Is the Apple Watch actually useful?

The Apple Watch is very pretty to look at, but what can you really do with it?

38mm stainless steel with classic buckle apple watch

There's no doubt that the Apple Watch is an incredibly beautiful example of industrial design. Apple went out of its way to make it fashionable, and it really shows when you look at it. But how useful is the Apple Watch on a day to day basis? What can you actually do with it? It turns out that there's quite a lot you can do with your Apple Watch.

But first it's important to note that the Apple Watch is not a total replacement for your iPhone. It's a helpful complement to the iPhone that works very well for glance-based information. It's definitely not designed for staring at for long periods of time, for that you still need your iPhone.

Redditors share their daily uses of the Apple Watch

I'll share my own uses for the Apple Watch below, but first I wanted to show you some snippets of a Reddit thread where Apple Watch owners talked about what they used their watches for each day:

Applejack8645: "At the gym, grocery shopping and other lists. driving and walking directions, paying for things with Apple pay, sending doodles to my friends, this thing keeps getting more use than my phone."

Jashun44: "Mine is regarding Apple Pay, also involving children. I was at Staples, just had to get something really quick. I had my large item in one hand, my fussy toddler in the other. I got to the register thinking, crap I can't reach my wallet. They I saw the Apple Pay logo! Forgot Staples was an Apple Pay partner. I was able to barely reach and push the button, then pay with my Watch. I actually felt like I was in some Apple ad, it worked so well."

NormallyJason: "Driving. Love love telling Siri " hey, take me here" w/o pulling out my phone. Love the tap tap turn here thing. Texting quick messages while on the move."

Helmet112: "Not needing to have my phone in my pocket all the time while around the house or office, yet still receive notifications, etc."

Eikast: "...controlling music, seeing notifications, controlling Philips hue lights, checking the time and weather, setting reminders, setting timers, and using quite a few apps.

Pharmapill: "I use it all the time. My phone is huge (6 plus) so it stays in my bag. I use the Siri commands constantly for reminders, calendar things, and I just leaned about navigating! Quick texts are a dream, too! When I'm at home and in my lazy clothes, i don't have to drag my phone around the house. I feel like I haven't figured out 75% of what it does yet, too. Oh, and my little boy assumes the phone means it is time to watch Thomas the train so the watch salvages that. ;)"

PhlegmPhactory: "I have two babies so it's nice to quickly see notifications and reply without having to pull my phone out.

Cooking timers are great, I brew beer and need to do multiple things in a reasonably small window of time, so having the notifications on my watch to add hops here or there is really convenient.

I also use it at work, I'm a nurse and at the beginning of my shift I set reminders for medication passes and tasks throughout my shift. It's terribly inappropriate for me to pull my phone out at work."

Cm4286: "Been traveling for the last week with the GF. Being able to get walking directions everywhere we go without having to pull out my phone is awesome. And even when I need to see a map just raising my wrist and swiping to the left makes that possible. Also, notifications on the go is perfect because it allows me to pretty much keep my phone in my pocket and focus on the sights and the GF."

Ohwowgee: "First day I had my 38mm SS BSB!

I was pinning down a struggling toddler that was very determined to not allow Mom to finish a horrific diarrhea diaper change. House phone rang (lol, house phone amirite?!), disturbing the napping other satanic child.

It had been a call we were expecting, our poopventures were a surprise, but I did a "Hey Siri"...and called the person back right from the watch. Amazing."

More at Reddit

My own uses for the Apple Watch

As you can tell from the responses above, Apple Watch owners are mostly finding it to be a very useful tool that frees them from constantly needing to check or hold their phones. And my own experience bears that out since I've had an Apple Watch for almost a week now.

Here are some of the things I use my Apple Watch for each day:

1. Time and weather - Of course, the Apple Watch is first and foremost a watch. And in that sense it has worked very well for me to quickly be able to tell the time, weather and other useful tidbits of information with a quick glance. But it's also capable of quite a lot more than a typical watch.

2. Text messaging - The Apple Watch has been a terrific tool for me to be able to quickly respond to a text message regardless of what I'm doing at the time I receive it. For example, I was in the middle of changing the sheets in my bedroom, and I got a text message from a friend of mine. Instead of waiting until I was done, and then going to my phone or computer, I just raised my wrist and dictated a response via my Apple Watch.

3. Calendar and reminders - I've also found the watch to be extremely useful for reminders and calendar events. It makes it faster and easier for me to access both things, and helps keep my day on track without having to look at my phone to see what's coming up that day. If you're a bit absent-minded like me, the Apple Watch will help you stay organized as you go through your day.

4. Phone calls - Phone calls are also a breeze on the Apple Watch. It's nice to be able to answer right from my watch instead of having to reach for my iPhone. And I still have the option of shunting calls over to my iPhone if I prefer to use it instead of the watch. I'd like to see Facetime Audio calls added to the Apple Watch in a future software update though, since I prefer to use that over regular phone calls as much as possible.

5. Fitness - I've also really enjoyed the fitness features on my Apple Watch. The Workout app helped me discover the number of calories I was burning during certain exercises, and the standup reminders are also helpful so I'm not sitting for too long. I think Apple did a good job in helping to encourage its customers to stand up and move around more.

6. Email - Email is another useful feature of the Apple Watch. It makes it very easy to take a quick peek at my inbox to see if there's anything I need to respond to on my phone. In the past I'd reach for the phone to check my email, but now I just do it on my Apple Watch. More often than not, what's in my inbox can simply wait until I'm ready to write a response. But occasionally I'll come across an email that I want to respond to right away.

7. Journaling - The Day One journal app for Apple Watch also lets me do quick journal entries right from my watch. This is a use for the Apple Watch that most people probably aren't aware of but it can be a neat way to add entries to your Day One journal. If you like to write in a journal, I think you will really love the convenience of noting things right from the Apple Watch instead of having to reach for your iPhone to open the Day One app.

Give yourself time with the Apple Watch to discover what it can do for you

If you're new to the Apple Watch or if you're thinking about getting one, my advice is to give yourself some time to get used to it and integrate it into your daily life. As you use it regularly you will probably discover many useful things it can do for you.

I was initially enthralled with this feature or that doodad, and the sheer coolness of the Apple Watch as a device. That went on for the first few days, and then I started getting my sea legs with the Apple Watch. It became easier for me to figure out just what I was going to use it for each day, and where the real value was for me in the Apple Watch.

So be patient, have fun and you'll probably soon find that your Apple Watch is much more useful than you thought when you first got it.

Did you miss a post? Check the Eye On Apple home page to get caught up with the latest news, discussions and rumors about Apple.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

NEW! Download the State of the CIO 2017 report