About the Apple Watch

Friday, April 24 was Apple Watch day. The Apple Watch became available for pre-order on April 10 and was shipped to the select few individuals who ordered their new timepieces shortly after 12:00 AM on that day.

As you probably already know, the device is available in two face sizes, 38mm and 42mm, and can be combined with a whole assortment of bands. In addition, there are three tiers of the watch: Apple Watch Sport (aluminum), Apple Watch (stainless steel), Apple Watch Edition (gold). The prices start at $349, $549, and $10,000, respectively.

What does it do?

That's a great question; I'm glad you asked. At present, the watch does three primary things:

  • Tells time
  • Collects and displays some fitness information, including heartbeat, steps, and more
  • Delivers app notifications for compatible apps

It can do more than those things, of course, but most of the watch's smarts rely on the owner's nearby iPhone. For example, the watch can place and receive phone calls, but the paired phone must be close by to power those calls. It can also control the iPhone's music playback, shows maps and directions, photos, and interact with other apps installed on the phone. Oh yeah, it can also handle Apple Pay at compatible payment terminals.

How do you like it?

I like it a lot. I've been using one for just a few days now and I can say it's been handy. (Pun intended? I'll never tell.) There is a nice bit of convenience in raising one's wrist to see a text message and then lowering it again to continue whatever it is was one was doing before being interrupted.

Do I need one?

Need is a strong word. If you have one, you'll probably find something to do with it. For many that might be the fitness tracking. For me, the wrist-tapping notifications made the expense worth it. I suspect that within a few weeks app developers will devise clever new ways to use the watch, which will slide it more in the direction of being something that everyone needs.

What are your general impressions?

  • The watch is smaller than I thought it would be; I have the 42mm model.
  • The first boot up took longer than I expected, somewhere on the order of a full minute to start.
  • Device configuration was really easy. It took about 10 minutes to complete and enable all the watch-ready apps I had installed on my iPhone.
  • iPhone required: You have to have an iPhone to use it. Without an iPhone, you won't be able to set up the watch at all.
  • The Apple Watch app on the iPhone is pretty good, but there are a few inconsistencies in the design of the app that can lead to a bit of confusion about where certain settings live. No doubt the folks at Apple will address those in a future software update.
  • It's probably a safe bet that the next generation of this watch will be faster and more powerful.
  • Battery life is good. Depending on usage, it should get you through a regular day. My watch has been unplugged for about 6 hours and has 65% battery remaining. If that pace holds steady, then I'll get around a total 17 hours of use before the battery dies completely.

What if I'm syncing with an EMM?

If your iPhone is registered with an Enterprise Mobility Management system, then your Apple Watch may not want you to set a passcode. When you turn the watch off and then on again it might inform you that your iPhone has a policy that requires certain passcode or unlock settings for your watch. This is something to keep in mind.

How can I learn more?

The folks at Apple have make a collection of short video tutorials they call their "Guided Tour Videos," which do a great job of showing the all the basics. Check them out when you have a few moments.

Apple has also created an Apple Watch User Guide, which is available on their Manuals page. Apple does a great job of documenting their devices. This guide is 96 pages long.

I have more questions

If you have more questions, you can comment on this post or contact me. I love talking about this stuff and your questions will help me learn more, too.