Despite its $499AUD price tag, my reasons for buying Apple’s Watch (which, as far as I can tell, they don’t call the Apple Watch and certainly never the iWatch) don’t run particularly deep.
I bought it because I could. Finally.
I first saw a display case full of Watches early this year in the Sydney Apple Store. “Can I buy one?” I asked the chirpy blue-suited Apple-sistant.
“Sure!” she chirped. “You can order one online and it will probably ship to you some time in July. Would you like to make an appointment to view one?”
So when I saw the other week that you could finally, you know, hand over some money in exchange for goods or services, there was no stopping me. Minutes later I was in my nearby hotel room “unboxing” (as the cool kids say) my Watch. (The packaging, you will not be at all surprised to know, is beautiful.)
Three weeks later, here’s my take.
I like how it looks. Seriously. And I only got the cheap “Sports” model (black strap, grey case). The “Chronograph” face (one of 10 or so at the moment) looks high tech and cool. Whether you get the $500 version or the $15,000 one, they work exactly the same. Same screen, same processor, same everything.
I like the alerts. My phone screen isn’t always in front of me and I never have the ringer turned on because this isn’t 1989. A wee buzz buzz on my wrist followed by a message telling me what’s up (or WhatsApp) is a handy thing. Not a $500 handy thing, but useful.
I like messaging. Text messages are made for the Watch. Short, easy to read, instant. Replying is the kicker though. On top of a bunch of stock one-tap replies (yes, no, thanks and so on) the Watch serves up options based on the message you just got. So when my designer asks if I want some work formatted portrait or landscape, “portrait” and “landscape” are there as one-tap reply options. Voice dictate works very very well on the watch too.
I like the fitness app. Don’t get me wrong, I’m already a fit and gorgeous hunk of man-flesh. But we could all do with being more active. Watch monitors movement, heartbeat and how often I’m standing up, lets me know how I’m doing and reminds me if I’m being a couch kumara. And the UI is very nice indeed, even down at tiny icon size.
I like phone calls. Well I sort of do. They’re clear at both ends (no one has ever noticed I’m not using my phone) and it’s easy to answer. It might even be legal while driving (I doubt the law has a clue on this one). The only snag is the first thing I despise….
I hate that I look like a dick. Especially when taking a phone call. I have only found one way to speak into my wrist without looking awkward and that involves casually leaning my elbow on a particular fridge at the radio station I work at. No fridge: look like dick. (Also, everyone can hear both sides of your call.)
I hate not having enough wrists. Share of Wrist is the new tech battleground. No device does everything, so I’m currently double-watching a Watch and a Fitbit Charge HR. For running (and partly for sentimental reasons) I like to wear my Nike Sports Watch. And my Pebble? Sorry Pebble. I am all out of arms.
I hate having to take my phone running. (Speaking of running.) The Watch doesn’t have GPS built in. So if you want to know where you are, where you’ve been, or how to get somewhere, you need to tote your iPhone along. That’s pretty dumb. Might as well just use the iPhone running app, right?
I hate that the apps I love don’t all work. Strava (running and cycling app) is a confusing pain in the arse on Watch. WhatsApp alerts are limited to “you haz message!” but won’t show the message. Facebook Messenger is AWOL. And Twitter won’t show mentions or DMs. My US share portfolio is super easy to track though (as for some reason it always has been on i-stuff). If only I had a US share portfolio.
I hate that this means yet another charger. Yes the magnetic inductive charger button thing is cool but I’m going to lose it. Or go on a trip without it. And that means finding an Apple Store and handing over even more money for yet another special cable that only works with the one thing.
So is it cool? Yep, quite cool. Is it perfect? Not even close. Lots of work needed on the apps and when the WatchG (the rumoured GPS-included model I just invented) comes out I will be a lot happier. Playing nice with Fitbit would be cool too but now I’m dreaming.
Will I still be wearing it in 6 months?
Watch this space.