Premise: I have loved Apple products since 2007, with the introduction of the first iPhone. I had been longingly looking across the border to our American friends for a year, and when it was finally introduced in Canada in 2008, I lined up for 12 hours to get my hand on one. Since that time, I was hooked. Everything just worked beautifully back then, and several iPhones, iPods, iMacs and iPads later, everything still does.
Yesterday, I added another Apple product to the family. Strangely enough, this one doesn't sport the tell-tale "i" pre-fix, but instead, it is just simply called "Watch", or rather "Apple Watch."
To tell you the truth, I didn't even watch the keynote of Tim Cook's introduction of the Apple Watch. It's the first time I ever didn't watch an Apple keynote live, or even recorded. It just didn't appear to me as the Apple Watch would be a product I could be interested in. I knew one would come, eventually, but I hadn't worn a watch in years, and I didn't think this would be much different from the ones I had in my drawer. And the fact that it wouldn't function without an iPhone? That'd be so stupid, I thought. And then I yawned.
The day (or rather) night of pre-order came and went, and I couldn't be bothered to stay up until midnight to put in an order, because I didn't really care. But then, last week, the first real reviews came out. And most of them were glorious. My daily dose of tech blogs was full of raves, and photos, and more praise, and more photos, and I started to look more into the whole Apple Watch thing.
Warming up to the idea
On a whim, I made an appointment at the Coquitlam Center Apple Store to try one on. I was very impressed, but still not sure if I would really fork all that money over for something I didn't really need. Who needs a watch anymore, these days? I sit in front of a computer all day (which has a clock), or I'm in the car (which has a clock), or I'm in my kitchen (which has several clocks, microwave, stove, wall, you name it), or in my living room (which has a clock on the cable box), or in my bedroom (yeah. Alarm clocks. One on each bedside table). But there was more to this thing than just a time piece. I looked further into its features and descriptions. Now my mind really took off. If I was to fork over that much money, it needed to be worth every dollar. Did I want it? Did I really need it? And why?
Fitness tracker on steroids
Step counters. Fitness bands. Smart watches. I have wanted one for ever, so I have looked into all of these. The Fitbits and Jawbones and Fuelbands and Misfits. I even owned one or two for a day or two, before I sent them all back. None were really useful to me. None were providing an instant result, a real-time report. Without phone, none of them were any good, and just plain old ugly to boot. I figured, if I have to wear something on my watch- and fancy free wrist, it better also tell me the time. So all the bands without watch features were out, instantly. I also didn't want to have to press a button to see the time. It would be a watch, and there shouldn't have to be any buttons to view the time.
One particular feature of the Apple Watch really intrigued me: The nagging Stand-Up part of the Activity app. The Apple Watch wants you to make sure you stand up and move around for at least one minute out of every of 12 hours a day. It would tap on your wrist and remind you. And then, when the program found that you moved enough, it would also tell you that you accomplished the goal and you would go again about your business. I had no idea if it would work that well in a real life setting, but I was excited to try it.
More connected than ever
This day and age, how can a normal adult with phones and computers be unavailable? Apparently it's possible, because I regularly miss phone calls and texts. Which is actually quite sad, since I always carry my phone around with me. However, my phone is almost always on mute, and it's often in my purse. Then it can ring and buzz as much as it wants, if I'm in a noisy restaurant with my phone in my purse hanging from my chair, I won't hear it vibrate or even ring. Can't tell you how many phone calls I missed when I was right next to my phone the whole time. Having a gentle tap on my wrist when a text would come in, or an email, or a phone call really, suddenly seemed very, very interesting.
The ore-order that wasn't
In the end, I caved and ordered an Apple Watch on Thursday, April 23rd. One day before the end of the pre-order period, one day before you could possibly walk into store and buy one off a shelf. My confirmation came back with delivery in June 2015. Oh well, I thought, since I didn't bother to pre-order the day the watch had come out, I would have to wait, just like everyone else. No biggie. But only a day later the order's status change to "shipped". And on Tuesday, it arrived at my door step. No, not June. Tuesday, April 28th. Apple was more than cautious with its predictions, and I believe a lot of people will see their Watches a lot sooner than they think.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
I'm not going to write about the aesthetics of the Watch, since everyone has their own likes and preferences, but for what it's worth, I do love how small and light it is. There are two reasons I chose a "Sport" model: First, because I wanted the cheapest model they had available. IF it would prove to be a useful tool, I could always get a more fancy finish in version 2. Secondly, because my most beloved watch ever was an aluminum Swatch. I loved its looks, and the cool, smooth and lightweight material. When I saw that Apple made an aluminum watch, it seemed only fitting that I would choose that one. The 38 mm Watch is dainty and small, at least on my freakishly large wrist. However, since I am a lady, I am allowed to wear a dainty watch. No, it's not "too small". I can read it just fine, thank you. Plus it doesn't scream "I'M A SMART WATCH!" or "I LOVE BLING!"... it just sits quietly and unassumingly on my wrist, ready to spring into action when I need it.
Time will tell - Excuse the pun!
After about 24 hours of using one, I can report that the two main requirements I had for the Apple Watch have been met. The Stand up feature is amazing, and it works very well. The messages and phone calls come in, and answering them right on the Watch is quick, easy and it works. But it does so much more than just being a fitness tracker and an extension of your phone. I haven't even tapped into many of its other features, but what I am discovering steadily is very promising. The most surprising thing for me is that I am actually glad I am wearing a watch again. Yes. I do have clocks everywhere I look, but the usefulness of actually wearing one on your wrist (that tells you the date, what time it is at your parent's house AND your next calendar entry), should not be underestimated. I have a feeling the times I was late for an appointment will be a thing of the past.