Apple Watch Followup Review
July 1st, 2015
I’ve been wearing my Apple Watch for over a month now, and I must say, it’s lived up to my expectations as a fitness device and “iPhone extender.” Due to the watch’s minimalist interface, navigating through the watch’s features without consulting the user manuals is like wandering through a large, confusing mansion without a map. Thankfully, the companion iPhone app includes a library of informational and instructional videos that guide the user through tasks such as customizing the watch face, making phone calls, and using Apple Pay. In this post, I will write a followup review to my previous Apple Watch review, highlighting the features I’ve enjoyed most and elaborate a little more on how the Apple Watch has helped me establish a more active lifestyle.
Here’s a brief summary of some of the ways my Apple Watch has made my life easier:
Apple Pay. Although most stores I frequent have not yet implemented a system for accepting Apple Pay, it’s been a delight to shop at stores that do for one main reason: I’m lazy. In fact, I’m so lazy that I find it a pain to dig through my backpack every time I want to make a cashier purchase. Due to a recent car break-in/robbery, I’m extra paranoid that someone will steal my backpack if I don’t have it on me at all times. Also, I easily misplace things, so it makes sense to my lazy brain to keep my stuff in one place. Consequentially, I practically carry a suitcase on my back everywhere I go. It’s embarrassing to rummage through my bag trying to find my wallet while a line of people grows behind me at the checkout. It’s a lot less embarrassing to just hold out my wrist over the card reader until I hear the satisfying “ding” of a completed transaction.
iPhone Locator. Part of my laziness is due to my brain’s lack of RAM. The human brain is said to only keep track of three or four moving balls on a screen cluttered with lots of moving balls. Likewise, my brain forgets where I put my phone a lot since I carry a lot of little to-do items in my brain’s “RAM.” Recently, I misplaced my phone (again). I was too lazy to log into iCloud to use the Find my iPhone service, which is a great service to use if you suspect your iPhone has been stolen since it tracks its GPS location. The watch does not use GPS, however. You don’t need to sign into iCloud to use it either. All you need to do is swipe up on the main screen and scroll through the various “glance” pages until you get to the screen entitled “Connected.” If you press the ping button, your iPhone will start making a loud, high-pitched sound (regardless of the volume you left it at) as long as the phone is within Bluetooth range of the watch.
Workout App. I’ve used the watch’s built-in workout app a few times and found it pretty interesting. For those who want detailed information about their workouts, this app seems to be just what the doctor ordered! It creates a report of your heart rate on a moment-to-moment basis so that you can see how hard you really exercised and precisely when your heart rate peaked and valleyed. The workout app lets you choose the kind of activity you want to do and the number of calories or minutes you want to burn during your workout. It also keeps a record of your workout data. Because the Workout app has so many bells and whistles, I don’t really use it. My lazy brain much prefers my favorite feature of the app: the passive activity monitor.
Activity App. Out of all the features I use, the Activity app is, by far, my favorite. This feature has literally changed my life. In the past I used to sit in one place for hours to the point where I developed back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Being the lazy person I am, I could use a personal assistant to remind me to get off my lazy ass every now and then. Even more motivating than the built-in “stand coach” is the progress meter for measuring cumulative minutes of exercise and active calories burned. At first, I thought the goals were too easy, but in reality, it takes some effort to walk at least half an hour per day, especially with a crammed schedule. By achieving my activity goals in a consistent manner, the Watch rewards me with little badges (similar to the icons Call of Duty players unlock for reaching certain milestones in the game). When it comes to making fitness a lifelong habit, “gamifying” is the best way to go, at least in my experience.