Brian Willis

Observations After a Week With an Apple Watch

I’d forgotten what a giant pain in the ass it is to have a chunk of metal strapped to your body all day. Your wrist’s centre of gravity shifts. Typing is harder. The watch catches door frames as you walk through them. I knew there was a reason that I gave up wearing a watch 10 years ago, and I’ve had to rediscover it the hard way.

Apple Pay is like something out of science fiction. It doesn’t feel like it should work. They let me leave the supermarket with my groceries, but I half expected them to chase me out the door.

The fitness tracking stuff is as compelling as promised. I find myself walking more to close the activity rings. It remains to be seen how long this will stick, but I think it’s more than a gimmick. In particular, heart rate tracking is way more frequent than I’d anticipated. I’m seeing readings every 5-10 minutes, with no meaningful hit to battery life.

Speaking of battery life, I took the watch off the charger this morning at 6:30, I’m typing this at noon, and I’m at 94%. Battery life like this is practically unheard of in the Apple ecosystem.

The wrist detection is unbelievably accurate. Taking the watch off immediately locks it, and raising my wrist to check the time has only failed once.

Third party apps are mostly useless. There’s nothing here that I’d use every day. This is a real concern for the future of the product. To succeed, the watch needs to be useful and necessary, and at the moment it’s just a fun toy for early adopters.