How the Apple Watch is being used by real people in the real world is something iMore is paying a lot of attention to. Over the next few months we're going to be checking out several different use-cases and perspective so we can see what's working and what still needs work. To start us off, I asked my sister, a clinical and health phycologist on-staff at a major teaching hospital, what her Apple Watch is like in action. Here's what she told me:
I received my Apple Watch in late May. It was the 38mm space gray Apple Watch Sport model, and it replaced a Pebble I'd been wearing for a while. I'm not an early adopter by any means, but wearables offered to solve a very real problem for me, and the Apple Watch offered to solve them even better.
I work at a teaching hospital, and many of us use Spok for our paging system. These days that's an app on my iPhone. Most dress clothing for women is criminally low on pockets and that makes carrying a phone around on in-patient wards impractical. I often have to carry a lot of other things, which means my hands can be full, and there's a very real risk of dropping my iPhone on the stairs or floor.
At the same time, it's also risky not to have my iPhone with me. Even if I think I'm just running from my office to pick up something, and I'll be back in a minute, I could run into someone or get pulled into something critical that keeps me away for much, much longer. Moreover, when I'm with patients, if a page comes in, getting my phone out, opening my wallet case, unlocking, and checking the message, can be time-consuming and disruptive. The original point of pagers was to be glanceable, and I wanted to get back to that.
The Pebble, which my brother gave me as a birthday gift shortly after it first came out, was my first attempt. With it, I could leave my iPhone in my office and not only still get my pages on my wrist, but also get texts from trainees if and when they needed me. I liked that the Pebble always showed the time and had long battery life, but ultimately there was little I could do to interact with the notifications, the alerts were loud and obtrusive, and it was big and bulky. So, that led me to switch to the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch isn't much lighter than the Pebble, but for a woman wearing business clothes, the aesthetics are far more pleasing. Notifications work well and I really, really like that I can quickly respond to them. That's extremely helpful. I've found notifications on the Apple Watch to be especially good when I'm at a conference, when arrangements need to be made, messages are flying back and forth, and schedules are changing all the time. The ability to keep up with all of it without having to have my iPhone constantly in front of me, or missing something when it's not, is invaluable.
That you can get phone calls on your Apple Watch is brilliant. Previously, leaving my iPhone back in my office meant I missed calls. No longer. Now if I'm walking, on another floor, or even on my way somewhere and I see an important call, I can either text back or, if appropriate, answer right on my watch. Just the other day that feature helped me get to the right building and kept me from missing my shuttle. Phone calls on your watch might sound like an extravagance, but it has real benefits.
I also use TripCase for travel planning, and I get notifications for that on my watch as well. Having plane and train tickets available on my watch has been incredibly convenient.
Activity has been more of a mixed bag for me. I'm on my feet a lot at work as it is, so I don't always need reminders to stand up. I do want them when I'm doing paperwork, because then it is valuable for me to take a break and move around. I don't want them when I'm with a patient and can't stand up. If there was an easy way toggle them on and off for arbitrary periods of time, that would be great.
I don't like wearing watches or jewelry when I work out, so I haven't been using those features. I also don't like wearing watches or jewelry when at home, so the Apple Watch is mostly a work device for me.
I wish the Watch would show the time all the time. Having to twist my wrist or tap the screen to bring up the time can be awkward or inappropriate in some settings. On days when I need to see the time most of the time, I switch back to a normal watch. If Apple could figure ambient time out, the Watch would be perfection.
Maps are also fantastic and one of the best things about the Apple Watch. I walk almost everywhere but have almost no sense of direction. I don't like using Maps on my iPhone because it can be a distraction or a target for theft. With the watch, because of the taps, I always know where I'm going, and I never miss a turn. I can't stress enough just how great they are.
I also check alarms and weather and have even used the camera remote to take group photos. I love having calendar appointments as a complication as well. It's incredibly convenient at conferences or when you're moving around a lot. You can see where you have to be with just a glance, no fishing for iPhone or iPad required.
Overall, the Apple Watch has been an amazing time-saver and convenience for me. And the more I have to do, the better it is. On my busiest days, the Apple Watch literally saves me enough time that I can take a break, grab lunch, and still care for my patients and see to my responsibilities. In that regard, it's absolutely brilliant.
Her workload would crush me in a day, so that she's getting so much utility from the Apple Watch is beyond impressive to me. If you'd be willing to share how the Apple Watch works for you, let me know in the comments!
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