First impressions of a Watch…

If you’re on the fence about ordering an Apple Watch, a word of advice – don’t do it. I think it’s going to be one of those things you either love or hate and if you’re not chomping at the bit to have one on your wrist, the price of entry probably doesn’t justify the functionality you’re going to get from the device.

If you do think you want one, if you like having tech to fiddle with incessantly, or if you’re just trying to cram as much data as possible into your head all day, Apple Watch might just be for you. Other than getting s42sg-sbbk-sel_GEO_USuse to something other than my old, trusty Swiss Army watch strapped around my wrist, I can say definitively after three days that this new piece and I will get along just fine. It was touch and go there in the beginning. There is a seriously steep learning curve that goes along with it, but after some fits and starts and a lot of tweaking to get the settings “just so,” I have no regrets.

Some things I’ve noticed:

1. It’s heavy. That is to say even with the sports band the stainless Watch is heavier than the watch it’s replacing. With today as the first day I’ve had it on nonstop from morning to night, my left arm feels something between tired and numb. I have to think that by the end of the week I won’t even notice it.

2. Settings are important. If you get a lot of notifications pushed to your phone, you’re going to want to clean house a bit once you get your Watch. Having your wrist vibrate every 30 seconds isn’t value added (to me). However, now that I’m just getting notified about breaking news, calls, emails, and texts as they come in it feels like something worth having.

3. The battery is surprisingly good, but you have to remember to plug it in. I could probably get two full work days out of a single charge, but if I were demanding a lot of notifications, or initiating a lot of calls or messages from my arm, I’m sure battery life would suffer correspondingly. Mercifully the battery at least charges quickly.

4. The app store is still a little thin. It has the basics – a few news sites, Insta, Twitter, some games, calculators – but it’s going to take the 3rd party developers some time to figure out how to get the most out of this wearable piece of screen real estate.

5. It’s networked. That’s the real asset for the Watch. In some cases it’s also an Achilles heel… especially when you’re required from time to time to show up at locations that don’t welcome stray electronic devices with open arms. If you happen to work all day in a place like that, it’s probably best to stick with analog technology. Since it’s not a full time issue for me, I’ll just have to remember to take the thing off (and secure it) before wandering into those parts of the building.

If you’re hoping the Watch will replace your iPhone or iPad, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s not and it wasn’t designed to. It was designed as an add on for one or both of those devices. Ultimately it’s a software based watch with some neat notification functionality built in. It’s enough to give you a glance at the news, switch up the song selection, and let you know if someone is tweeting, but it’s not a phone on your wrist – not yet anyway – but I think it’s pretty clear that’s the direction Apple wants to go in their pursuit of lighter and thinner.

It’s a watch – with some extra functionality built in. Once you take control over the settings it does most of what it was built to do remarkably well – not a surprise given it’s source. Ask me a month from now and I’ll bet it’s another device I’d be hard pressed to live without.

I wonder when I can start looking (and budgeting) for v2.0 to make an appearance…

The most unsurprising post of the year…

I like to pretend that when it comes to iPhone I wait and judge each device on its merits. If that were the case, I probably wouldn’t have owned every variant of the device except the ill-fated 5C. So here, a few hours after its formal unveiling I’ll go ahead and say for the record that I’ll be in the market for one of the variants of the iPhone 6 in the same way an addict is 140901_BIT_AppleLogoin the market for just one more hit. That is to say I’d be likely to lie, cheat, and steal to get my hands on it next week. I’m not playing coy with this one at all. It looks like a pretty damned significant upgrade over even my well-loved 5S… and because of that I’ll be awake at 3AM this coming Friday, clicking refresh furiously hoping to land a coveted place in the order queue before the servers supporting Apple and AT&T melt down and I get bumped into the “Delivers in 2-3 Weeks” category. Because clearly that is far too long to wait. Failing a successful early morning pre-order for delivery on the first day of availability, yes I’ll be one of “those people” in line in the wee small hours of the morning on the 19th. And yes, I’ve already asked for the day off to either take delivery from the comfort of my own home or to fight the masses at the local Apple Store. I know I’m a sick man.

With all that said – and with as much as I love me a new and better iPhone – the real star of this afternoon’s press event was the Apple Watch. Based purely on specs, it’s a remarkable little device… and marks the first time in my life I’ve ever considered paying $350 for a watch. Fortunately, the fine people in Cupertino are giving me a four month breather between the phone and the watch so I won’t have to raid ye olde retirement account just to keep my kit up to date.

It appears that rumors of Apple’s impending doom have been greatly exaggerated.

Watch…

Since sometime in the middle of the last decade, I’ve been using my phone to keep track of time. Wearing a watch seemed like a throwback when I had a device in my pocket that told me the time based on knowing wherever in the world I happened to be at the moment. As phones got smart it became possible to know the time anywhere on the planet at more or less the same time. Progress. That’s how things are supposed to work in the modern world. Except, of course, the Swatch Watch Flumotionsmodern world brings it’s own set of inconveniences… like spending an inordinate amount of time in rooms where your cell phone isn’t welcome. Maybe it’s a function of my OCD, but I like knowing what time it is, how much longer a meeting should run, or how close to on time I am for whatever comes next. That’s hard to do when your only time-teller is locked up in your desk drawer halfway across the building.

Somewhere in the detritus of my past, there’s probably a box full of watches. Some subtle dress watches, some big clunky dive chronometers, and more than a few cheap Casio and Timex models that were cheaper to replace than to fix when they inevitably broke. The problem is, I have no idea where that box might be. I’ve looked for it from time to time, but it really is nowhere to be found. Maybe I purged them when I realized the time-telling cell phone was going to be the wave of the future. Still, I’d love to know where my collection of wonderfully tacky Swatch Watches ended up. They’d be a real conversation starter in a room full of button down serious people.

Alas, the old watches are nowhere to be found, so in a fit of not being able to tell what time it was this morning, I pulled up Amazon and have a very sturdy looking stainless steel number heading my direction even as I type this. Nothing gaudy or over the top. Just a simple face and durable band… a workhorse of a wristwatch that hopefully won’t mind living in my desk drawer when I’m authorized to be a child of the digital age.