8 Very Cool Things I Love About My Apple Watch

3 minute read
| Editorial

I really, really love my Apple Watch. (42 mm, stainless steel, sapphire, leather loop band.) Thinking back, I wonder how I ever got along without it. Here’s my somewhat random collection of thoughts; a list of things that are essential to my life now.

Apple Watch Series 0.

My Apple Watch, Series 0. Perfect sapphire crystal after 22 months.

My first observation is that Apple observers like to fantasize about the day when the Apple Watch will be completely independent of a paired iPhone. That is, of course, so that an Apple Watch can be bought by anyone. Not requiring a partner iPhone should increase the available market, and that’s good.

For now, however, one of the nice things about the Apple Watch is how much it can and does intelligently leverage from it’s paired iPhone. Until the day comes when Apple figures out how to integrate the two into a Star Trek-like comm badge, this elegant partitioning of data works very nicely.

So. Long ago, I developed a working relationship with my Apple Watch, but haven’t formally presented a list of things I like so much about it. These are things that come so very naturally in my life and make it better. Come to think about it, that’s what this watch is all about.

I’ve seen some writers lament that they’ve used an Apple Watch for a few months, then put it in a drawer. That’s a complete mystery and one reason for cataloging its virtues for me. While some other smartwatches may do some or all of this, here’s what I love about my own Apple Watch. Not in any particular order.

Apple Watch Virtues for Me

#1. My daily steps. Anytime, anywhere, I can check the activity monitor in the dock and see how many steps I’ve walked each day. Being a writer, it’s important to track that because it’s all too easy to sit too much. I have a daily goal, and meeting that goal will keep me healthier.

#2 My Next Event. My Apple Watch, at a glance, tells me what’s next. With so many things going on both at The Mac Observer and in my family life, it’s important to be able to see what’s next and when. Even when the iPhone isn’t near by. This is a godsend for me.

#3 Apple Pay and Notifications. It is wonderfully cool and convenient to just reach out to a Point of Sale terminal and pay with Apple Pay. I don’t have to reach into my carry bag and fumble with an iPhone. Better yet, with my particular credit card, I get a confirmation receipt of the amount paid in just a few seconds on the watch. This is how I pay for my haircuts, and when my barber sees the receipt (from her Foursquare reader) on my watch she just raves.

As for notifications, I have them managed so that I only see what’s important to me.  The little orange circle at the top of the display is my friend.

#4 Hobbies. Two of my interests are weather and astronomy. While I don’t do as much observing as I used to, it’s still helpful to keep track of sunset time. This is especially helpful in the spring and fall when I’m furiously writing in the afternoon, and I need to take a walk before it gets dark. But I’ll admit, when it comes to getting a full picture of the weather and forecast, I reach for my iPhone.

#5 Countdown Timer. I use this a lot more than I thought I would. Whether it’s a short nap with my cat in lap or keeping tabs on an oven that’s pre-heating, it seems like, in my busy day, I’m always setting a countdown timer. It sounds frenzied and obsessive. Actually, the Apple Watch countdown timer is so easy to use, it’s a joy.

#6 Heartbeat. While I’m relaxing or napping with my cat, it’s often handy to keep tabs on how low my heartbeat can get. The record low for my heartbeat, when in my recliner is under 60. I keep trying to break that record. Breathe deep, John. (And yet, I turned off the breathe reminder right away. Endlessly annoying.)

#7 Workouts. Every time I take a walk, I use the workout app in my dock. The outdoor walk has a magnificent display. With a glance, I can see how far I’ve walked, my heartbeat, Calories (kcal) burnt, my walking minutes and time of day. Then I save the workout, and it’s forwarded to my iPhone for further inspection.

Apple Watch and Outdoor Walk monitor

I can track my outdoor walk on the fly.

#8 Phone calls and texts. Sometimes, when I’m about the house, away from my iPhone, I’ll get a text message or phone call. Being able to respond right away is just awesome. Maybe some people carry their iPhone in their back pocket when around the house, but I sure don’t. I’d plop into the couch to watch TV and (maybe) damage it.

There are many more apps and things one can do with an Apple Watch. I’ve just touched the surface of what I do and focused on those things essential to my daily routine that I love. The point is, you too can tailor the Apple Watch to your own lifestyle. When you do, you won’t be able to live without it either.

One Apple Watch Complaint

Only one? Well, it’s my biggest. Why, after almost two years, is there only one Apple Watch face that displays digital hh:mm:ss? (The activity circle.) Not even the astronomy face can display digital hh:mm:ss. Surely, some developer has solved that problem! If not, I hope Apple fixes that soon.

9 Comments Add a comment

  1. macjeffff

    The timer is invaluable for me, too. I like to grill out, and it’s the best. Ditto Apple Pay. Many texts are best answered on the watch, too. And I especially like dismissing calls. Ahh!

