The first 72 hours with Apple Watch


I vacillated on buying an Apple Watch for months. On one hand, its the first wearable that Apple introduced, and since my religious beliefs (or at least device purchase history) reside with Apple and not Droid, it seemed natural. On the other hand, really? A wearable? for real?

This device was real money. Not just a token investment for the sake of saying ‘I’m modern, I’m an early adopter, I’m current’ but a real financial choice. But in the end, not getting one felt as though I was a curmudgeon sitting on my porch telling kids to get off my lawn. So, alas, I saddled up.

I made this decision just recently. I didn’t pre-order, I didn’t web order. I decided if I was going to get one, I would fully buy into the model Apple is trying to sell. I live in LA and conveniently for me, Maxfield in Beverly Hills was one of the few retail locations that offered in store purchase. So I called to learn what the buying experience was like. Turns out, they too are at the mercy of Apple shipments. So while I could come in and get fitted, play with the device and have a physical in person buying experience, the likelihood of walking out with one same day, was slim to say the least.

I understand why Apple chose Maxfield’s. I had never been there before, hadn’t really heard of it. Of course, I am rarely in the market for leopard print leather pants or $18k skull and snake rings (which were f&%$ing cool mind you), so its understandable. I rolled in on a Thursday, and it was raining. I wouldn’t think to share that, except that due to the rain I didn’t get quashed at the door for not having an appointment.

Buying an Apple product in a retain location felt different than the Apple Store. I historically love buying my Apple gear in the Apple Store – it feels contained, hyper branded and I always feel well taken care of. So this was different. And I enjoyed it more I think. Over the past year in LA I have frequented the Santa Monica Apple store from time to time, and it is loud. It is busy, it is crowded and it is hard to focus..

Maxfield doesn’t suffer from this experience. It is small, curated and high touch. I was walked through the experience, features, lifestyle appropriateness, costs and delivery timing. Once I chose my model, I was fitted (with a dummy watch, that I tried to buy before I knew it was dumb) and given my options.

As it happens, the model I chose arrived next day, I was called and I went and got it. Perfect! I was going away for a weekend with friends and family and I would have plenty of time to play with my new toy.

The packaging was right in line with what we have all come to expect from Apple. I was surprised the actual box was white and as large as it was. It was reminiscent of Tag or Rolex with the well formed and designed packaging, but that is status quo for Apple anyhow.

So enough of this lead up stuff. I got the watch unpacked and on the wrist. The set up was not complicated. As usual Apple has made the set up process pretty simple.

I was surprised by a few things, and maybe this is me not having exposure to extensive use so far, regardless:

  • The watch settings required ‘another’ app on my phone. Why not just built into settings?
  • The activity app is separate and not seemingly integrated into ‘Health.’ Why not? I want a single record.
  • I can’t seem to track my heartbeat over time – in that, I can’t see past heart monitors – this would be helpful to store, no?
  • Notification management is separate from all other notifications settings? why? can’t we create a single UI?

The first few hours were a lot of trying to use the watch the way I thought it would be used, lots of scrolling, clicking, painful arm muscles from extended unnatural arm positions etc…. Once I got over trying to get this thing to work they way my phone does, I finally let it do it’s job.

The first 72 hours acted as behavioral modification for myself. I was, in fact, not prepared for an Apple Watch.  I went through a few phases of adoption, kind of felt like mourning. It went like this:

1. Excitement

WooHoo! New toy, let’s play with it!!!!!

2. Oh, this isn’t a mobile device.

ummmm, I can’t do much on this (translation – I can’t input a lot of things here)

3. So how, pray tell, am I going to use this….

Wait, I’m not pulling my phone out half as much as I normally do.

4. My phone’s battery life just got better.

I could of sworn blue tooth drained my battery significantly with other equipment, why is this one working bett… ooooooooooh.  My phone isn’t on as much cause I am processing notifications via my watch not unlocking my phone every 3 minutes.

5. Is this the future?

I suppose it is.  I don’t think I realized how much of my digital footprint was simply me processing information and not necessarily typing, inputting, responding.

So, in hour 73 I am hopeful. Even excited to see what’s next.  The base suite of apps are helpful. I am processing email and text messages like a pro and keeping my inbox and unread text message counts down more so than a week ago.  I am getting used to the haptic notifications and totally find use for them over visual and audio alerts.  very useful in meetings, very useful when driving.  I am excited to see what apps opt to invest in the watch extension – things like Sonos, cable remotes, Google Maps (I still can’t trust Apple Maps), LinkedIn, Harvest Time Tracking, Marriott (hotels in general) among others.

I realize that Apple was not the pioneer in wearables – Samsumg and others have been building these for years.  In fact, I imagine Apple took learnings from challenges or failures of their competition.  The apple watch is not perfect, nor is is dramatically life changing.  The apple watch is a modification of your behavior.  It feels subtle, it is subtle.  So know that going in and respect it.  And be prepared for an evolution of the device and your own interaction. It will take time, maybe even more than 72 hours… 🙂