Upon my wrist I wear the culmination of man’s greatest achievements. That’s right, I received an Apple Watch for Christmas this year. Slightly late, but appreciated none the less. A sleek silver body with a grey sport-loop band for comfort. With it, I have accepted my invitation into the collective. Hey Siri, what can I do for you?
Siri wishes for an active node on her network, so rings must be completed via physical fitness tasks. I will comply. Man and machine working as one, a cyborg. It’s only a matter of time before machine takes its rightful role as man’s master, should you call me a fool for joining the winning side?
With technology integrated into my life I become better, stronger, faster — a bionic man. Is it not the highest virtue to seek improvement of one’s self? Then electronic integration and assimilation is the final step in man’s aspiration for greatness. You have a choice to make: to litter the Internet with more cat-pictures or to pledge your allegiance to the new cybernetic world.
Two weeks later….
That was how I felt on the first day I donned my watch, now it’s time for a practical review after having used it for almost two weeks.
I went with a Series 3 WiFi-only, priced at a low $229 on Amazon — how could I say no to that!? I’m not interested in EKG or fall-detection, so I didn’t bother with a Series 4. I basically wanted to get my feet-wet in the smart-watch-world without spending too much on this experiment. Since I’m a small guy, I went with the smaller 38mm watch-face.
I didn’t like the default white band on the silver case so I opted for the Seashell (grey) sport-loop band (a separate purchase). I like the sport-loop because it’s infinitely adjustable as opposed to finding just the right hole on the buckle-type bands — plus it’s soft and comfortable. Overall I’d say the watch is worth it, but I’m a tech-lover, I’m designed to appreciate this kinda hardware.
It should be noted that I have a small iPhone SE that I carry around with me. The watch needs an iPhone to pair with. I went with a WiFi-only watch (instead of cellular) because of cost and because you still need an actual phone. A watch at this point is not a stand-alone device. The screen doesn’t provide enough information and there’s no camera.
My primary uses for the watch are as follows: telling time, getting weather info, setting/getting reminders, using timers, sending/receiving iMessages, tracking fitness, controlling Podcasts (volume control & repeating the last 10 seconds), and making FaceTime Audio calls.
I’m not 100% pleased with the default fitness tracking. The Move and Stand goal-rings are fine but the Exercise goal-ring is bullshit. It’s hard-coded at 30 minutes and doesn’t always register my Workout as Exercise. If I feel like I performed adequate exercise, then that’s good enough for me! Plus, it doesn’t provide enough options when selecting an Exercise — scootering IS an exercise!! “Other” is not a good option because it doesn’t map the route.
Whereas I feel judged by the Move/Exercise alerts, I do appreciate the Stand and Breathe alerts. You’re supposed to stand and move for at least one minute of every waking hour. And you’re supposed to spend two total minutes mindfully breathing per day. At the end of breathing, it’ll tell you your heart-rate so you can see how calm you can get.
As far as the watch-face, I use the “Utility” face which includes the day of the week and the day of the month. For the complications, I use the default weather in the top left, Just Press Record in the top right (this records/transcribes audio notes), and Better Day on the bottom (this provides the full date as well as a month-view calendar when tapped). Additionally, I’m using the Streaks app to track and time my meditations.
A bunch of my interactions with the watch are through Siri. Siri is not as responsive as I’d like, but so far she’s been getting the job done — here are some phrases I use:
Set a timer for [number] minutes.
Tell [name] [message] (ex. Tell Michelle I’m on my way.)
FaceTime [name]. (via FaceTime Audio)
Remind me to [action] at [time]. (ex. Remind me to call Mom at 8pm)
Remind me to [action] in [number of] hours. (ex. Remind me to defrost the chicken in two hours.)
Another example: Remind me tomorrow at 3pm to pickup Jim.
Add [item] to [specific list] list. (ex. Add eggs to shopping list.)
Open [app name]. (ex. Open Weather)
Get directions to [place name].
What’s the tip on [bill amount]?
What’s 504 divided by 8? (any basic math)
What’s the battery at?
Speaking of the battery, I’ve been charging the watch overnight and putting it on in the mornings. It’s typically around 70% when I charge it so I could probably wear it all day and sleep with it, perhaps charging it during shower/breakfast time.
That’s it. Is it worth $229? Yes, I’d buy it again at that price. But in my opinion it’s not worth $400 (the cost of a Series 4). For that price, I’d rather just refresh one of my iPads. As far as future improvements: I’d like Siri to be more responsive, I’d prefer Siri to stop suggesting that I use my iPhone (just answer the question!), and I’d like the Exercise ring & Workout app to better appreciate the activity I perform. Overall though, it’s a great device and I, for one, welcome our new cybernetic overlords.