A new kind of watch

I’ve had an Apple Watch for a little over a month now, and I wanted to write down some of my initial impressions for anyone who hasn’t already picked one up.

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Living in New Zealand meant we had to wait a few months from the initial launch in the US and Europe, which meant it was easy to follow people online and get a gauge of initial impressions. Over-all everyone has been pretty positive about it — but here’s my thoughts.

To start with, I’ve never been a watch person. From memory I’ve owned a Casio, and a classic Timex — but I never really wore them. In todays connected world one never really goes anywhere without their phone, so I use that as my watch normally. It just hasn’t made sense to have another thing that does something my phone already does. Regardless, the Apple Watch did get me excited, and I was very curious about the device before getting a hold of it.

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Detail of X-Large Watch Face

Firstly, my initial impressions were very good. I picked up the 42mm Space Grey Sport Edition, it’s one of the better looking models in my opinion. It’s designed well, with a sleek black on black aluminium case and a fluoroelastomer wrist band. I love the flexibility of this design, it looks tidy when you’re dressed up to go out, or down for a run.

On to functionality, the Watch has a lot to offer. If you’re a heavy iPhone user, the first thing you’ll notice is that you can screen notifications through the watch meaning you look at your phone less frequently. I love that. You have full control over what notifications come through at any given time, so if you only want messages and phone calls — you can do that.

At this stage, the app front is reasonably limited. But you’ve got a handful of typical apps to use; ie. Activity, Twitter, Mail, Instagram, Uber, Evernote, Slack, Air BnB, etc. More apps are in development, not to mention the new features rolling out soon with Watch OS2.

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Side profile with Digital Crown and Lock Button

The main thing that the Apple Watch does well, is just being a watch. The front facing watch designs are great. There’s a bunch to choose from Modular, Utility, to Minimal. All of which are quite customisable with options of complexity, colour and complications — complications are additional bites of info like health, calendar events, world clocks, weather etc. I really like the Modular look (pictured), its clean and readable, but with a bunch of customisable complications that I can change in and out depending on what I’m doing for the day.

I now mostly interact with my watch at a glance, a simple tap (Apple calls this Haptic feedback) on the wrist alerts you that there’s something to look at. Simply raising your wrist displays the alert, allowing you to see what it is. After you’ve read or interacted in some way— you simply lower your wrist again, putting the device back to sleep. For me that was one of those wow moments. It was probably the most natural user experience I’ve had with a device in a long time. It just felt right.

The only two things that have been disappointing are; the lack of GPS built into the Watch, so I can’t track my runs as well as I’d like. It will however do so, if you have your iPhone with you — but you shouldn’t have to carry that when you’re running in an ideal world. And the other being; no ‘native’ apps. Everything is fed and runs straight off your iPhone — so the Watch is heavily dependant on your iPhone being in Bluetooth range to use most of the features. It can function on its own, but with limited functionality.

It’ll be interesting to see what Apple do with future software updates on the watch. I’m now wearing it religiously, every day. If you’re curious, try one on before ordering—it’s probably not for everyone. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, if you pick one up. The future of wearble tech is going to be a fun ride, whether its for functionality or fashion.

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Design, Branding & Art Direction.

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