The following is a brief record of events over the entirety of Sunday May 3, and Monday May 4, 2015.
Sunday May 3, 2015
I wake up every day at 5:00 AM. I’ve got young children at home, so from 5:00 AM until when they wake up is when I do my “side hustle”. I write here at Tools & Toys, The Sweet Setup, and various other corporate blogs. With a full time job and a wife I like to spend time with, I try to do all my side work in the mornings.
As soon as I get up, I grab my watch and my iPhone. I come out in the kitchen, make some coffee, and grab my laptop. One of my duties here at Tools & Toys is to manage the Deals page. This is my first task this morning. My watch is on, and I’m standing at our kitchen counter to get a head start on my hours standing goal that Apple Watch wants me to hit daily. I’ve got two flights this afternoon, so I know I’ll be sitting a while.
It’s time to head to the gym. I work out at a 24/7 facility near my house. It’s not fancy and probably overpriced, but it’s open 24/7 and close to me, so that gives it a leg up on any other gym. The first workout of the week is always shoulders, so I grab my gloves and head inside. I launch Apple’s workout app and use the “other mode”. The Apple Watch doesn’t have a specific “weights” workout, so I figured this would be an okay way to track these. I’ve found that I burn around 100 calories when I work out with weights. I get my heart rate up slightly, but nothing like a cardio session does.
After I do my shoulder workout, I move on to the elliptical. I only do about 10 minutes because I need to get back home to get a few things done before my flight.
One of my favorite memories growing up is my dad getting Hardees on the weekends for breakfast. I’m trying to start that trend with my family as well. On the way home, I decide to stop and fill up my wife’s car with gas. Gas station pumps really need to support Apple Pay. I also stop by Panera Bread and pick up a coffee, one of their “power sandwiches”, and 2 cinnamon crunch bagels. My wife loves them, and I got her one for today and tomorrow. She’s staying with her mom while I’m gone, so this will be a nice treat to wake up to.
Apple Pay on the Apple Watch works flawlessly and is extremely convenient. The more I use Apple Pay on Apple Watch, the more it feels like it was meant for it. I had finally gotten to the place where I wasn’t getting comments about using Apple Pay on my iPhone, but the Apple Watch is certainly drawing attention.
My wife and I head over to her parent’s house. Her mom watched our kids the previous night to give us a much needed break from parenting. We attend our church’s Saturday service, but we wanted to get over there early so her parents could attend their church worship service.
As random as it sounds, we clean my father-in-law’s dental office on the weekends to make extra money. Yes, I do a lot of side hustle activities. With my wife currently four months pregnant, I’ve taken over the task full time. We drive separately, since she is staying and I am not. I head on to clean the office.
Being a parent of two kids, I rarely get to turn my brain off and do a mindless activity. Cleaning is almost therapeutic for me. I turn on my Powerbeats 2, stick my iPhone in my pocket, and start a podcast from the Overcast Apple Watch. I’ve found that starting, pausing, and stopping audio content from Apple Watch has been extremely useful. Even media applications that don’t have an Apple Watch app can still be stopped and started from the Now Playing glance.
After cranking through a few podcasts, I swap over to the NEEDTOBREATHE Live Album.
I get a few iMessages while cleaning and being able to read and fire off quick replies from Apple Watch is extremely handy. iMessage is the social network that I use the most, and group iMessages are something that I use daily.
My flight leaves in a few hours, so I head over to the Airport. My watch is about 80% charged, so I feel confident that I’ll make it through the day. I have 2 flights, so I’ll be on Airplane mode over the next few hours. Without Wi-Fi or a bluetooth connection to a phone, Apple Watch simply becomes a watch.
I’ve landed in Washington DC, so I pull out my iPhone to call an Uber car. I probably should have done this with the Apple Watch app, but pulling out my phone is still second nature for me in a lot of situations. I don’t use Uber often, so it’s easier for me to use the service on a larger screen. The iPhone app also allows me to get a fair estimate based on the location I am wanting to go to. On the way to the hotel from the Washington Dulles airport to downtown DC, I check up on missed emails and iMessages while I was flying. This was all done from my iPhone.
I’m all checked in and meet my colleagues in the hotel lobby as we head to dinner. I had sent my wife a text while I was riding in the Uber car to check on my youngest son who woke up with a fever. She texted me back that his fever had gone away (we suspect he is teething again), and I was able to easily glance down at my watch to read it without being disruptive to our dinner conversation.
The rest of the evening is spent talking products and strategy. My iPhone is in my pocket, and my watch is silent. While I love technology for communication, there are a lot of times when the devices have take a back seat to face to face communications. I end the night around 11:00 PM, and my battery is at 20%.
Monday May 4th, 2015
I’ve got a full day of meetings and another 2 flights ahead of me, so it’s going to be a busy day. I want to get a quick workout in before the day gets in full swing, though. I head down to the hotel fitness center and repeat a similar workout from yesterday. Instead of focusing on shoulders, I do a chest workout. The fitness results from Apple Watch are very similar to yesterday’s workout. Being able to track my heart rate is important to me. At my 30 year-old check up, my doctor told me that elevating my heart rate four times a week is really important for guys my age. He said that a lot of guys spend plenty of time lifting weights, but fail to do workouts that get the heart pumping to increase good cholesterol. It may sound cliché, but my days go better when I start them out with a workout. My goal for heart rate when doing cardio workouts is at least 120 bpm, but it can spike higher depending on the activity. Being able to measure this while working out is getting me to push myself harder.
