5 Weeks with IVY: Apple Watch 4 - The Watch You Didn’t Know You Needed, Until You Do

Ok, I know this blog series is called “5 Days with IVY” but I’ll be honest, I’ve spent (and needed) way more than just 5 days with the Apple Watch to truly get a sense and appreciation, for everything this watch is and is not good for. 

Hell, it took me 3 days to just figure out how to swap out the band and yes, it did take watching a Youtube video to finally figure that one out, so I feel the extra time is justified.

I’ve been considering buying an Apple Watch since it’s first release back in 2015.  Every time I noticed someone wearing one, I’d ask them a series of questions: “Do you like it?” “Do you use it?” “Would you buy it again?” “Is it worth it?” And on and on….

The answers to those questions were overwhelmingly and consistently positive, but despite those responses, I couldn’t yet justify my need for one. I just didn’t get it.

For Christmas 2017, I bought my business partner Steve the Series 3 since he’d been talking about wanting one but, like me, couldn’t justify the expense.  So I’m thinking that this was in some way my hope to get closer to the watch and to get a real sense of whether I needed one in my life or not.

Shortly after Steve starting wearing and using his Apple Watch on a daily basis and hearing his firsthand reviews of how much of a “game changer” it is, I knew I needed one.  I started looking into getting one for myself, however in early 2018 it was clear that Apple would be releasing a new watch and would be released later in the year. 

I thought to myself, I’ve gone nearly 39 years without owning one, what’s a few more months?

The wait continued. 

So, like a kid waiting for Christmas morning through a 9 month long Christmas Eve, the Series 4 was finally announced at the September 12th Apple event and released on September 21st. 

I’ve never waited in line for any product release, but for this, I was 4th in line at the Uptown Apple Store in Minneapolis and picked up my very own Space Grey 44mm Apple Watch.

My journey begins here.

Week 1: Getting to know the Apple Watch

Although I consider myself pretty well versed in all (most) things tech, I wasn’t too proud to sit with the “Apple Genius” for a few minutes to get the overview of my new prized possession.  With all the energy and excitement the blue shirted, smooth faced millennial could muster up, he took me through pairing it with my iPhone (incredibly simple), how to select watch faces, and the overall ten cent tour of my $430 wearable device.

Syncing apps; not all are needed and most don’t make sense

The first thing I did when I got home was tp sync all of my watch compatible apps from my iPhone to my watch and although some of these seemed pretty pointless, I’m looking at you MailChimp, I didn’t yet know if or how I’d use my apps on the watch so I went ahead and added them all.

Watch Faces and Complications

The second thing was to customize the watch face.  Here Apple does a fairly good job at providing a bunch of different options from minimal to full on ADD faces and everything in between.  I went with the full blown ADD face with all of the complications you can squeeze into a 44mm space.

I went through many revisions of which complications I added to this face before I finally settled on this layout.

Week 2: How I Use the Apple Watch

It didn’t take long before I settled in and started to figure out my routine when it came to using the Apple Watch.

Health

When smart watches were first launched I don’t think anyone really knew how they would fit into our every day routine, but for me, the health aspect is where it really found a home. 

I use a few different apps on a daily basis that keep me health conscious:

  1. The integrated Apple Health Monitor.  Apple allows you to set daily goals to Move, Exercise and Stand.  It also can track your heart rate and will soon (with a software upgrade) have the ability to take an electrocardiogram. Though for me, I mostly use the Skate tracking feature to measure my output during skate sessions.
  2. MyFittness Pal. I’ve been using this app to track my food consumption on a daily basis.  It is also integrated with the Health Monitor to also take in consideration calories burned.
  3. Nike+ Run Club.  Every year I tell myself I’m going to start running.  This app has finally given me the motivation to follow through.  It allows you to set goals, challenges and compete against friends and other people that are part of the “club”

Notifications

As smartphones have become an integral part of our every day lives, so has the repetitive movement of; reach for phone, look at phone, put phone away. This has become so habitual, that most of us don’t even know we do it. 

Enter the AppleWatch. 

All of your iPhone notifications are now pushed directly to your watch, which has greatly reduced the “Repetitive Stress Syndrome” of constantly checking your phone for updates and overall phone screen time since every time we pick up our phone we also check Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. 

