Like many eager Apple fans, I was one of the first people to pre-order the companies’ first wearable piece of tech, the Apple Watch. After joining the hordes at 8am in early April for online pre-order, I finally received my device through the post in early May, a couple of weeks after its initial release. Stock was low and demand was high, but after three months I evaluate whether it’s worth inviting it to your wrist.
Wearable tech is nothing new, multiple manufacturers have been in the club for years, but as with anything ‘Apple’, it’s learnt lessons from its competitors, and probably has the next ten iterations of Watch planned out. I bought the basic black-banded Sports Watch Edition, and for me it’s silly if anyone goes for the higher models, least of all because the newer and much more advanced model will be a large improvement on the first. At £339 it isn’t cheap to start with, but that is for the larger 42mm basic model, not the £299 38mm model.
Version 1 of the Watch encompasses many great features, let alone a superb design. It’s clear from the offset that build quality and ease of use go far beyond many other watches on the market. Sure, it isn’t waterproof, neither does it have a built-in camera or many functions outside of your iPhone’s bluetooth range, but it’s the gradual connection you build with your Watch that makes Apple’s first effort a shining success.
For the first few weeks of wearing the device I tested it out using my new bluetooth Jaybird headphones, loading on a handful of songs and strolling around without my phone. You can store a total of 250 songs, though that’s based on an average size. This works great, and made me feel incredibly futuristic, with just a watch and headphones entertaining me. I know you can do this with plenty of other devices, but it’s the sleek design and interface with iTunes that put a smile on my face.
As time progressed, I slowly grew accustomed to the ‘little things’ that provided the most convenience – because after all, this is a convenience and nothing more. I already have a perfectly good watch, which I received many compliments about on a regular basis, but now it resides in my draw. The main feature I’ve found the most satisfying from Apple Watch is when I receive a notification or message.
A couple of vibrations on my wrist and I know that someone is contacting me or I need to keep an eye on my fitness goal for the day. Simply lifting my wrist in line with my eyes awakens the screen, automatically displaying the message or notification at hand. Scrolling through the message with the Digital Crown enables easy navigation, plus you can reply via the watch’s built-in Siri or pre-made replies.
Now I mostly leave my phone in my bag when on a journey, allowing me to effortlessly watch out for messages and even use Apple Pay for small purchases. It’s very sci-fi and cool, and though I can lift it to my mouth to make phone calls, I don’t think I’m quite ready for society to see me go full-on Dick Tracy just yet.
Again, these are features that many other rivals can already achieve, but it’s the Apple eco-system that makes it so much better. The crisp visuals on-screen, beautiful construction and the user interface that just, well, works. It’s not without its niggles though, sometimes the software has trouble keeping up with my inputs, especially when selecting music with my bluetooth headphones.
Plus, the sluggish behaviour even presents a few bugs which make things a little cumbersome at times. The battery, too, lasts barely two days, but with the magnetic charger making it easy to add extra juice, I’ve gotten used to introducing it into my daily schedule. Having said all of that, the first major update to Apple Watch will be arriving shortly, bringing with it a whole slew of upgrades and changes. Let’s hope that fast-forwarding a music track via the Digital Crown is one of them.
To conclude my three month impression of the Watch, I’m happy with the experience so far. The main features I use are controlling music in the gym, using apple pay, setting timers and telling the time, but I can’t wait to see how Apple build up to their next iteration.
I recommend you go to an Apple Store and have a go, then take my comments in hand and make your decision.