Our day of meetings begin, but work is still going on back home. I’m a one man department, so I don’t have any backup when I’m gone. I’m not nearly as concerned with emails as I am iMessage. My co-workers often use iMessage as a poor man’s ticketing system. I’d prefer email for requests, but iMessage is convenient for them, so I make it work. Apple Watch is great for these situations. My phone isn’t vibrating, but I can glance down when I feel a buzz on my wrist to make sure it’s not a message I need to deal with.
My day has been busy. I’ve rarely pulled out my iPhone, but Apple Watch has been a great companion. When we’ve taken short breaks, I’ve quickly scanned my e-mail and iMessages. None of it needs to be dealt with right now, so I know I will use my iPhone to respond when I am riding back to the airport.
I think a lot of the magic with Apple Watch lies in that it’s constrained. It’s not meant to be used for long periods of time, nor can be it without your arm getting tired. I’m starting to see what Apple meant when it said that Apple Watch is their most personal device. It reminds me a lot of the Nest thermostat. It’s an extremely technical device, but is meant to serve you in small ways. A person can spend hours staring at their iPhone, but only seconds with their Apple Watch. I love what the Nest is doing in the background to save me energy, but it doesn’t require me to interact with it much.
I’m in the car riding back to the airport. I spend the ride catching up on what I’ve missed from the day. Once I get to the airport, I find out that my first flight has been delayed a half hour. I only had an hour layover, so I am going to be pushing it to make it home. I send my wife a text message from Apple Watch letting her know the situation. If I miss my connecting flight to Chattanooga from Charlotte, I’ll be stuck till the next morning.
While I’m waiting on my flight to board, I get asked about the watch from another couple. This led to an entire conversation about where technology was headed, and how it could impact the way medicine is practiced based on having so much more data available to our doctors from a longer period of time.
Thankfully, everything worked out on the flights and I made it home fine. The only tricky moment came when I was running from one terminal to the next to make my connecting flight. I’m tired, and my 5:00 AM alarm clock is going to come early. Apple Watch is at 15% battery with fairly heavy usage today, so it served me well.
We’ve seen a lot of positive and negative reviews of Apple Watch. In my opinion, the negative reviews are from the people who are expecting Apple Watch to replace the iPhone for a lot of tasks. It’s not meant to do that. It’s meant to be a companion. It’s meant to be a great watch, a convenient way to see notifications, and a way to access data quickly. There are times it’s the best device for the task, and there are others where it’s not practical to use. If you are sitting at a desk all day, your Mac is the tool of choice. It makes no sense to read emails on your Apple Watch if you are in a situation where you could use your iPhone.
There are some ways that the Apple Watch really excels. When it comes to fitness tracking, it’s combining a step counter, heart rate monitor, and activity logger all in one device. I really see a world where I’m showing my doctor information from Health.app on our yearly checkup (or even uploading ahead of time). What the iPhone did for instant communication, Apple Watch will do for fitness tracking and measuring of health data. Another way is in the car. I use the Miccus Mini Jack Rx to stream music from my iPhone to my car’s AUX port. Before Apple Watch, I always have to get my iPhone out of my pocket when I get in the car in order to browse my music. With Apple Watch, I simply pull up the music app and quickly scroll. I can also use Siri to do this as well.
Like any 1.0 product, Apple Watch has plenty of room to improve. I’d like to see the Digital Crown and the side button become customizable. I want the crown button to launch the Watch app, and the side button to take me to the app screen. I’m the type person who deletes iMessages, but doing this on Apple Watch is time consuming. It requires a swipe and two taps to delete each one. Third party apps can either be super fast to launch or so slow that the display goes to sleep before it loads. I imagine this will get better with OS updates. The apps are streaming from the iPhone over bluetooth, but fully native apps are coming later this year according to Apple. It’s important not to compare what Watch OS 1.0 can do compared to iOS 8.3. When new platforms are built, compromises have to be made in order to ship. Apple will likely add in glaring omissions over time.
I’m actually surprised how little I use Apple Watch day to day. This is a huge positive to me. I’ve got enough problems keeping away from screens that I wanted a device to help put technology in its place. When I get home from work, my iPhone is placed on my night stand, and I rarely look at it until my kids go to bed. If someone calls, I’ll get notified. If an important iMessages comes through, I can respond. I won’t be tempted to pull up Twitter or check Instagram from the watch (yes, I know they offer apps, but it’s not a good experience). The magic in Apple Watch lies in what it can’t do. There is no web browser. There is no App Store on the device. It’s providing just enough data to keep you in touch and informed, without being a distraction. If Apple Watch owners are simply more aware of what is going on around them, then the product is a success in my mind. It’s allowing us to have access to great technology, but still live in the real world. I wonder if we will look back at the world where people have their eyes glued to their iPhones as an era where people didn’t know how to control themselves.
Apple Watch is a unique device. It’s form over function in a lot of ways. It’s a beautiful watch that can do a lot of things on top of telling time. It’s a great fitness tracker, a great way to control your iPhone music, see your calendar appointments quickly, and scan your messages. It’s the best device in certain situations, but the worst in others. On May 3rd and 4th, Apple Watch was a central device in my computing life. On May 5th, I was back in the office in front of my Mac and external monitor. While traveling, Apple Watch was a window into my life. When I was back in the office next day, Apple Watch was my watch again. John Siracusa once said time equals money, but money doesn’t equal time. If Apple Watch can help us better manage our time with technology, then it’s money well spent.