Archive for June 6th, 2015

Apple Watch Impressions

Having used an Apple Watch now for a week now here are some initial thoughts.

The battery is fine. I’ve never been close to using it during a day, even after an 18 hour day of regular usage it kept 25% charge.

The watch communicates with the iPhone to do pretty much every task (at least until Apple releases the new update to be announced at WWDC next week). When this communication doesn’t work for whatever reason, nothing works; Siri, 3rd party apps, apple apps, they just constantly ‘load’ waiting for the phone to respond. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s rather frustrating. The problem seems to be worse when the iPhone has a low battery, but that could just be coincidence.

The email client only shows limited text from emails, no fancy images or remote content, although most emails have some content that can’t be shown no the device. The watch currently shows a warning for every email that it can’t display fully (most of the them). We got it the first time, no need to waste a screen every email.

3rd party apps are pretty raw. Yes apple don’t allow you to do much, but most have reduced the functionality a little too far. I’d quite like to read more than a few lines of a BBC news article, not all of them, but some; why not let me? Although these limitations aren’t related to the 3rd party apps. The calendar app shows you your next week’s schedule, if you want more it prompts you to reach for your phone, annoying.

Workout tracking works well, but the resulting data isn’t very useful, even with the activity app on the iPhone. We’re still looking for an Up equivalent (maybe Up) that shows it in a nicer way.

Force touch takes a bit of getting used to, there is a tendency to close the menu with a second force touch rather than a tap on an icon by accident, especially after a heavy workout! It’s also not used consistently, even within Apple’s own Apps. Most of the time it simply does nothing.

Siri on the whole is strong and strangely seems better than the iPhone equivalent, however there’s no way of correcting a message and you still have to tap to send (at least we couldn’t work out a way of telling Siri to send or cancel a message) so requiring a second hand, when one might not be free. Generally not enough can be done with one hand, a few more commands that Siri understands would come in handy.

Getting out my phone has become a real pain and I begrudge doing so when the watch should be able to handle the task. It was surprising how quickly this paradigm shift happened and I certainly find myself doing less on the phone.

Haptic feedback is subtle and I’ve not tuned into it yet so still miss some messages. Phantom taps is also a thing, (perhaps caused by the missing notifications worry) be interesting to see if both these settle down with time. I didn’t have the problem of too many notifications that some have as I’ve both been selective about what apps I install on the watch, slowly adding them, but also had many services to pull rather than push before anyway. Interestingly now the mental capacity required to interact with say an email has reduced I don’t mind getting these notifications so much. Not sure whether that’s just a novelty that will wear off.

All in all it’s been a positive experience so far, and with the promise of a lot more control for developers and an major new update for the Autumn, things are only going to get better.