by Jim Lynch

An Apple Watch skeptic becomes a true believer

Apr 28, 20159 mins
Consumer ElectronicsOperating SystemsSmartwatches

The Apple Watch can do much more for you than just notifications

Apple Watch owners have sold me on the watch

Yesterday I shared some of the impressions of new Apple Watch owners from Reddit and the Mac Rumors forum. Their posts made me rethink my decision to skip buying the Apple Watch.

In the earlier post over on my other blog, I didn’t think that I would get enough use out of the Apple Watch to justify buying one. When I wrote that post I thought the Apple Watch was focused mainly on notifications, and I hardly use notifications on my iPhone. I also have an issue with two rambunctious avians (more on that below) that would love to get their beaks on the Apple Watch.

But owners of the Apple Watch have educated me on some of the practical daily uses of the watch beyond just notifications. Most customers seem delighted with the Apple Watch, and it hasn’t taken long for most of them to incorporate it into their daily life. They inspired me to take a trip to my local Apple store where I tried on the Apple Watch, and then spent some time actually using the watch. Wow! I was shocked at how much better it was than I thought it would be!

The Apple Watch Guided Tour videos are worth watching

Before I left for the Apple store, I watched all of the Apple Watch Guided Tour videos. So when I got the store, I already knew how to use many of the Apple Watch’s features. I think that made a big difference in my perception of the Apple Watch. I could jump right into using it without having to wonder where things were or how to access certain features.

I was able to change the faces on the Apple Watch, customize them and easily scroll through to find the ones I liked. While I have no doubt that eventually we’ll see tons of additional watch faces available, the ones that come with the Apple Watch were already quite cool. It’s going to be a lot of fun seeing what third party developers come up with if and when Apple allows them to create watch faces for the Apple Watch

I also had no problems checking out some of the apps on the Apple Watch. I particularly liked the Activity app, and also the Workout app. I’m really looking forward to using both of them. And Force Touch made it very easy for me to access additional controls within each of the apps on the Apple Watch.

Navigating the watch’s interface was very easy for me since I was already familiar with it via the videos. It all seemed highly intuitive even though it was the first time I’d actually used the Apple Watch. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch the guided tour videos, each of them is well worth the time if you are interested in getting an Apple Watch.

Space gray: My kind of color for an Apple Watch

So, after changing my mind, I went to the Apple site and ordered the 42mm Space Gray sport model, with the black band. Why did I pick space gray? Well, I liked the stainless steel model too. But I prefer that the watch case fade away into the background while I use the watch (that’s also why I have a space gray iPhone 6 Plus). And the stainless steel model just didn’t do that, and neither did the silver version of the sport model.

And the Edition (gold) version? Well, let’s just say that that sucker is a little out of my price range! But even if I could afford one, I’d still pass on it as the case would still stand out too much for me while I was using it. I know that that cuts against Apple’s marketing of the watch as a fashion accessory. But…well…I’m the type of guy that likes plaid flannel shirts. So I’m not exactly a fashionable kind of dude, and the sexiness of the other Apple watch models is mostly lost on me.

The Apple Watch’s focus on fitness is perfect for me

I’m getting the Apple watch partly for the fitness features (though I’ll have to skip using the wrist guards I usually wear when doing the Body Beast weight workout since the watch probably won’t fit with them on), I think they add real value to the overall Apple Watch experience. Apple has gone out of its way to make the Apple Watch useful as a fitness tracker, and it’s one of the things I’m looking forward to using the most when I get my watch.

I’m in reasonable shape for my age (45) but I did put on a few pounds over the winter, and I think the fitness features in the Apple Watch will make it easier for me to lose those extra pounds. So I’m looking forward to getting my Apple Watch and putting it to the test to get my weight exactly where I want it. The Apple Watch should make tracking my calorie intake and total calories burned each day much easier than before.

Day One journaling via the Apple Watch

One other thing that attracted me to the Apple Watch was the Day One journal app. I use it a lot on my Macs and iPhone, and now it also works with the Apple Watch. I had not thought about the possibility of using the Apple Watch for quick journal entries, but it looks like it will work very well indeed.

Keeping a journal is very important to me, it’s one way to note what’s going on in my life and where I am emotionally on a day to day basis. It’s also a great way to vent about things that are frustrating or upsetting me, or to just write about topics that go beyond technology and that sort of thing. And journaling also helps me keep my writer’s voice in tune as the writing I do in my journal feeds into the blog posts I write here on CIO and on my own sites.

The Day One site has some interesting information about its app for the Apple Watch:

With features like Quick Entry, Voice Dictation, Photographic Entries, and more, we’ve designed Day One for Apple Watch to be the fastest and easiest way to capture moments in life. Quick Entries help you record moments and events on the spot without disrupting your life—allowing you to expand upon your memories at a later time using Day One for iOS or Mac. The Apple Watch is a valuable new addition to the Day One platform, offering new, meaningful ways of recording life as you live it.

Day One for Apple Watch Key Features: Location check-in Voice dictation Customizable quick entries (including tags and activity data) Last photo taken Timeline of recent entries Rich entry view with editing

More at Day One

Other ways the Apple Watch might be useful for writing

Another potential use for me of the Apple Watch is for remembering blog post topic ideas and that sort of thing. It will be very useful if I can simply dictate an idea to my Apple Watch when it pops into my head. Writing is weird in that way, ideas will occur to me at the oddest times, and it’s almost always good to jot them down somewhere for later exploration and possible use.

And when I say “ideas” I mean everything from a headline to a topic to whatever else pops into my head, and if those things aren’t noted, I’m likely to forget them fairly quickly. The Apple Watch might be a very useful tool to record such ideas before they are forgotten. It will be much faster and easier than picking up my phone to jot down an idea.

So for me the ability to do a bit of journaling, note taking, and fitness tracking makes the Apple Watch an intriguing tool that I’m really looking forward to incorporating into my day. I think it’s going to be very useful for me in ways I didn’t realize when the watch was first announced by Apple.

The Apple Watch vs. sharp parrot beaks

The big onion in the ointment for my use of the Apple Watch will be my parrots. As I noted in the blog post I linked to at the beginning of the article, the birds will inevitably try to get their beaks on the Apple Watch. They just can’t help themselves when they see something like that. My brown head parrot Bilbo will want to chew right through the strap, and my caique Xena will try to make friends with the Apple Watch by regurgitating her food for it (eeeew!).

But I’ll do my best to fight them off and keep the watch hidden under my shirt sleeve. It’s going to be a running battle though as both of my birds are very smart and will not forget that the watch is there once they’ve seen it. They’re quite formidable in that regard, particularly Bilbo who absolutely delights in destroying consumer electronics. He’s chewed through keyboards, stripped rubber and plastic off of cords and otherwise made a nuisance of himself. Wish me luck in dealing with him, I’ll probably need it.

June can’t get here fast enough for my Apple Watch delivery

I must admit that it feels a bit strange to be so excited about getting the Apple Watch after I initially dismissed it as not being for me. But I’m going to give myself a pass on that since it’s new technology, and sometimes it’s hard to understand how such things can fit into our lives in a way that adds real value. Perhaps it’s also a sign of middle age that it took me a while to understand what the Apple Watch could do for me, but I wouldn’t be the first guy in his 40’s guilty of that kind of myopic thinking.

Of course, I won’t have my Apple Watch anytime soon. The Apple store site says that my order is “processing” and won’t ship until June. Until then I’ll just have to content myself with reading the impressions of those who already have their Apple Watches. Aaaah well, that’s what I get for not pre-ordering right away!

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