When Jobs talked about PDAs at AllThingsD 2004, he talked about how 90% of people want to get information out of the device instead of putting information into the device and cell phones would do that [referring to the impending iPhone]. He talked about PC as being the digital hub for doing host of things iPhones/iPods as companion.
And with Apple Watch, Ben Thompson at Stratechery talks about that hub moving to Phone taking over PC as watch evolves into what phone once was i.e. a device for getting information out.
In my experience, this couldn’t be more true.
Apple watch has two distinct roles.
- Data Aggregator;
in the form of a fitness tracker
- Doing little things efficiently;
notifications, complications, glances, interactions
There are only a few categories which offer unique use cases to watch. And the most important categories are Fitness & Health, Business and Productivity.
My favorite is Things, a to do list app. I hate taking out and scrolling through iPhone while shopping for groceries. Quick access to list and mark things as completed individually is so convenient while doing it right off the wrist. I hope Google Keep soon has it’s own WatchOS app so I can work across multiple platforms.
As data aggregator, apple watch is as good as you would expect a fitness tracker to be. Combined with your phone, it does pretty good job of satisfying your fitness and health needs. I’m not a fitness freak, so I’d let others review this part like Tech Radar or host of other internet reviews.
That’s where I like my watch, really love the watch. Apple watch allows you to do tiny tasks with such an ease at times when it would really be inconvenient to do them on the phone like turn up temperature of your digitally connected thermostat.
I love how I can set my bus stop notifications on the phone, be reminded of arrival times while getting myself ready for work all the while phone is out of my way. I can keep the phone in pocket while watch notification tells me when my stop is near.
I spent some time to declutter the notifications sent to watch. It is important as otherwise, constant notifications would really be irritating. I made sure that only important notifications come through and prevent watch from buzzing all the time. This really helps me filter the noise and stay up to date with important information, for instance weather warnings, hipchat notifications from work only when my name is mentioned, amazon delivery notifications, banking transactions.
Interactions with phone
Turning off my alarm while cooking if I wake up earlier is really convenient; replying to text messages is easy with Siri and custom responses. A very scenario is to reply while driving or on bus or whenever I don’t have or don’t want to access phone is to reply to a phone call or message to say that I can’t talk right now.
Reading messages while in a meeting is really really convenient without being seriously distracted is also very convenient.
Complications are simple yet effective. One look at watch face, and I know if it is raining outside and current temperature. It’s important to me as I live in portland and it rains very often and interferes with day planning. And of course, it tells time.
This is a very convenient feature. Using the crown, I can move time, typically forward, to see weather conditions and calendar meetings for my work. I typically use this feature to see weather conditions and plan ahead.
For starters, there are too many glances. Just like notifications, I decluttered by only selecting ones which were important for me. Here again, I only opt for truly important glances. My favorites are my financial apps to know how much I have spent and what’s my current financial situation.
Other important glances are; all day weather forecast and music glance.
This is perhaps the most interesting use case and takes some time getting used to. You can set navigation on watch or phone, and watch will direct you with Taptic engine which way to turn. Three pairs of discreet taps means turn left, while consistent 4 or 5 taps would be turn right. A vibratory tap usually means keep straight. I am still trying to distinguish U turn from keep straight. The only issue I felt so far is that, taps are usually after the turn lane has started so you can be a little late in taking turns if you drive fast.
Apple pay isn’t a very common use case yet since not many big retailers accept it yet. I have used it twice at Apple Store. It’s pretty easy to setup and works well. So even if you have older iPhone that doesn’t support Apple Pay, you can still use watch for it.
The only fitness thing I do with my watch is to measure my sleep quality. So I have to sleep with my watch which means the charging cycle for my watch is from evening to evening.
A few Quirks
One of the things that can annoying is slow communication between watch and apps on the phone. There are times, rare but they do exist, when information on watch can be outdated or out of synced with phone.
The watch can itself be slow at times, especially moving from Glance to Glance if you have to many glances. I really don’t think WatchOS 2 should have been meant for first generation of Apple Watch, but some would argue in favor of it.
The battery has been surprisingly good, it last more than a day for me. As I said I don’t do any fitness tracking except the regular tracking that Activity app does. My notifications are custom, therefore, watch isn’t always buzzing. I don’t do too much on watch, as I think this is more of a passive device for information extraction instead of input. I do charge once a day though.
Using the watch as an information output device has really helped me curtail my expectations as hyped across internet. I have come to adore Apple Watch for all the little convenient things I can do. I had been looking to update my iPhone 5S for a while as it felt slow. But, with Apple watch, I no longer feel the need for upgrade for now. This is really the most interesting aspect of owning the watch.
Don’t expect the watch to do some magical thing for you, it won’t do that. Don’t expect you wouldn’t have to pull out your phone, because at times you’d have to.
the use case
There are two important use cases for me;
the collective ability of the Watch to do things quickly, effectively and most importantly, conveniently from right off the wrist at those times when it really is inconvenient or really unnecessary to use your phone.
Filtering out the digital noise, and keeping you up-to-date with information that truly matters.
What’s your favorite use case ?