Wednesday, July 15, 2015

So I tried an Apple watch

I was able to borrow an Apple Watch sport for a week.  I had the black strap.  My experiences had good and bad in them:

The good:

  • Setup was a breeze.
  • Setup of Apple Pay was easy as well.
  • Notifications on the watch were convenient compared to pulling out my iPhone
  • Siri voice recognition seemed superior to the iPhone experience.  Not having it talk back worked.
  • I had fun turing the playing app (I used Apple Music and iBooks for audiobooks) off and on with the watch.  It made it much easier to use non-Apple earbuds without controls.
  • Resetting the Apple Watch to factory resets (erasing it) was a breeze and I was helpfully notified that Apple Pay was then un-configured.
The bad:
  • I wear long sleeved dress shirts often.  It is one thing to pull up a cuff to see a watch face.  It is another thing to to do so to interact.  It is not a good experience.  Roll up that cuff or the Apple Watch is much less useful.
  • You do have to read the instructions and study.
    • I had luck and my first Apple Pay use worked flawlessly.  My 2nd and 3rd failed miserably and I gave up.  I then watched the video that said you had to press the 2nd button twice.  That is not an intuitive behavior.  It is learnable - but it is indicative of the approach.
    • I had some random few photos on my watch.  I'm not sure which ones, and I did not watch any videos to find out what was going on - it was a strange not useful experience.

  • Connectivity between my Apple Watch and my iPhone was spotty.  This caused bad behavior:
    • I did not get some imessage alerts.  My phone did not vibrate, I assume, because I had the watch on.  But the watch did not sometimes get the alerts so, no alerts.  Thus message alerts became less reliable.  For a while, I wondered if I just did not feel the wrist vibrate.  It took testing to verify that this was the problem.
    • I use Duo Mobile for 2-factor authentication.  When it worked, it was brilliant.  Sometimes the 2--factor message did not get back and authentication did not happen.
  • iOS 8.4 iBooks audiobooks has bugs.  Sometimes I was unable to properly navigate within sections/chapters.  Usually I can move to the middle of the chapter on my iPhone screen.  This works most of the time with Apple Watch unpaired, but does fail sometimes.  It worked none of the time with Apple Watch paired for me.  
  • The sport band was very uncomfortable for me.  It was hard to make it tight enough so that heart rate information could be gathered.  Making it tight and then also slipping the end of the band inside (making it tighter) made it more uncomfortable.  For me, it felt cheap.  
  • The back of the Apple Watch was uncomfortable to me as well.
Other... annoyances to me;
  • My watch is fully waterproof to 100 meters, and warrantied to that effect.  That happens to be a feature I want.  Apple seems to be playing games with the water proofing rating.  It is listed as water resistant but I should hold it under water to make the bezel spin freely?  Why not go farther and make it clear that using it in a pool does not break the warranty?
  • For just using a watch, I prefer my watch.  It is easier to read.
  • I had hoped the Apple Watch could help wake me up without even a phone vibrate (I can recharge it during the day to keep it on at night).  The wrist tap was less reliable than a phone vibrate.
This version is clearly not my cup of tea.