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24 Hours of Apple Watch

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After the first 24 hours of owning an Apple Watch, I thought I would put down some of my initial impressions.


Double-tapping the crown will take you back to your most recently used app. So, if you tap the weather complication to see the weather and then tap the crown to go back to the watch, you can double-tap the crown to go back to weather. I have not seen this mentioned in any of the “Apple Watch Things You Need to Know” blogs yet.

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Battery Life is going to be fine. Apple tweaked everything about how the watch works to preserve battery life. When I got the watch, it was at 80%. When I took it off to go to bed, it was at 45%. So, it lost 35% from 2:30 to about 10:30. This was with fairly heavy use, you know, since it was brand new. At that rate, 24 hours would use 105% of battery, so you’ll have to charge it every day, you won’t be able to sleep with it on, the screen will be off almost all of the time, but it will get you through a “normal” day just fine. I’ve been up for 5 hours today and it is at 86%, so I seem to be trending even better today. At this rate, 24 hours would use about 67% of my battery.

It is personal. It’s actually hard to show someone else something on it while wearing it. The display doesn’t stay on that long, and when you turn your arm around to try to show it to someone, it typically turns off. The screen looks really nice, but based on this, I think I would have rather had an e-ink display that could be on all the time (of course, then you have backlight issues when it is dark, so…)

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The haptic taps need to be stronger. I have it set to the strongest setting and I turned on an option that is supposed to send some extra taps for certain events, but is’t still not enough. I’ve already missed alerts.

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While typing that last bullet, the watch reminded me to get up and walk around. When I was watching a movie last night, it did that twice. Both times last night, I got up and walked in a circle and a minute later, it gave me a “good job” alert and I sat back down. This time, I got up, walked into the kitchen, grabbed a handful of Pringles and walked around the island eating them. I did that for 2 or 3 minutes and never got the you’re done alert. Not sure why. I just got back up and walked around some more, still nothing. Must have something to do with how far through the day I am and how far my stand bar is.

Siri works well in quiet rooms. I like that she doesn’t talk back, so it’s actually less obtrusive to use it. After trying different voice level though, I do not think it will be possible to quietly dictate things into your watch in a meeting without being too disruptive. You have to talk fairly loud to have it register.

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If you get more than one notification from an app at a time, you get an alert that tells you how many notifications that app sent. From this screen, I cannot tell how to get easily to the individual notifications. The best I’ve come up with is swipe down (or tap “Dismiss”) to dismiss that alert (taking you to the watch face), then swipe down again to get to the individual notifications. It seems a little cumbersome.

When talking to Siri, don’t wait for a response, string it together with only a slight pause between sections.. “Hey Siri, send a text to Joe, I’m on my way, period” Will pop up a screen showing a composed text to Joe that says “I’m on my way.” I chose the option to default to text all the time, so I did not have to answer whether I wanted to send the text or an audio clip, but you do still have to hit send. (I tried saying “Send” but that did not work. I was able to get it to work by saying “Hey Siri, Send”, but that seems like a lot of work.)

Siri on the watch is not a good idea while driving. You have to read what it says, and sometimes have to tap the display to get it to do things. So, that can be distracting. I do not recommend it.

I was laying on the couch yesterday and whenever I would get a text, I would raise my watch up to see it, and the display would not turn on. If you are not vertical, it cannot register the gesture.

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I did “Hey Siri, Navigate Home” today. It taps a different beat for left turns vs right turns, but again, the taps are so faint, that I cannot really tell the difference by feel, but I can tell the difference by sound. The left turn is a series of three 2-note tones where the second note is a lower pitch than the first, the right turn is the same, but goes up in pitch.

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As much as I want to love the Mickey Mouse watch face, (I had an actual Mickey Mouse watch at one point, and liked the way it looked) I just don’t think I’m going to be able to use it. I recall now how hard it was to tell the time at a glance when Mickey’s hands were the watch hands. The biggest appeal was the conversation starter it was when other people saw it. No one but me is going to see Mickey, it’s too hard to show it to people. Overall, the watch faces are kind of disappointing. They all looked really cool enlarged on the Apple web site, but when you are actually using it… I can’t really describe it, they just feel 2 dimensional. I’ll probably end up using the one that is all digital with lots of complications because it is the most practical. I’m currently using the Utility face.

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When my watch came, I was cutting the grass listening to iTunes radio (Classic Rock Station, of course…) with Bluetooth headphones. I stopped to set up my watch and then continued cutting the grass. I was able to use my watch to stop and start music on my phone. This morning, I paired my headphones with my watch and listened to music on the watch. Next time I cut the grass, I will not need to take my phone with me.

Sometimes, things just don’t work. I suspect this will be worse at work where I do not have the best cell service, but even at home with excellent Internet and strong WiFi for my phone, things sometimes just seemed to hang. Here are some screens from the weather app yesterday:

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After the first 24 hours, the watch is pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. Apple makes the decisions they make, and we learn to live with them. Usually, they aren’t too hard to adapt to. While I would prefer the display to be on all the time so other people can see how cool it is, the gesture to show the display works well … most of the time, so it works as well as I can expect it to FOR ME. The notifications are going to take a little getting used to, but that will get better with time, I am sure. Overall, the watch seems to work great and I’m confident that the issues I am seeing will only get better over time.

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