So far the Apple Watch is living up to my expectations. Now I'm raising those expectations.
I've had a scant two weeks with the Apple Watch, but it's already changing the way I act — and because of that, the way I feel too. Now I can't wait for watchOS 2.0, because it's going to change everything.
I was the last of the iMore crew to get my Apple Watch. In fact, it arrived only days before I left my home to travel to San Francisco for WWDC and AltConf. For a while, I had that vaguely troubling memory of being the fat, awkward kid who was always picked last in gym class. June 1st rolled around, and Apple finally delivered my watch, ordered on April 10th.
Now that I've had some time to get used to it, I've found that the watch is doing what I expected it to do — and to that end, it pleases me greatly. It's doing a lot more. My impetus for getting the watch was pretty simple: I was looking for an assistive device to help keep my health on track.
Following gastric bypass surgery last November, I've had to stay on a much more regimented schedule of pills, supplements and exercise than I ever had to before. You'd think that after seven months I'd have the routine down by now, but I'm easily distracted. I've set up a calendar with frequent reminders, but I often missed them if I step away from my computer and don't always notice when my phone buzzes in my pocket to remind me.
The Apple Watch fills that gap. I get a gentle tap on the wrist when a reminder pops up. I raise my wrist to see that it's time to take a med. The exercise and activity tracking is working out spectacularly well for me. It helps me stay on track with standing, walking and working out in ways that my iPhone simply wasn't well adapted to.
All of these positive changes were particularly apparent to me when I was out in San Francisco for WWDC week. Typically I get off track very fast during trade shows — the irregular, late hours, the strange food, and sleeping in a strange hotel bed combine, and I'll get way off my schedule. Not so this year: I was able to stay much more regimented and on schedule than I have in past years.
I've taken and made some calls on the watch and regularly respond to messages too. The Apple Watch has become a very useful accessory for my iPhone 6. This is a point a clueless editorial at Slate about whether or not you could use an Apple Watch all by itself seems to have missed entirely. The idea isn't to replace any existing device with the Apple Watch. It's to make the overall experience better.
I'm getting and staying healthier, thanks to the Apple Watch.
The fact is that using the Apple Watch right can have an absolutely transformative effect on its wearers. Take a look at what Jim Dalrymple recently had to say about his experience using it. He's a bit more hyperbolic than I am: He says no product has had such an impact on him as the Apple Watch. I wouldn't go that far, but I do recognize the impact the Apple Watch has had. And it's all positive.
I haven't loaded up the Apple Watch with a ton of third-party apps yet. I do have a few on there, mainly for conveniences' sake. I've installed the Avea app from Elgato, so I can control a Bluetooth light bulb in my office which I use for mood lighting (no more fishing with the iPhone app). I connect to MyFitnessPal, a popular calorie counting and exercise monitoring app. And I also use Authy for quick access to two factor authentication I use on some of my Internet accounts. I'm also using Shazam, so I don't have to fumble for my iPhone to get info on a song I hear.
Right now watchOS is limited in what it allows third-party apps to do. It is, with a few exceptions outside of Apple apps themselves, mainly just a device for receiving notifications. This will change with watchOS 2.0, announced at WWDC last week and due out later this year. The new OS will let third party app makers create audio and video apps that work on the watch. "Complications" — enhancements to the watch faces — will also be put in the hands of app developers. They'll be able to tap into input from the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, accelerometer and microphone — all things they can't really do too much with now.
The Apple Watch feels slow when I'm working with some apps, and a lot of that has to do with its dependence on the iPhone to do ... well, pretty much anything. Once app logic comes to the Apple Watch, things are going to change again, only for the better.
I am looking forward to the transformative effect that real, interactive third-party applications are going to have on this tiny device on my wrist. In fact, I can't wait for watchOS 2.0's release. It's going to be great.