Now whenever I get a new notification with a brief glance at my wrist I can make the decision if it’s worth acknowledging with no added dive into the social media abyss. 

Week 3: Apple Watch and the British Virgin Islands

IVY recently took a sailing trip to the BVI with some of the best people in the whole world. As I was packing, I internally debated on whether or not I wanted to bring my watch a long.  I knew there wouldn’t be cell service and I hadn’t really used the watch as a standalone device, so I didn’t think there would be much of a point to bringing it along.  At the last minute, I decided to pack it anyway and am I glad I did.

The Roaming DJ

My obsession with Spotify and more importantly Spotify Playlists runs deep to my core. So after figuring out how to pair my phone (and playlists) to our 48 foot catamaran’s sound system, I quickly became the setter of vibes and  music connoisseur for the rest of the trip.  It just so happened that on day two of our sailing adventure, the Spotify Apple Watch app was FINALLY released.  This was always a sore spot for Spotify/Apple Watch users since, let’s be honest, who uses Apple Music to manage their playlists?  And up until this point, there was no way to select playlists and utilize Spotify from your watch.  So now that I could control the music from anywhere around the boat made for some memorable musical moments with the crew.

Swimming with your AppleWatch

The first time I dove into the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, I completely forgot I was wearing my watch and as I looked at my wrist as I was climbing back onto the boat and a minor panic attack ensued I remembered that unless I’m hitting depths of 50 meters, I’m good to go.

Another nice feature I found out while snorkeling is that through the black magic that is technology, the watch also identified when I was swimming and asked if I wanted to track my distances and record my workout.  Sure, Apple Watch, track me.

Week 4: What I’d Change About the Apple Watch

By this point I’ve had a lot of time (pun intended) with my watch and there have been some things that bug me, some things that are minor annoyances and some things that I’d completely remove from the Apple Watch.

So here we go.

Bug Me: 3rd Party Watch Faces

Although as stated earlier Apple does a relatively good job providing different faces and complications, I’m a huge proponent of offering up more competition in this space.  I feel that offering 3rd party watch faces would only drive Apple to be better.  For my love of music, I’d love to see a face that is predominately focused around playing and selecting music. 

Minor Annoyances: Screen Scratches

This is a tough one. I get it, screens get scratched.  This is an issue with phones, laptops, and anything else we stare at on a daily basis. But a watch is something that is constantly being exposed to the environment with the constant rubbing up against your sleeves, bumping into things, exposure to weather and after only a few days of wear, I found a few minor scratches in the face. So what’s the solution here?  I don’t think there is one. A completely scratch/scuff resistant screen doesn’t exist, so I guess at this point in the existence of wearables, it’s just something we’ll have to deal with.

Completely Remove: Siri

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with Siri.  Mostly hate. Which is why I’ve added Google Assistant to my iPhone and have reduced my Siri use to asking her inappropriate questions.  The bad news is that that relationship has not gotten any better with the AppleWatch. Apparently Siri is supposed to activate when you lift your wrist to your face, but I find this first of all, inconsistent and second of all, annoying.  I haven’t cared enough yet to look to see if this can be disabled, but I really hope it is, because I don’t know anyone that uses Siri enough to us it in this fashion. 

My message to Apple and Siri; get better or get gone.

Week 5: The Apple Watch is Part of My Life

To this point I can honestly say that the Apple Watch has completely changed how I interact with technology.  It has made me more present in situations in which I’d normally be checking my phone.  It has made me more health conscious and most importantly, I can DJ one hell of a party from anywhere.

In all honesty, not since my first smartphone have I interacted with a piece of technology that has changed my life in so many ways.  And no one else’s account of how they use their Apple Watch could have prepared me for how I use my Apple Watch and that’s been the beauty of discovering this device.  I use it the way I want to use it.

The Apple Watch is truly a device that I didn’t know I needed, until I did. 

Rating

  1. Style: 4 out of 5
  2. Functionality: 4.5 out of 5
  3. Durability: 3.5 out of 5
  4. Cost: 4 out of 5
  5. Overall:  4.5 out of 5

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