"Help, I'm obsessed with my wrist!" Apple Watch reviewed
17 June 2015
Does the Apple Watch really aid personal and business productivity? A publishing executive reviews his first six weeks of ownership
As a technology geek, I found it hard to resist the lure of Apple’s first foray into wearable technology, the Apple Watch. I’d steered clear of other wearables – such as pedometers and Google Glass – but I took the plunge with the Apple Watch without really knowing what I was going to use it for.
Six weeks on from strapping the watch to my wrist, I've found that it has subtly changed my working day, in ways that I hadn't expected.
The watch retails from £299 for the Aluminium version to an eye-watering £9,000 for the blinged-out, Gold edition. Apple launched it at the end of April, following months of rumour and speculation about the device’s feature set and battery life.
This first version of the Watch – and trust me, we’ll see an annual fanfare of fresh models – is essentially an interactive display for your diary, emails, texts, weather, financial information and pretty much anything that can be squeezed on to a small screen.
As with your phone, you can also receive news alerts, answer calls, dictate notes, track your exercise, control your music – in fact, do just about anything that you'd want from your watch.
But it's the features that are invisible to the eye that make the watch more than just a miniature iPhone.
Thanks to Apple’s new “Taptic Engine”, the watch effectively taps you on the wrist when it wants to alert you to a diary item, text or breaking news story. The diary taps are especially useful, as a prod on the wrist is the perfect reminder for appointments, meetings and scheduled calls.
Similarly, phone calls are also displayed on the phone, allowing you to discreetly decline a call or flamboyantly answer it by talking to your wrist.
The device also measures your daily activity in steps taken, stairs climbed and exercise taken, reminding you when it thinks you’re being too sedentary (and we know that Apple doesn't take too kindly to sedentary...). It also measures your heart rate throughout the day and encourages you to stand for at least a minute every hour. There’s fun to be had with reviewing your heart rate after pitch meetings or becoming the most informed member of your team as newsflashes pop up on your wrist.
After an initial period where your watch over-shares – I really didn’t need to know about the sad passing of a TV ventriloquist in the middle of a finance meeting – you learn to pare down its notifications to those that are most useful to your daily life. However, the one thing the watch won’t do is help you avoid the social awkwardness of glancing repeatedly at your wrist in company.
John Innes is associate director at Think. He’ll be reporting back in a few weeks if he discovers more useful new features and ways to use his Watch…