What can you do with an Apple Watch? (Sung to the tune of “What can you do with an drunken sailor”)
There have been a number of posts recently about what you can do with an Apple Watch. I have had mine a little over a week now. My primary goal was to get it to get moving again–and I have been doing that. The lowest I have had the watch–when I charge it at night–was 13%, and that was on July 4th when I was up far longer than normal.
Here is a list of things I have been doing with the watch…
- Tracking exercise (steps, exercise, and standing)
- Notification and response to text messages
- Reading e-mails (From Spark Mail)
- Testing the various music apps (from my previous post about the Apple Watch)
- Paying by Apple Pay (NFC). It flips the salespeople out. One McDonald’s worker nearly hyperventilated–and I’m not kidding
- Set an alarm (the “ding” alarm almost didn’t wake me up–I incorporated the “ding” into my dream for a while)
- Set a countdown timer
- Check the weather
- Receiving notifications about an Apple Maps route (it taps you before the expected turns)
- Controlled my Apple TV
- Controlled audio playback
- Controlled podcast playback (with Overcast)
- Customized watch faces (and have used about 4 so far)
- “Pinged” my phone (just to see if it works–I usually know where my phone is)
- Tracked my heart rate
- Used the camera app as a remote to take a picture of my wife and I (With the Glif smart phone mount and a mini tripod)
- Used the watch as a Tip Calculator (Calcbot)
- Received a weather alert (Tornado Watch tonight, in fact)
- Controlled a Keynote presentation (just to show I could)
- Tracked exercise (different than the 3 bands): bicycling and elliptical
- Checked baseball scores (At Bat)
- Looked at photos (yes, they are SMALL)
- Tracked my son’s chores with ChoreMonster
- Made Dick Tracy type phone calls (this works surprisingly well)
The Apple Watch works well if you want a fitness device that does far more than a FitBit, as long as you are not interested in your sleep patterns (FitBit and Misfit track sleep). The Apple Watch really shines when it comes to motivating you to move (it really does–if you are the kind of person who buys an Apple Watch, you will also be the kind of person who wants to see all 3 bands completed), and with notifications. The Apple Maps integration is the feature that was most surprising to me. I thought I wouldn’t care, in reality, it is a nice addition.
The Apple watch also shines in any situation where a quick interface works well–Apple TV, controlling audio playback, controlling a Keynote, and so on. Even the Chipotle app is perfect because it takes a saved order (assuming you like the same thing) and allows you to order it with a single press. Any time a Staples “Easy” button would work–the Apple Watch works well. And truly–Apple Pay on the watch is perfect. Press the lower button twice, pull up the card, and turn your wrist to the NFC reader–and that’s it. No phone, no card.
Where the Apple Watch doesn’t do well is in situations requiring a lot of text, such as e-mail and RSS readers (and yes, there are a lot of apps with Apple Watch functionality that fit these categories). The digital crown (a nice feature–the Watch would look plain without it) does a nice job with scrolling (Sometimes I wish I had such a crown on my iPhone!), but the screen still isn’t ideal for text-heavy applications. I would also like to be able to make the icons larger (I’m scrolling anyway), as sometimes I don’t press the right app button.
I did buy one accessory for my watch other than Apple Care–the watch really didn’t charge well on its side, so I bought a Belkin Apple Watch stand.
Is the Apple Watch worth it? That is up to you. I am hoping it is a catalyst for me to get back into shape, and if it does that, it would be worth its weight in gold (so far, so good). Sure, I could have bought another fitness tracker, but the ones that are out there never appealed to me–and I’m unlikely to buy a Google Wear watch as I don’t own an Android SmartPhone. I’m a week in, and my wife is already hinting at wanting one–and she used to be happy with her Misfit (it eventually fell out of its little holder and got lost) or her three month old FitBit. She’s already ready to move to an Apple Watch, so that tells you something (remember–my wife is NOT a tech geek by any means).
[Note: My wife’s FitBit tells the time and notifies her of phone calls in addition to tracking steps and sleep. I do not believe that her model tracks her heartbeat]