When it comes to first gen Apple products, I’m like Nicholas Cage in Bangkok Dangerous: I have a very specific set of rules from which I do not deviate under any circumstances. Unless of course Apple releases a new product, then I will buy it. I diet between meals. I am a pointless pile of space where willpower once resided.
I can’t really say that a smart watch is something I’ve wanted for a long time. I used a Pebble for a while and, though there were cool things about it, I felt like an utter twat with it on my wrist. Smart watches represent an intimate over-reliance on technology that I find quite gross. Not only that, but they solve a problem that only exists because someone once said “god, isn’t it a pain to keep checking your notifications on your phone all the time?”. Why, yes it is. So, let’s not do that any more. Or, y’know, let’s get a mini iPhone and strap it to our wrists instead. OK.
Apple releases a new product that I see straight through, don’t really want, don’t need even a little bit but fuck me if I’m not refreshing the damn store at 8am to be one of the first lemmings to preorder the stupid thing. It’s a good job I got up early; I’ve got to make up a list of plausible reasons for this ridiculous purchase.
Fast forward 4-6 weeks of refreshing my order status page and reading lukewarm reviews penned by people who wore the thing for a day and were disappointed that their friends didn’t suddenly think they were Don Fucking Draper. I wasn’t expecting a whole load. I wasn’t expecting much anyway – I mean my watches in the past have always just sorta sat on my wrist and kept time so that I didn’t have to. If the watch can do that, it’s met my requirements.
One thing I’ve learned from never not buying first gen Apple products is that you set your expectations low. If the thing turns on, you win.
So I’ve been wearing this thing for a week, and the most unsurprising thing is that no-one seems to care. I haven’t been approached like someone who appeared on Hollyoaks for a short arc by some weirdo who’s impressed that I bought a thing. It’s not absolutely crazy.
I don’t think I’m using Apple Watch like people either expect to or are. For instance; there are two scenarios when I will even engage with it: 1. when I want to know the time and I am not already looking at a screen that has that information on it, and 2. when I want to perform a small task on my phone by proxy without expending the enormous amounts of energy one expends when getting their phone out of their pocket. That’s it. I’m not browsing my Instagram or Twitter. I’m not raising or training a virtual dragon (and if you are, just fucking stop it now). I am not even making calls (because I thought it would feel badass but actually it feels immensely douchey).
This limited use case has a couple of side effects: 1. the battery easily lasts all day. Like using it in this way it would go the full 24, and 2. I don’t feel like I’ve wasted a load of money. I wanted it to do two things, and it does them.
And that’s my review, really. If you feel like you’re always flipping your iPhone out of your pocket to read notifications and then spinning your iPhone back into your pocket, this is pretty good at helping you dial back that modern-day gunslinger crap. If you’re interested in knowing the number of calories you burned in a day, and an approximate figure just won’t cut it, this might be for you (also, getting a hobby might be for you). If you’re just too fucking cool and you’re looking for a device to take the edge off that, this is definitely the device for you.
Let’s just settle this now. Smart watches are not now, and never will be cool. The same as smart glasses are not cool and Smart cars are not cool (they’re not), smart watches are just not cool. I wish I could tell you why this is, but I can’t. I don’t care if Beyoncé wears one, she’s the coolest person in the world. She’s got cool to spare. Whilst you are wearing a smart watch, you are objectively less cool than whilst you are not. There may be some residual uncool left on you after you take one off, or it may be bound to your DNA the first time you wear one. I don’t have sufficient data to comment, but there are definitely risks involved.
But I do like the thing. Not enough to take responsibility for recommending one. God no. But I like mine and I’m probably going to keep wearing it. The important thing is if I forget to charge it and I have to wear a dumb watch, I’m not going to have a panic attack. So that’s nice.
Just because I’ve wasted enough of your time rambling without a strong narrative and you’ve probably got stuff to do, here’s some stupid shit this watch does that will annoy you:
- People can send you little drawings they did with their finger. They play out in real time, as if the person were sensually doodling on your wrist. It is weird.
- People can send you a series of taps. Do we need to establish new etiquette surrounding taps? What’s that, Lassie? Timmy’s stuck in the well again?
- People can send you a series of vibrations that represents their heartbeat. When Apple announced this, I was like “kay, that’s a bit weird”, and when someone sent me their heartbeat, I was like “kay, this is a bit weird”. It has become my goal to send someone my heartbeat should I ever have a heart attack. I hope Apple is working on this feature.
- There are a load of apps that you will never use, but you cannot delete or hide them. This is an Apple product, after all.
- This device is going to piss you off if you try to use it when you have poor or no internet connectivity. Nothing runs locally on this thing – it’s always nagging at your phone when you want to know something. The latency of Bluetooth and a slow internet connection is going to annoy a load of people. I’m fortunate to live in an area with decent 3G and occasional 4G so it’s been OK but others will hate this about the watch.
I think that’s about it for now. Dictated but not read.