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A week with the Apple Watch: Some idiosyncratic thoughts

I've had my Apple Watch for about a week now (42mm space grey Sport model with black band). This isn't meant to be a comprehensive review. Instead, here are some disorganized thoughts from the first few days of wearing/using it. 

  • The space grey watch with black band is pretty discrete. Other than my friend who knew I got the watch and a few other friends who noticed me using it, no one has commented or asked about it (which is good). My guess is the bright blue, green, and pink bands catch more attention. The Sport band is very confortable; no complaints here.
  • I only have one friend (a work colleague) that also has a watch, so I haven't tried any of the especially personal communication features. But I can't see needing to send a doodle or my heartbeat with any regularity.
  • Apple Pay worked the one time I tried it (at an Apple store) however the LevelUp Passbook card did not work on the scanner at my local coffee shop and I had to use my phone like usual. If we were still shopping regularly at Whole Foods or Wegman's, Apple Pay would be fantastic. But the smaller grocery store we've been frequenting recently doesn't seem to take Apple Pay, even though they claim to have NFC on the payment terminals. Once Apple Pay is pervasive, this will be super-convenient.
  • The "activate on wrist raise" feature works well (I've read some reviews that complained about it), but it is triggered while playing Dobro and Hawaiian lap steel guitar. Yes, I know this probably impacts all of maybe three people in the whole world, but sliding one's left hand and raising the tone bar makes the display light up. So I have to remember to turn that feature off when playing to save battery and not get distracted.
  • Speaking of battery life, I'm easily getting a full day of use with 40-60% of the battery left at the end of the day with "normal" use. I could probably wear it at night or go two days without fully recharging with judicious use or short periodic intermediate charging (i.e., like while in the shower). But I have no problem with putting it on its charger each night since I have no desire to wear it while sleeping.
  • I like the 1Password app a lot, but I can't think of any passwords that I need to access from my wrist. I feel this way about most of the third party apps. There's potential, but currently these aren't that useful.
  • The activity monitor app works well for me. I don't even mind the hourly reminders to stand up. While I'm at work it reminds me to walk downstairs to the main office to check my mail or go down the hall to pee.
  • Using "Hey Siri, remind me to [insert to do item here]..." is really great. The reminder shows up immediately in my Things app to do list, via the native Reminders app on the phone.
  • I understand why the watch is tethered to an iPhone for most functions, but there are times when I'd like it to connect to an iPad instead. For example, when I travel internationally I like to get a local SIM card for my iPad for maps and internet, and it would be nice to have the watch work with the iPad in this situation (i.e., I tend not to use my phone when abroad).
  • Shortly after getting the watch I received a phone call while connected (but not wearing) bluetooth headphones and was utterly confused about where to pick up the call (on my phone, watch, or headphones). I think that I've figured it out; I just need to remember to turn off my headphones when not using them.
  • I'm still working on getting the notification settings dialed in exactly how I want them, but I should be able to get my phone and watch configured such that there are no audible alerts or ringers from the phone during the day, and instead those notifications will just come in to the watch as haptic notifications.
  • I received a phone call while out to dinner and it was nice that it buzzed my wrist and didn't ring out loud. I tried to respond with a canned text message ("I'll call you back later"), but somehow ended up sending that message to the wrong person. Not sure if that was an Apple Watch problem or just generally an "I'm old and don't know how to text" issue.
  • I like being able to control my music (playing from my phone on wireless headphones) from the watch, but two improvements immediately come to mind here. First, although the digital crown can adjust music volume in the music control glances panel, it should be able to control the volume by default, even when not in that glance. Second, on the 6th generation iPod Nano (which seems like a precurser to the Apple Watch in some ways) you can program the side button be used to skip tracks when double-pressed. On the Apple Watch, double pressing brings up Apple Pay; the functional of this button should be able to be changed.
  • I have loaded some music directly on the watch by haven't tried playing those tunes while away from the phone. But this is an important feature to have.
  • I'm using the modular watch face, with the date, my next calendar appointment, the local temperature, my activity monitor, and battery status showing along with the time. I really like having this info easily accessible (especially the next calender appointment).

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