Counterpoint: Has the Apple Watch lived up to the hype?

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This is my response to John’s article from yesterday. The Apple Watch has been out for 3 months now. I bought a 38mm Space Gray Apple Watch Sport at 12:07 a.m. Pacific Time on April 24, 2015. I showed up on my doorstep in Austin, TX, a week and a half later. I have worn it every day since.

I bought it for the notifications. I keep my iPhone in my pocket, and I keep the sound muted. However, I’ve become immune to the vibrations, and frequently experienced phantom vibrations, which led me to take out my phone a lot more than usual to check on things.

The Apple Watch solved this problem. A little tap on my wrist lets me know of messages and notifications. I’ve also found it handy to answer the phone on my wrist, especially while driving, because Austin has a ban on holding a cell phone while driving.

The watch has also made life a little easier in other aspects. It tells me my heart rate, both at rest and when I’m working out. I can set timers so easily using Siri. My next meeting is right on the watch screen, so I can tell at a glance where I need to be.

I can check the temperature outside (currently 99 degrees and climbing here). I use my watch to give me directions. It taps me one way when I get to a left turn and taps me in a different way for a right turn. I don’t need my iPhone out to know where I’m going.

I carry my to-do and shopping list on my wrist using Todoist, which means I can push a grocery cart and look at my shopping list at the same time. And I adore Apple Pay.

Most of the initial complaints were battery life and how slowly the apps loaded. However, later reviews marveled at how long the Apple Watch could go without having to recharge.

Most nights, I put it on its charger at around 50% battery life. It doesn’t bother me to charge the watch up every night. I’m already charging my iPhone and iPad Mini on a nightly basis, what’s one more device?

App loading speeds have increased, too, via an Watch OS update, and Watch OS 2.0 promises even greater gains in app speed and functionality.

I love my Apple Watch. It does exactly what I need it to do and a whole lot more.

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16 thoughts on “Counterpoint: Has the Apple Watch lived up to the hype?”

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  2. I’m pleased to see this counter-point article on the Apple Watch. I agree with everything mentioned, especially the battery life.

    I want to add one silly thing that I’m pleased with.

    There are all sorts of bands, and bumpers, and covers on sale at Amazon that you can use to customize the appearance of the watch. I was given a white sport with a matte steel case.

    But right now, through the miracles of online ordering, I’m wearing a hot pink band with a gel hot pink bumper to protect the case. (As some of you know, I love pink.)

    I get a lot of comments on the customization and had three street vendors marveling at the watch yesterday.

    I’m happy my Apple Watch doesn’t look like an Apple Watch. I want to look cool. But my own brand of cool.

  3. Although I stopped being an Apple fangirl a couple years ago, I and having a slight case of gadget lust for the Apple Watch. Now that I’ve gotten used to wearing something on my wrist again (Fitbit Charge HR), I think I would enjoy the Apple Watch. But since I don’t use an iPhone, I don’t see myself buying one anytime soon. I should look at Android Wear watches again, but so far they are all too bulky and clunky looking for my liking.

    1. Take another look at Pebble as well – they have a new watch out, and they still do 90% of what’s mentioned here. (Plus being cross-platform.)

  4. The battery life is the main deterrent. I hear those who say they charge their Iphone every night. I charge my 6 Plus once a week! When the IWatch can go a week, I’ll buy it

  5. I really like my Apple Watch, but I’m waiting for the Health measurement stuff to become more useable. All I want is a simple way to show my steps and more customized watch faces. I’ll hold my breath for updates!

    1. You can get the steps pretty easily in the watch, just tap/open the Activity app in the watch and then swipe up on the Activity Summary to get a text screen with your current active calories, total steps and total distance (I found this by accident last week). Plus the data gets archived in the phone app too, if you scroll to the bottom of the day’s stats, you’ll find steps.
      I’m with you on more customized watch faces, though!

