So I’ve been using Apple Watch for over a month now. Here are some random thoughts.

Apps are overrated. Since they have to roundtrip to the phone with every interaction, they are incredibly slow. Better hardware and software will fix this over time. For now, using apps are a waste of time. I still think wearables of this type are (at least right now) primarily notification platforms, not app platforms. We’ll use them for glanceable information, not bury ourselves in them the way we do smartphones1. Current watch apps, for the most part, aren’t being made to reflect this behavior, but they will be.

The Watch is the first platform that I’ve used where using voice commands actually make sense. However, it suffers from slowness as it has to roundtrip to the phone. There have been times where I’m dictating a text message and it will never transcribe. At some point, perhaps voice dictation can be included on the device itself, making this experience much better. (This has been improved since the 1.0.1 update, but could be better.)

The Apple Watch is, not surprisingly, much more reliable (in terms of connectivity) than the Pebble. My phone is now on silent, and the watch volume set to the lowest setting. I’ve never missed a notification2.

The haptic touch is difficult to detect for the first few days but you get used to it. I prefer this over Pebble’s almost garish vibration. The Watch “tap” is subtle and barely audible. Just the way it should be.

Battery life is very good. I find that if I take it off to charge it when I’m preparing to go to bed, I can wear it to sleep. Then I charge it in the morning when I’m preparing to head out for the day. Never had it go below 10% battery this way.

Using it as fitness tracker is interesting. It will constantly notify you throughout the day of progress of fitness goals as well as reminders to stand up. I think this is will prove to be more effective than passive fitness trackers that are less prescriptive.

The use of the accelerometer to only turn on the display when you tilt to view the watch is pretty accurate. It doesn’t work when you’re lying down, but I don’t do a lot of glances from bed anyway, so it’s a small nuisance. I prefer this to the Pebble, where the display is always on, and notifications overtly draw attention to themselves. Perhaps it’s only me, but it’s always unnerved me that other people could read my notifications at all times.

Cleaning is a breeze, although a bit scary. Numerous (although informal) tests have shown that the Apple Watch is much more water resistant than Apple advertises. However, I still get a bit scared putting it under running water.

It’s the most comfortable watch I’ve ever worn (I got a sport band). I have an unusually small wrist, so most watch bands either don’t fit or the end of the band wraps around the wrist and protrudes awkwardly from the top of the watch face. The sport band fixes this by having the band tuck underneath instead of over itself.

The inductive charger is surprisingly nice to use. It’s a small detail, but I love being able to charge my watch by simply placing it on top of the charger instead of fishing around for the end of the cable and then plugging it into the tiny lightning port like I do my other iOS devices. I’d love to see this technology used in the iPhone.

Apple Pay is really nice, if slow. On my latest Whole Foods run, I had to hold my wrist up to the payment terminal for a full 5 awkward seconds before the transaction went through. Another problem is that there is not enough feedback, as the watch display is facing away from you while you hold it up to the reader, so you have no idea if the transaction is going through. It’s definitely not a “tap to pay” experience like I thought it would be, but this is a small gripe. I mean, we’re using our watches to pay for things. This is what living in the future is like.

  1. Just try using an app for more than 10 seconds with your wrist raised; it’s awkward, and your arm gets tired quickly.

  2. Ok, so I have missed a few notifications, but I notice this often happens when I’m exercising, so it’s understandable.