, etc.
The good thing about a tech product, for a change, is that you can set it up for a right- or left-handed person. As a right-handed person I wear my watch on my left hand, but I know some folks who wear watches in general on their right hand – if you end up doing this, you will have to set it up as a left-handed person.
Back to the initial pairing process; it was seamless and took a few minutes. Thereafter you have to play around on the Apple Watch app that was loaded onto your iPhone from a previous update. Here you can choose text size, brightness, adjust sound and haptics, choose what appears on your “Glances” screen, choose what notifications you want, edit app layout, etc.
Most of my settings mirror my phone. So if I put my phone on Do Not Disturb, it will be the same on my watch. I am not going to go into the technicalities of how the watch works because if you end up buying one, the best way to figure it out is play with it yourself. If I had to explain, it would make no sense to you.
In May I wrote a blog post called “Why I’ve turned off notifications” and further to that, the Apple Watch is making it much easier to not check my phone. This is what I can say after a month:
– The Apple Watch is mainly for notifications
– I have a few mail apps but I only allow Outlook notifications to push
– The Watch doesn’t need an official app to receive notifications; mirrors your iPhone
– Since turning off FB notifications months ago, I am not missing it at all (bonus)
– I tend to reply via voice on iMessages
– Sometimes it’s easier to send the audio note instead of having it send dictated text (which may not always decipher what you are saying, like mine didn’t know I was saying “Uber”).
– if you want to feel like James Bond, you can answer calls via the watch and talk into your wrist. I’ve only done this to show people; haven’t done it in public (not yet anyway).
– The built-in Apple Watch emojis are weird/creepy/hilarious. As mentioned earlier, if you long press it, it changes colour.
– Last week while my phone was charging and I was busy with household chores in another room, I managed to respond to iMessages via voice dictation and send it as text easily.
– The battery life lasts 2 days for me, sometimes 3 on weekends.
– In an effort to prolong battery life, I keep the screen brightness on 1 (3 is highest).
– I don’t “browse” apps unnecessarily (like Twitter, Instagram), cos WHY?
– Kulula were willing to let me use Passbook on the watch for my boarding pass recently, but alas my hand doesn’t fit into the boarding pass reader at the gate (these things are probably going to be redesigned).
– When I go shopping, it’s just easier to leave my phone in my bag/pocket and see what’s happening on my wrist without taking action. If there is anything urgent, then I would.
– If you use any other fitness tracking device and buy an Apple Watch, it will become obsolete. Unless you prefer wearing more than one.
From the above, you can tell how I’ve managed to fit it into my lifestyle (not office bound). When I read about folks who give up on it after a few days or in the US, those selling it because it’s still “barely used” – it’s obvious why – they haven’t used it long enough. You can’t use it for a few days and decide it’s not for you. If you do, then it’s wasted on you anyway.
I love the watch, I didn’t think I’d find it this useful, to be honest. In fact, I always said smartwatches were not for me, and as my previous paragraph, I didn’t give it a chance. The I used the Sony SmartWatch 3, which you can read about here; and I liked it.
I have the 38mm Sport, which looks like the ideal size. I also have another green band. I am looking forward to third-party accessories; I am keeping an eye on these bands online. Unless your hands are VERY LARGE, I would suggest the 38mm; or you just can just opt for the 42mm if you like looking dorky.
This is what Twitter looks like:
This is what Instagram looks like:
Tanya is the only person I’ve been sending sketches to (this is hers):
Did I mention it matches anything? 🙂
I don’t know when the Apple Watch is coming to South Africa, when I do, I’ll tweet about it.
Some of my custom Apple Watch faces: pic.twitter.com/72ejtOAtF5
— Nafisa Akabor (@nafisa1) July 23, 2015
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 15 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org