written by Jerica Truax (@JerikandraLurve)
I was pretty disappointed when I pre-ordered my Apple Watch at 3am only to find that it wouldn't be delivered until June. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from Apple on April 24th that my watch would indeed arrive on that day. Sadly, I had a busy Friday and ended up missing the UPS guy but thankfully, he redelivered on Saturday.
"Must be one of those Apple Watches", the UPS guy commented as I signed for my package. I laughed and said yes but from the looks of the package, I'm not sure what gave it away. The packaging was much bigger and longer than I had imagined. Someone on twitter said that it was probably to keep the watch bands flat during shipping and that seems to make sense.
Inside the box was your usual plain white Apple boxing "Apple Watch" bezeled on top with pride. Contained within was a white opaque watch case and it brought back memories of when I used to wear a watch and the kinds of flat clear cases they used to come in. There was a white M/L band separate from the watch case and at first I thought I would have to manually attach the band but looking further, I found the 38mm Sport watch already had a white band attached so I assume it's the S/M band. I confirmed this when I attached the watch to my wrist and found that I had to use the last available hole. At some point I'll probably switch to the larger band.
I barely glanced at the charging cable and wall plug as I pressed on the button and then the digital crown to try to figure out how to start up my new watch. The digital crown was the key and as I saw the apple logo faintly show up on the watch face, I swear I heard the ominous Mac boot up chime but I'm pretty sure that was just the excitement playing tricks on my mind. Startup took a while and I was still semi-worried I would have to charge the watch but I left it alone for a minute or two and got my iPhone 6 plus out and ready.
When the watch finally finished booting up, the first screen asked about pairing with my phone. I was able to start pairing on the watch and open the Apple Watch app on my phone and set it to pairing mode too. Pairing involved taking a picture of the watch face with my phone (kind of). Pretty neat instead of having to finagle around with bluetooth naming devices and pins. After pairing, the phone app asked if I would like to sync/download all the possible watch apps from the apps I already had installed on my phone. I selected yes and then waited as the watch face showed a syncing progress indicator.
Once finished, my watch was ready to use! This was about 9am in the morning and I had planned to work out with Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD so I made that my first goal: play with the fitness gyros. I set it up for maximum goals and that gave me a goal of 830 calories for the day, 30 min exercise, and 12 hours of standing time. I then proceeded to work out with my DVD and afterward noted that my calories were only just over 200 while the 19 minutes of exercise seemed to ring true with a 20 minute work out. However, I assume it was mostly counting cardio time since that's when my heart beat would have been more elevated but it probably doesn't count calories burned based on how much weights are being lifted and such. Later on, I did find the actual work out app (separate from the fitness app that runs all day) so I may have to give that a try on another day.
I went on with my day with just the digital clock face that also included mini indicators for the weather, calendar events that day, and a mini circle grid of my ongoing fitness status. It wasn't till later that I tried force touching the face which ended up triggering the option to change the watch face. From that point on, I switched to the Mickey Mouse face. ;)
Right away I was receiving notifications on my watch. I tried texting my fiancé in the room upstairs from it and dictation seemed to work pretty well for both audio and speech to text. Weirdly enough, I had to go in and manually configure each app in the Apple Watch app on my phone to allow them to use notifications on the watch. Some apps did not have an apple watch app yet, such as Facebook Pages and when those notifications arrived on my watch, they were nothing but useless. "So and so has commented on a post on your page" with "Dismiss" being the only option. I ended up getting sick of those useless notifications and opted to disable certain apps from notifying me on my watch. Developers with push notifications take note: get a watch app developed soon or those notifications will get disabled by users pretty quickly.
Replying to tweets seemed pretty easy and using the notifications screen for texting wasn't too bad either. One thing I still haven't figured out however is how to configure who shows up under your notifications. I assume it's just your favorite contacts (or the first few that fit in a circle around the face). This made it hard to communicate with someone without the phone unless you were replying to a text they had already sent you and god forbid you dismiss instead of reply because you'll never be able to contact that person again from the watch until they text you again.
I also setup an alarm on my watch and was surprised that the phone's alarms did not show up and therefore must be mutually exclusive. Later that day, when the alarm went off, both the phone and the watch were ringing and I was able to dismiss the alarm from the watch and both of them went silent. I'm still not sure how that worked since that same alarm for 2pm was set on both devices. Do they both sync up if they are at the same time or something? Still a mystery.
I did have the opportunity on the same day to accept a call from my watch. My fiancé and I were in the car running errands. He was driving but even still, my phone was in my purse. My watched notified me I had a call incoming and I accepted the call there answering 'Hello?'. It took about 1 or 2 seconds before the voice came through on the other end but it was crystal clear and I was able to communicate very well with them even with any extra car noise in the background. So, accepting phone calls: Success and I felt not only 'like a boss' but also like Dick Tracy.
Throughout the day, I thought about the watch's battery but had not yet found any outright indicator as to how the battery was doing. It wasn't until about 9pm at night that the watch notified me it had about 10% battery life left and it asked if I wanted to put it into "Power Reserve Mode" where it would still tell the time for me but no other features would be available. I was at a birthday party at the time so I opted for this mode and used it for a few more hours throughout the night just to tell the time. Again it took a little finagling to figure out that it was pressing on the digital crown that would show the time (it no longer responded to just flipping my wrist up) and the only watch face for this mode was in a digital green.
When I got home about midnight, I took the watch off and laid it on my nightstand attaching the magsafe adaptor to the back of it and it immediately showed the Apple logo like it was booting up again. I plugged my phone in and set it right next to it, two companions in a symbiotic relationship with me.
All-in-all, I'm pretty happy with my first day using the watch. It took some getting used to not needing my phone nearby but it was actually a good feeling to be able to let go. On the other hand, there were times using my watch where I got frustrated and just retrieved my phone to use instead. The funniest thing however was in the morning when I was getting ready and I kept needing to check the time but I'd easily forget that I have the time on my wrist and try to hunt down my phone.
It'll definitely take some getting used to but for a 1.0 product, so far I'm actually pretty impressed and yet I don't feel like I've even scratched the surface on what this thing can do either; let alone the development opportunities it holds in store. I've already started setting up one of my own apps for WatchKit and also one of the apps at work. The options are limitless (well mostly) and I don't think I'm the only one who will start wearing a watch again after 10+ years of not doing so.