    If you’re a techie and you don’t pay with an Apple Watch, what’s the point of being into tech? Oh, and the Apple Watch is fabulous for navigating freeways in a strange city when you don’t want to look at your phone. A lifesaver — maybe literally.

  2. Old UNIX Guy

    OK, I’ll provide the counter-point… 😉

    First of all, macjeffff … so instead of looking at your phone while driving you look at your watch instead and think that’s a safe(r) thing to do??? Amazing. Scary!

    And yes, I’m a “techie” … if someone with 30+ years of experience and who currently helps administer a 700+ node Linux cluster with PB’s of storage counts as a “techie” …

    And I have no use for the Apple Watch. I haven’t worn a watch since the last century and nothing about the Apple Watch has made me want to start wearing one. Look at the list above of things that everyone says they love about their Apple Watch … it’s similar to every list I’ve ever seen … and 90% or more of those things can be done from your iPhone.

    Oh, but wait, you would have to pull your iPhone out of your pocket and your watch is already on your wrist! Oooooh, yeah, I’m so lazy that that’s worth $400+ to me … NOT.

    I’m sorry, that’s a bit harsh … but I am just trying to make a point. If you find the watch valuable, great. I don’t … sorry if that means I need to turn in my techie badge.

  3. First of all, macjeffff … so instead of looking at your phone while driving you look at your watch instead and think that’s a safe(r) thing to do??? Amazing. Scary!

    “Hey Siri, what time is it?” Also these days are their vehicles on the market that don’t have a built in clock? I remember having a cheap watch strapped onto the steering wheel.

  4. John:

    I share your love of the Apple Watch. I know that there is one Mr Chaffin at TMO who likes but does not love his AW, but I believe that he wears his nonetheless.

    Your reasons are similar to mine, and if I may, let me simply state that the AW, as currently designed and tethered to the iPhone, simultaneously extends the reach and power of the iPhone, and provides a very personal assistant literally at one’s fingertips where one needs it. It both makes the iPhone that much more accessible and useful (e.g. I can track my flight connection status and changes literally while running through unfamiliar airports while carrying luggage; or get traffic or weather status updates where I need them), and obtain biometric feedback on my health and performance status. It’s now an essential part of my daily arsenal for work and play. I have not taken it off since it’s release, except to charge it overnight.

    @OldUnixGuy: I’d say your credentials qualify you to become techie-emeritus in perpetuity, and your assessment is as valid as anyone’s. That said, not only are there health and personal status indicators on the AW that are not on your iPhone (heart rate, workouts, stand/activity reminders) but more are under development and coming that your phone can never do.

    More importantly, much depends on your lifestyle. Not unlike your work habits, such as whether or not you work at the same location day in and day out, and therefore might prefer a desktop computer, vs being frequently on the move and therefore might prefer a laptop; if you are in an active profession (eg a lab or doing patient care where your hands are frequently occupied) being able to see and respond to messages, or even take phone calls when your hands are occupied is more than a convenience and in my case have made the difference between being able to take an important timely call vs continuing to play phone tag with loss of time and productivity. This is not unlike what one astute reviewer wrote when reviewing the first MacBook Air; if you’ve got to ask ‘why’, then this is not meant for you; you’re not the target audience.

    I would only add, that not unlike so many of Apple’s products, pictures and reviews do not do it justice. You’ve got to put one on and put it through it’s paces to appreciate it, be it an iPhone (which many reviewers ripped on release), an iPad (which was dismissed as an oversized iPod Touch) or the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro (which is getting great reviews by actual users). At the end of the day, not every device is meant for every user. First, know thyself, young lad.

  5. I would only add, that not unlike so many of Apple’s products, pictures and reviews do not do it justice. You’ve got to put one on and put it through it’s paces to appreciate it,

    My wife gave me an Apple Watch for Christmas of 2015, she didn’t want one. After 2 weeks of watching what I was doing with mine she wanted one so we headed off to the Apple Store. We both very much like them.

  6. Thanks, Lee.

    I think, once you start using it, you quickly come to rely upon it in ways you simply could not have anticipated prior to experience. This further makes it hard to adequately explain, in mere words, to a sceptic who has not tried it, why any device provides a good, great or even outstanding user experience and tool.

    Now, if only I could convince my wife to put one on, we could do the heartbeat thing. Alas, my digital heartbeat remains unrequited.

  7. Doug Petrosky

    You missed a HUGE one that was unexpected for me and makes the idea of an Echo or Google Home make very little sense. My AppleWatch is now the most convent, accurate microphone for questions and home automation. I don’t have to speak up, or worry about accidental invocation. You can say Hey Siri all day and night and never affect me.

    I simply lift my wrist toward my mouth and unlock my door, turn on or off Fans and lights. You want to fall in love with HomeKit? Wear an AppleWatch and command your home the right way!

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