When rumours first started circulating about the Watch (or the ‘iWatch’, as it was most commonly referred to as pre-announcement), I wasn’t particularly excited. Well, not particularly excited at using one myself, anyway; as a developer for Apple platforms, I was of course interested in the prospect of a new device to make stuff for. For myself, though, I imagined it might be another superfluous distraction, a gimmick.
I’ve been wearing one for about 2 months now. I was always going to get one, to try it, to learn about it — whether I planned to wear one long-term or not (how could I develop for a device I hadn’t used?). In wearing one, though, I’ve found that it is a useful device, not just a gimmick.
I don’t tend to use the watch much; as in, raise my wrist to do something on it use it (with a few exceptions, that I’ll explain later). Actually, its greatest benefit is that it allows you to use all of your devices, less.
You might think that having a notification device on your wrist, so easily accessible, would leave you more distracted by the always-connected world than ever before. In my experience so far, I’ve found the opposite. Most of us are distracted by our phones a lot more than we’d like; constant notifications, any of which give the perfect opportunity to unlock said phone and procrastinate further. With the watch you get a gentle tap on the wrist, accompanied by a little ‘ding’ — a quick glance is all that’s needed for most notifications. You don’t need to touch anything; just a quick peek at the tiny screen, which lights up as you bring it up to a viewing position, to find out what was important enough to interrupt you.
And then you lower your wrist, and carry on with the real world.
The watch, as I’m sure you already know, has a strong focus on fitness/exercise/general activity. Every day, you’re given 3 goals to achieve; a Move goal, an Exercise goal, and a Stand goal. You get a ring for each, which fills up to show your progress, and you get various ‘awards’ as you complete tasks related to them.
I have started exercising a lot more since getting the watch, but that’s because I started cycling again, coincidentally around the same time. Having said that, it is fun to be able to see how much you’ve done, and perhaps motivates you to not take a lazy day, for fear of falling short of the watch’s goals!
I do think this is a great feature of the watch (the fitness focus, that is). For others, who are maybe not so motivated otherwise, it could make a big difference.
I mentioned that there are a couple of occasions where I do actually use some of the apps on the watch. Well, that’s when I’m cycling. I track my rides with Strava and the stock Workout app, both of which just require you to open the app and start recording a new session. I also sometimes use the Maps app on the watch while I’m riding, for navigation when I’m exploring.
It’s so nice to be able to quickly check stuff on your wrist, instead of having to get your phone out from wherever you stow it while riding. This also applies to notifications; almost all can be ignored while riding, except for emergency-type-stuff, and phone calls (which can be answered on the watch). Without the watch, emergency stuff might go unnoticed for too long, or you’d be in your bag checking your phone every time it beeped at you.
These days, almost everyone has a mobile phone (a smartphone, for most). They’ve become an almost essential part of our daily lives. The watch is obviously not in the same category. It can’t replace the phone, because it can’t function on its own. It’s more of an extension; one that provides convenience. There are some things it does that the iPhone doesn’t, but not many.
No, the watch is not necessary. But it certainly is useful.