When the Apple Watch was first announced at the WWDC Keynote in 2014, it looked like the world was taking a major leap in wearable technology that actually worked. I had seen some of the Android products that had been released, but they seemed to come and go without much fan fair, but I was excited to see how Apple had made their product different.
Apple Watch is Released
The day the new Apple Watch became available for online ordering, I had to hold myself back. As much as I wanted to be an early adopter, the $600 starting price point convinced me to wait until I could see some reviews from actual users. Everything sounded amazing, but how was it going to hold up in the hands of live users?
The initial reports were mixed, the Apple faithful loved the new device and had nothing but wonderful things to say, while Android users claimed that every feature and function was available on Android enabled watches that were less expensive. I was torn at first, but after spending some time thinking about it, I decided that Apple was the way to go for me, I may pay a little more for Apple products, but they ALWAYS WORK!
Apple Watch Shopping Experience
Although I could have gone down to an Apple Store and tried on a watch, then ordered it online… That is just not how I like to shop. Especially for a high priced item. If I am going to spend $100’s, I want to be able to touch and feel the product when I get home. So, I waited until the Apple Watch was available to physically purchase in the store before I even went to try one on.
Based on the Apple website, I thought the 38mm version was going to be perfect for me. I found a small Apple Watch Sport available at my local store and immediately made an online reservation to go pick up the device a few hours later. When I got to the Apple Store, it was packed with people, but I was quickly helped and a staff member gave me a personalized fitting experience, walking me through the watch and band options and showing me little tips and tricks for getting the most out of using the device. After strapping on the 38mm it quickly became clear that it was too small for my wrist and I was going to need the 42mm version (which they did not have in stock).
After spending some time looking at the different versions of the watch (Sport, Watch, Edition) I decided that the mid-range Apple Watch was the best for my needs. Although the Apple Sport was almost 1/2 the price, it has a basic glass face and has an aluminum body compared to the Apple Watch stainless steel body and sapphire crystal face. I finally knew what I wanted, but getting my hands on such a popular model was going to be a little difficult.
Later the same day, I found the model I was looking for at another Apple Store about 45 minutes away. I quickly reserved the watch online and headed over to the store to pick it up. When I arrived it was even busier than the previous store. The Apple Representative assigned to me was great. He walked me through another personalized fitting to make sure that I really liked the watch I was buying. Once I had my watch in my hands, he helped me to walk through the setup process showing me all kinds of great feature and functions along the way. By the time I walked out of the store (which took about an hour) I felt like I was an expert on the device and I was very comfortable starting to use it right away.
Apple Watch Fitness
One of the main reasons I wanted an Apple Watch was the fitness prompts. I had enjoyed using a FitBit (until I realized I was allergic to it) and I was hoping Apple Watch would fill that void. I immediately started testing out some of the fitness apps I already use to see how they would perform on the watch. I had already been using MyFitnessPal and MapMyWorkout on my iPhone 6+ and their extension to the Apple Watch is very helpful.
The biggest downside is that on the original Apple WatchOS you need to have your phone with you for many features to work, so you end up carrying your phone during your workouts which felt like it defeated the purpose. Although I had learned earlier in the day that many users have purchased to get Bluetooth headphones that can be used to listen to music stored directly on the Apple Watch.
Apple Watch allows users to enter fitness goals, and receive prompts to keep them on track for meeting those goals each day. 3 key areas include “Stand Up”, “Excerise”, and “Move” all which are measured based on your activities that day. As someone that spends most of my day in front of a computer, I find these reminders to be very useful. Some days I might only get up from my computer once or twice a day, but now I find myself getting up and moving around after each prompt received.
Apple Watch Traveling
Using Apple Watch to Travel
As a frequent traveler, I was hoping that Apple Watch would help to improve the experience. Many of my favorite traveling apps (Expedia, American Airlines, United Airlines, Uber, Starbucks) have an Apple Watch app as well, and I was excited to give them all a try. Overall the watch provides an easy way to see important travel information, allowing me to keep my phone in my pocket for most of the trip.
I checked in for my flight via the United Airlines App which gave me copies of my boarding passes right in my Passbook (including my TSA Pre-Check). Flight information immediately became available on my watch and I started making my way to the terminal. On my way through the terminal I stopped at Starbucks for a coffee using the Starbucks app right from my watch without touching my wallet or phone.
After reaching my destination, I used the Uber app right from my watch to get a ride to my hotel. To be honest, I felt a little like Dick Tracy ordering a car from my watch.
The Future of Apple Watch
Now that I have had a few weeks to test out the Apple Watch, I can see all kinds of new opportunities available through this device. There are thousands of uses that we have not even considered yet, and I am looking forward to participating in the process. Within a few days, I immediately started thinking of ways we could create useful apps for the Apple Watch platform. As Apple continues to update and improve the OS, expect to see thousands of apps trying to make their way to the watch for an improved user experience.