Why I kept my Apple Watch

Why I kept my Apple Watch

I bought an Apple Watch, which arrived (kinda late) on launch day, April 24th. I got the 42mm Sport with a white band, despite reservations about that exact model. I dithered for a while about whether to keep it or not, but I ultimately decided to hang on to it, at least for now. I thought some of you might be interested in why, as you may be going through similar decisions.

Wrist texting.

I love being able to see text messages and iMessages on the fly. While not all my texts are important or time sensitive, most of the ones from my husband and a few key business contacts are. I like being able to see texts immediately on my wrist, even if I’m out and about or in a meeting. I can always just ignore the ones that don’t merit immediate attention. But, if I’m waiting on something specific, and I’m with another person, I used to have to let them know the reason and keep an eye on my phone for the incoming text informing me, say, whether Grant would be joining us for dinner or not. Being able to monitor this kind of input on my wrist feels less rude and more reliable—and lets me stay in the moment easier.

Dating app videos.

I made this video about online dating apps on the Apple Watch, which was a lot of fun to produce. (Grant helped a TON with all the editing, by the way!) I’m mostly unimpressed with the current dating app ecosystem, but I think it will be fascinating to watch the apps mature to this new device over time.

Reading Marco Arment’s post about his redesign of Overcast for Apple Watch also egged me on—I don’t get the sense that most of the people making design decisions for apps like Tinder have quite the same indie level of passion and thoughtfulness, but I’m looking forward to being proven wrong… and possibly making more videos to showcase new or different functionality as dating apps mature.

It’s fun being part of the club.

This is a ridiculous reason to keep a $439 purchase, especially when money is pretty tight for us right now. BUT I haven’t had the joy of having the newest hottest gadget at the time of launch in many years. I know it’s a little cheesy, but it’s SO much fun to feel like part of the club, you know? The geek club, the early adopter’s club, whatever. I also made the point in this prior post that having a super tech-geeky gadget sort of visibly identifies me as a technophile, which people might not otherwise assume from the rest of my appearance. (Which is ridiculous, but that’s a whole other problem.)

Even though finances are tight, I managed to justify keeping it because it really doesn’t take that many client hours for me to pay for the thing again. The problem is that I haven’t been able to work over the past several weeks due to some medical stuff I’m going through, but the fact is, I can rekindle my usual client flow soon enough that I was able to talk myself into not returning the thing. Barely. :)

And I LOVE when strangers talk to me about the watch! I’m sure that’ll get old at some point, but it’s fun to have a hip new thing right now. And I’ve been really surprised and pleased by the diversity of the people who are interested in it—it’s definitely not just the expected white male cis straight software engineers, haha. I’m loving the observations and interactions that come with the watch.

OMG Apple Pay!

I’ve still got an iPhone 5s, so I was new to Apple Pay. Using my wrist to check out is SO COOL and futuristic! I can’t get over how convenient and easy and fun it is to use—I’m one of those people who is a ball of chaos in most grocery checkout lines. Anything that means no fumbling for cards or phones is a huge boon. This is seriously the way of future payment processing; I’m convinced of it.

About a week after I’d gotten the watch, I wandered into a random boutique staffed by two 20-something gals. They both recognized the watch and talked to me about it in detail. It was so cute; one of them even ran around the counter and cuffed my sleeves so it would show off more prominently and spark more conversations with strangers! :)

Anyway, the cuffer-gal, who managed the store, mentioned that she was looking into getting new payment processing technology. She was planning on getting something other than an NFC-enabled terminal, most likely chip and pin, but I talked her out of that and into NFC by explaining Apple Pay and that this technology was available in lots of other devices, not just Apple Watches and recent iPhones. I truly believe NFC is going to change the way we transact over the next few years. I’m glad I won her over; I think I did her store a favor!

Fitness tracking.

I’ve never been a huge fitness buff—one time in 2006 I completed a sprint triathlon, and I’ve basically never *really* worked out since. Ugh, that was so exhausting. :) So while I need to lose weight and focus more on health, it’s just not something that’s very high on my list. I would never wear a dedicated fitness band like a Fitbit or Garmin, as many of my friends do—I just don’t spend enough time or energy focusing on fitness to justify the cost.

However, since I wanted an Apple Watch primarily for notifications, I was happy to also get to benefit from its built-in fitness features. I’m surprised to say I find them quite enjoyable—even though I think the “stand” sensors are a bit off, and should probably be smart enough not to tell me to stand while the watch is actively giving me driving directions, haha.

When I set up my watch a second time after initially wiping it to deal with some buggy dating apps, I took the opportunity to increase the activity goals from the bare minimum, too. It feels nice to have an easy, techie way to encourage myself to move my ass a bit more. When I recover medically and can actually work out like a normal human, I can totally see having fun with the sensors to better track stuff like calories and heart rate.

Doodles.

I’m a sucker for doodling. I have so much fun with it. I don’t really care for the heartbeats or the weird morse code or gauche oddly-textured animated emoji, but the little drawing app is a BLAST! It’s also a big reason I’m glad I got the 42mm—those four millimeters make a huge difference in terms of being able to write legibly or draw clearly.

I only wish that you could use more than one color on the same doodle canvas, and that things didn’t necessarily disappear quite so quickly—I’d like a way (besides screenshots) to save doodles someday, too. But I get that this isn’t meant to be a fully featured drawing app. I just kind of enjoy using it like that.

You know what my dream Apple Watch game would be? Draw Something, only watch to watch. I find it hilarious to have to come up with a decent pictorial representation of something on a tiny wrist screen. Maybe it’s just me, but I think Zynga should get on that shit.

Of course, there’s the ecosystem issue right now—I can only share my doodles with a select few people who also have Apple Watches. But it’s fun, and we communicate more than we would otherwise; I feel like we’re sharing little private jokes that bring us closer together than other communication channels would be able to do. This is the least “important” feature of the Apple Watch, but so far, it’s the most enjoyable!

The good outweighs the bad.

There are things I don’t love about the Apple Watch. But I think I’ll save those for another post, or just sit on them and hope they go away with a 1.1 release. Overall, I knew I’d be getting a somewhat low-featured first-gen product, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I like it so far. For the most part, the beneficial features outweigh the frustrations.

Right now Grant has my Apple Watch because I made him take it with him as an icebreaker while he’s out of town at a conference—I really miss my husband, but I also miss my watch! :)