I attempted to order my Apple Watch Sport (42mm Space Gray) immediately at 2 AM CT on April 10th, however when I tried to pay with Apple Pay, an error occurred. Then when I tried to use my stored credit card, it asked for the security code so it took a minute to grab that. I received the confirmation email at 2:04 AM.
I spent most of last week upset that others were receiving their shipping notices and I wasn’t. Around Noon on Thursday, my credit card was charged and Thursday night I received my shipping notice!
I’ve had a couple days to use the watch and these are my personal observations.
1) Packaging – As always, the Apple packaging is amazing. You can tell they spent some time (and money) developing a case that is heavy and makes the product feel important (and expensive).
2) Hardware – The watch itself is a lot lighter than I expected. It almost feels like I’m not wearing a watch. The fluoroelastomer band feels amazing against my skin. It’s very soft and does not feel like plastic at all.
3) Display – The screen is crystal clear and has incredible detail. When you first turn on the watch, after booting up (which takes forever), you are presented with a crazy active globe symbol to begin the pairing process. That globe is the first time you know this watch display is spectacular. The digital crown and the side button both work perfectly.
4) Initial Setup – It takes a LONG time (2 minutes or so) for the watch to boot up when powering on. Initially I had an issue with the Apple Watch app on my iPhone not pairing with the watch but after about a minute, it finally found it and started syncing. The initial syncing process also takes a long time (5 minutes or so).
5) Bluetooth Connectivity Issue – When I first turned on the watch and began using it, it worked perfectly. However, around midday yesterday, I tried using Siri for the first time. I asked Siri to give me directions to Willis Tower in Chicago. Siri dictated the first few words, then stopped. Although the “not connected” symbol did not appear, the connection from the watch to the iPhone was broken. Nothing else that required Internet access worked anymore. I rebooted both the watch and the iPhone and we were back in business for a while until it happened again, this time in the Maps app. I cycled Bluetooth on the iPhone and it came back. I called Apple and they had me do a reset of the watch. During this first reset, I choose to restore the watch from a backup. This did not go well. Most of the settings were not remembered and the third party apps I had installed were not loading. So I did another reset and this time started over (as a new device). I’ve had a few more instances of having to cycle bluetooth, but none so far today, so I’ll have to keep an eye on this.
Stuff I’ve Tried:
1) Changing and customizing watch faces – I love this. This is half the reason I wanted the watch. The ability to have different watch faces everyday if I want and to make them exactly how I want them is awesome. Except, I think it’s strange that there isn’t an option to have both an analog and digital local time on the face at once. You have to choose one or the other. A workaround for this is to include your local time in the World Clock app, but that seems silly.
Today, it looks like this. Local temp, battery life remaining and my local digital time. That red dot means I have unread notifications.
2) Notifications – These work perfectly. The haptic engine is just the right amount of tap on my wrist. It feels like someone lightly tapping your skin. You swipe down from the top to view unread notifications. Then you can swipe left to delete them. The Apple Watch app on the iPhone allows me to customize which apps are allowed to send notifications to the watch.
3) Glances – You swipe up from the bottom to get to Glances, then you swipe left and right to look at them. The Apple Watch app allows me to customize which glances I want to see and in what order. Glances are actually a lot more usable than I expected them to be. It’s a nice, quick glance at really useful information.
4) App Icons – I’m still getting used to this. There is just something that bothers me about the app icons being circles and being organized in a beehive pattern. However, it’s very easy and fluid to move around the app screen and choose an app to open.
5) Force-Closing Apps: I had to look this one up as I could not find any Apple documentation on how to do it. As I mentioned earlier, the Maps app got stuck. The only way to resolve this was to force-quit the app by going to the app, clicking the side button, then holding down the side button. Upon restart of the app, it worked fine.
6) Maps / Directions – I’ve tried multiple times to get directions to work in Maps and so far, no luck. I get a “Directions Not Available” error every time. Need to research this one. Hopefully it’s not just me. I think this is related to my bluetooth issue. Almost every time I try to use Maps, I end up having to cycle bluetooth on my iPhone to get the watch to do anything.
7) Weather / Stocks – The watch has to communicate with the iPhone to pull in the most recent data on these apps and it seems to take a while. It’s frustrating to watch the spinner for 5-10 seconds as it goes to get the data.
8) Activity App – LOVE it. Can’t wait to go running with this thing. Love how it keeps track of my steps, exercise and how much I stand.
9) Third Party Apps – I’m slowly adding third party apps to my watch. So far I’ve tried Nike Running, CNN, Amazon, Citymapper, Chipotle, Yelp, Weather Underground, United, Uber, Tune In Radio, Shazaam, ESPN and of course Discover. It’s interesting to see how each app is trying to figure out what makes sense on the watch vs. the phone. A lot of the apps require you to do some setup in the iPhone app before it can be used on the watch which is kind of annoying. So far, Uber has to be the coolest one. Very seamless experience to order a car to your current location.
10) Apple Pay – I was annoyed that you have to re-add your credit cards to your watch, even cards that are already loaded in the iPhone. I’ve yet to try using the watch to make a purchase, but I will do this soon.
11) Digital Touch – This is the option were you can draw, tap or send your heartbeat to a friend. I tried it, and I’m over it. This has to be for the kids, because I will never use it.
12) Phone Calls – Yes, the watch can make AND receive calls. You can hear the other person via the watch and talk back to them via the microphone in the watch and it’s actually really cool. Works perfectly.
In summary, even with the issues I’ve been experiencing with the watch, I have to say that I love it. I’ve been so tempted over the past couple years to buy other smartwatches on the market (Android, Pebble) but I held out for the Apple Watch and I’m glad I did. As many other reviews have stated, this isn’t a gadget that you MUST own, but it sure is fun to own one.