It’s here. And I’ve been playing with my Apple Watch for about an hour.
I have the white Sport model. It wasn’t my first choice. I or ered it because this was the version that had the best chance of being delivered today and not some much later date.
That syncing feeling
Nothing was special about the unboxing, but I was a little surprised at how long it took to get the device up and running. The Watch took two minutes to power on, and it needed somewhere between four minutes and five minutes to sync with my phone. The iPhone displays your progress as this happens.
After it finally synced, the first thing the set-up guide asked me was how I wanted to wear my Watch.
What be the apps?
The next thing I did was fuss over my apps. The set-up app asks if you would like to put all the apps on your phone with Watch extensions on your wearable. I chose to bring all my apps over to the Watch. You’re also given the opportunity to arrange your app icons on the Watch in the way you want them.
Please don’t drive me crazy
My chief concern coming in was that the Watch would send too many notifications too my wrist, distracting me. Turns out this is probably manageable — but it involves some work in both the phone’s and wearable’s settings.
In settings, it asks whether you want the Watch to “mirror” when and how the phone displays notifications. It breaks this down app by app, so you can direct one to put notifications on your wrist and another to display notifications on the phone only, if you like.
The time from when I first hit the On button to when the watch was completely set up was about an hour. And that’s after spending only a little bit of time adjusting the frequency of my notifications and glances. (These are just small, quickly digestible bits of information taken from apps and displayed on the wrist.)
The first notifications
The first thing I saw the Watch do was display a meeting reminder from my Google calendar. This was accompanied by a gentle buzz at my wrist. Important note here: The haptic feedback feels more like the Watch receives the buzz, not your wrist.
From that event view, I could scroll through my calendar items for the whole day. I could click on one to drill down for more details. It seemed like the Watch displayed just as much information as my phone does. Sure, I can’t use the Watch to create calendar events, but the phone is better for that, anyway.
Navigating the Watch isn’t quite as intuitive as navigating other Apple products. You can’t just strap it on and start using it. There are a few rules of the road you need to get used to. The button by the crown pulls up a quick group of your social contacts. You can click on these to initiate calls (on your iPhone) or two dictate text messages.
You press on the crown thing to toggle between the apps screen and your main watch face. You can choose from a number of faces (by pressing and holding on the screen), but mine shipped with a screen that includes the time, date, temperature, and a small health gauge (more on that later).
If you swipe up on that screen you’ll see one of nine types of “Glance” information that you scroll through by swiping left or right. When you receive your new Watch these include a quick settings screen (includes airplane mode, connection status, “find my phone,” etc.), music player, heart rate monitor, battery life gauge, exercise stats, today’s calendar page, weather, stocks and maps.
But you can use the Glances screen at set-up (or anytime) to control which Glances you see, and how they are ordered.
Bonding with the band
After putting the Watch on my wrist and wearing it around for awhile, I noticed that I wasn’t thinking much about the feel of the band. Nothing seemed to get caught in my abundant wrist hair — something that’s happened with other wearables. And this is one of the little design innovations you begin to notice after using Apple products for awhile: The underside of the watch band is slightly hollowed out so that much of it doesn’t actually make contact with the skin. This cuts way down on the clammy, sweaty feel of plastic against flesh.
Based on what I know now, I think I could probably wear the Watch around for a whole day. And because of the Watch’s short battery life, that’s all the time I’ll need to wear it.
So those are my just my first impressions. I reserve the right to completely reverse any of the opinions stated above at a later time.
There’s a lot more to see in this little device that has so much technology stuffed inside. Lots of apps to try.
Ultimately, the measure of the Watch will be how well it fits into the fabric of my everyday life and whether of not it smooths friction points more than it causes trouble.