Thursday, May 07, 2015

One Week with the Apple Watch - Hits and Misses

After one week with the Apple Watch, I'm a fan.  However, there is definitely room for improvement. I haven't worn a watch in over 10 years and I debated the Apple Watch long and hard.  Did I really I need an Apple Watch for $400?  After all, my iPhone is always in my pocket and it does way more than just tell time.

I pre-ordered the Apple Watch Sport 42mm (large) in space grey with a black plastic band at 3am ET on April 10 via the Apple Store app on my iPhone.  I already had the watch in my favorites list in the Apple Store app so it took me less than 30 seconds to order the watch before going back to bed.  The e-mail confirmation I received from Apple stated a delivery date of April 24 - May 8.

Apple Watch Sport 42mm (large) with black plastic band


On April 25, I received an email from Apple stating that the watch would be delivered on Monday, April 27.  The watch arrived as scheduled but I was out of town on a business trip and didn't arrive home until Wednesday to unbox the watch.  I also scheduled a personal online training session with Apple to get the watch setup and configured.  It was a fantastic user experience as I could follow along with a real-time video capture of the agent's Apple Watch on the screen and ask all the questions I wanted.  The agent knew all the answers - except for my questions on enterprise usage with Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Screenshot of personal online training session with Apple

My iPhone 6 is provided by my employer, IBM, and is managed by Fiberlink MaaS360 Mobile Device Management software.  IBM imposes an 8 character alphanumeric password but allows me to use TouchID to unlock my iPhone.  Initially, I had issues with unlocking the watch with error messages and such but the issues soon resolved on their own.   To use the watch, I need to have it on my wrist and my phone unlocked.  I'm not able to set any of the passcode, security settings for the watch as they are all greyed out (presumably because I'm using an iPhone managed by MDM).  I hope that Apple publishes a security guide for the Apple Watch, similar to the excellent iOS 8 guide Apple published late last year.  Enterprises need to understand how Apple Watch security works and how integration with Mobile Device Management.

My impressions:

Hits:

  • Convenience.  If I get a text message or alert, I get a notification instantly and can respond on my watch - far easier than taking my phone out of my pocket.  I love the haptic alerts.
  • Battery life.  While there are lots of complaints about battery life, it hasn't been an issue for me. For me, that hasn't been an issue.  I put on the watch at 7am and usually go to bed by 10pm and I almost always have 50% battery life remaining.
  • Eliminates the need for a Fitbit.  I've been a Fitbit user for over a year (provided by my employer) and I'm a fan.  The Apple Watch provides an opportunity to remove the Fitbit and also add heart beat information a chance to finally use the Apple Health app.  However, I do want to do some testing to compare the accuracy of the two devices.  Also, my employer doesn't yet integrate with the Apple Watch for health tracking (on the Fitbit) so I hope they add support for the watch 
  • Apple Watch App on the iPhone.  Well-designed and easy to configure apps and settings on the Apple Watch.   By default, all e-mails, calendar, notifications and such are displayed on the watch (fire hose setting).  The app allows you to fine tune those settings and reduce the information displayed on the watch so its manageable 


Misses:

  • The watch is well made and has a beautiful screen but it looks more like a wrist computer and less like a piece of jewelry.  I like the space grey color but not the shape of  watch.  I've seen several scratched stainless steel models.  The aluminum appears less prone to scratches. 
  • Cost.  The watch is too expensive and so are the bands.  I'll definitely be purchasing a third-party leather band.  I like the leather loop with magnet closure but at $149, it's too pricey.  I purchased a spare charger and I'm waiting for my Spigen stand to arrive. 
  • Setup, install, configuration process was a bit buggy but settled down after a few days of use.  I also had problems with the Apple Watch app on the iPhone hanging and crashing.  However, the issues went away after a couple of days
  • Needs better apps.  Apps that try to be a mini version of a Phone app fail miserably.  Apps that take a single function and add it to the watch work best.  I'm a big fan of Microsoft Office Powerpoint mobile which allows me to control slides (forward, back) from the watch.
  • Watch functionality (telling time).  There are only a handful of watch faces with limited customization.  The Apple Watch app on the iPhone should be able to create new watch faces with a highly customized display including background photos
  • Steep learning curve.  It takes time to learn all the features and function. While there are only two buttons, they have multiple functions, the are multiple swipes, Force Touch  and more.  Not all options are available from all apps which adds another level of complexity.  I'm still learning!





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