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Apple Watch Additional Observations

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Saturday, I posted about my first 24 hours with the Apple Watch. Since then, I have a few more things to note about how it works.

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Battery Life continues to not even be close to an issue. I ended Saturday with 47% battery left, and Sunday with 70% left. I can’t believe I will use it any more than I have these past two days, It almost makes me wish I could tweak it to leave the display on longer.

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I have my watch set with a passcode the watch detects the presence of my wrist and when I take it off, it locks. The picture on the left above shows it locked. Notice the padlock. Also notice how it doesn’t show my fitness information. It only shows “public” information when it is locked, so it can still work as a basic (slightly more than basic, actually) watch. To unlock it, I can enter a pin on my watch (Center above, tiny little buttons that are surprisingly usable), or I can unlock my phone with passcode or touchID and it will unlock the watch (if it is on my wrist). This wrist detection is what makes it safe to use with Apple Pay. Speaking of Apple Pay:

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Apple Pay requires you to set up all of your credit cards again. I was able to associate the one I use for iTunes by just entering the 3-digit code on the back, but other cards will have to go through you entering the information and the bank approving them again. If you think about it, this makes sense. If I recall the way Apple Pay works, the card numbers are not actually stored in the phone, so the phone is not able to share the information with the watch. You have to set it up again. Make sure you do that before going to Walgreens or Panera! Oh, and I paid for breakfast at Panera with my watch this morning. It worked just as you would expect it to. It actually seemed faster than using my phone.

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My final observations are around notifications. It took me a day or two to realize that when the notification goes to your watch, your phone does not alert you. The notification will show on the phone’s lock screen, but the phone will not beep or vibrate (The screen does not even turn on). I’m torn about this. I had some custom vibrations for some of my notifications that made the alerts very prominent so I would be less likely to miss them. With the relatively weak taps from the watch, I’m still missing notifications, and there is no chance for a secondary notification on the phone to make me aware. I get why they do it, most people would want to be notified once, not multiple times. But, when I’m sitting at my Mac, and a notification comes in, it hits both my phone (well, my watch now) and my Mac, so this does work a little different. This is a place where I would like to see Apple add an option.

Also, if your phone is on, your watch will not get a notification that comes to your phone at all. I noticed this when I was driving with Waze running in my car. When I got where I was going, there was a text message and an e-mail that I had missed. The phone displayed the notification, vibrated and played the sound, but I did not see or hear it while driving. Having the option to have those notifications still go to my wrist would be another nice customization opportunity.

Finally, I have some notifications that I get a lot of. I would like to have these tap my wrist, but not play a sound without affecting other notifications. I cannot figure out how to do this. I can only tell my watch to Mirror iPhone Alerts for these apps. But, on the iPhone, if I turn off sounds for an individual app, it also turns off vibration. The alert still shows on my phone’s lock screen (if I check it) and the red dot appears on my watch to tell me there is an alert, but I get no notification that the event happened.

I’m still having a blast with the watch. It is so much better than my Pebble ever was. It’s so much more responsive and easy to use. I highly recommend that you check one out to see if it is a good fit for you. Still, for me, the most useful feature of the watch is around notifications. I think apple has some room for improvement here. A software update or two could take care of it, if Apple wants to give us more control over when and how we get notified.

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