  6. I’m too rough on a watch to spend that much for any “smart” watch. I cheap Casio Wave Ceptor is good enough for me.

  7. I got my watch in early June and completely agree with everything in this article. It tells time with great accuracy plus gives me access to my texts, reminders and alarms far less obtrusively than the phone in my pocket. The face of the phone shows me my next appointment at a glance by just lifting my arm and looking at it. I use Listease for my grocery list in the store and again the phone stays in my pocket. This is really important: it greatly reduces the need to stare at your phone! That is good. It tracks every step I take all day as it’s always on my wrist and that is very motivating to keep moving. It’s light and very comfortable compared to the Citizen Eco drive it replaced. And the battery is always above 50% when I take it off at bedtime and set it on the charger on my bed stand. It will only get even more useful over time but it’s already well worth the $500 I paid for it.

  8. $500 for an apple watch you need to charge daily (or MAYBE every other day).

    $90 for a pebble you need to charge weekly (I’m over 20% every friday when I finally charge it).

    Of the things mentioned in this article that the pebble cannot do I must ask — is it worth $400+ for that? Not for me. Don’t get me wrong — the watch looks awesome and interesting. Just not $500 interesting. But I wouldn’t buy a Rolex, either. I think the best think I could say is I am not their target audience.

    I suppose if you’ve the cash to spare, go for it. I do and I still wouldn’t pick up an apple watch. I just need the notifications — but I can do most of the things described in this article as well. And I need to be able to use my watch independent of my phone. And I need to be able to go without charging my watch all the time (my max is 14 days).

  9. I believe the main notion is that that the Apple watch is overkill (as are the Android watches). There are a handful of “connected” watches that give updates such as Pebble, Fitbit Surge and various Garmin watches that do all the things listed and have typical battery life in terms of weeks … not days.

  10. Before purchasing my applewatch I had several concerns:
    – battery drain on watch; – battery drain on my older iphone 5s while tethered with bluetooth; will it be better than my moto360 androidwear and pebble 1st-gen?
    I can say that 2.5 (out of 3) concerns were non-issues. My phone surprisingly actually lasts longer now then ever (the genius said it’s because the iphone screen doesnt light-up as often). Functionally, the applewatch is IMO better than the moto360 and pebble as a day-to-day wearable. However at approx $200cdn more than my moto360… the applewatch is not $200 better. Where moto360 (and android wear) has apple beat is the variety of watch face themes I can load (and download). I often flip thru 3 different watch faces within a day on my moto360- not so on my applewatch… I cannot see Apple ever allowing me to ever showcase a Rolex-inspired submariner face (due to copywrite infringements). There is literally only one face I am happy with, and i’ve pretty much committed to it.

  11. Excellent article Margaret. Clearly, I underestimated the sizable group of happy Apple watch owners who are thrilled with their Apple watch. The comments that I received have definitely made me rethink how I choose my topics to write about. The purpose of my article was not meant to belittle those who have purchased one. I have just not been impressed with the marketing and advertising strategies that Apple has used to make its case as to how this would improve my life. One thing for sure…I got,people talking. Have a great day!

    1. I just want to say – as an owner of a Pebble who doesn’t see themselves switching to an Apple Watch anytime soon – I enjoyed having the point-counterpoint, and looking back at what worked and what doesn’t. It’s useful thought.

      On a lot of this level of ‘daily use technology’, I find that people who can answer the question of ‘what are you going to do with it?’ before they buy are usually the ones happiest with the purchase, and having a retrospective of ‘what is it actually useful for’ helps in recommending and understanding the answers to that question.

  12. I mostly like mine, however it takes too long for a caller to show up on my watch. By the time the call shows up on my watch, the call has gone to voicemail.

    1. Mike,

      It sounds like you need to unpair an repair your watch and iphone. My Apple Watch notifies me within half a second of my iPhone ringing. I had a similar issue with message notifications showing up after then appeared on the phone and a repair corrected this issue.

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