So you’ve had Fitbits, Runtastic and other fitness watches (click here for my review on the Runtastic Orbit) and are now wondering what the deal is about Apple’s Watch. I’m here to put the speculation to rest and give you the run down on what you get when you buy an Apple Watch.
Off the box
I’ll admit it. I was sold when I saw the box. It’s a beautiful, plain white oval box, minimalist in keeping with Apple’s usual design operandi. The watch sits nestled inside. With it, you get a sleek magnetic charger, a small instruction booklet and not much else.
Design and display
The Watch comes in 38 mm or 42 mm retina display with gorgeous color, contrast and dpi. You can choose the straps from the least expensive sporty versions to the most expensive limited edition gold plated ones. The watch face is completely customizable and ranges from an informative screen displaying the weather, time, date, time at another location, alarm, battery life, activity levels, etc., all at one go, to a more quirky Mickey Mouse shaking a leg while displaying other choice information.
For regular use, it lasts a little over 24 hours without a charge. This means you’re probably going to charge it daily. The up side is that an entire charge takes only under an hour. So it’s easily possible to charge it at one go everyday or at two intervals as you like. For a screen that’s constantly showing updates or giving haptic impulses, it lasts a decent amount of time.
The first thing you need to know about the Watch is that at the moment, it cannot function without an iPhone. So, if you don’t have an iPhone, don’t even bother. The watch pairs with the iPhone via Bluetooth and trusted Internet WiFi and acts a lot like a mirror device in delivering updates right to your wrist. Here are some of the key advantages that I’ve realized with the Watch –
- It gives you instant updates from all apps – you can select/deselect from which apps you need updates from on the Apple Watch app that is present by default from you iOS 8.3 update. This means you won’t be checking your phone every time it buzzes. The instant updates on the watch face are just enough to neglect picking up the phone unless important. This actually helps in reducing the screen time. So dinner or conversation, it’s easier to focus without constantly fiddling with one’s phone.
- Calls can be received (or made) from the watch. The buzz on your wrist alerts you to the call even if you don’t want to attend to it on the watch speaker. This way, you can at least locate your phone when it rings and won’t end up missing the call because you didn’t hear it.
- Finding the iPhone. The “ping” function from the watch alerts the phone to beep and makes life simpler to hunt down the phone in a busy bag.
- Control your music. Your music is mirrored from the phone but can be played from the watch. Very handy.
- Maps on your wrist. Once again, super handy. You can glance at your wrist and follow verbal directions easier than holding up your phone. Certain apps for certain cities also allows travel routes to be pre-planned and show up on your watch face for easy travel.
- Select boarding passes, hotel keys, etc can be retrieved through the Passbook app to show on your watch and buzz you through.
- Activity app – Perhaps one of the main innovations made for wearable technology, this is where the Watch’s future probably lies – measuring health and activity. Currently the Watch is programmable for 3 goals – total active calories burned per day, total minutes of physical exercise, and standing for at least 1 minute in 1 hour for a certain number of hours in a day to embrace a more active lifestyle for better health. The haptics gives a buzz every now and then to urge you to your goal or remind you to move. It also measures heart rate periodically and gives a weekly status on your performance.
And here are some points to be improved on –
- The Watch needs a host of standalone apps made specifically for the watch to enhance its usability and need. This only means that there are things in the works, which will be of more use with future updates.
- It’s own connectivity – as a mirror device relying on the network and connectivity of your phone, the Watch is limited in it’s functionality. If the watch were to have its own connectivity, which will probably be done in the conceivable future, it makes it a better device to embrace.
The bottom line
Could you do without the Watch? Absolutely. But it’s pretty obvious that in the near future, more apps and more functionalities will be added specifically for the wearable electronics to compound its uses in a multitude of directions. It’s only a matter of time before it will inevitably become of one those indispensable devices such as our own phones. Until then, we wait.