A little after Christmas I started to see deals from Best Buy proclaiming $100 off the Apple Watch; in its earliest moments I’d written the watch off as too expensive for what I figured it would do for me.
Plus, I’d gotten to where I wasn’t wearing watches anymore, particularly since I spend so much time typing on a MacBook Air… with most watches end up taking off my watch for most of the day to keep from scratching the wrist rest.
But, given the discount, my obsessive-compulsive shopping sickness kicked in and a started watching the Best Buy site. Did I want all-black (er, “Space Gray”) or the white band with the silver face? I was determined to stick with the cheapest options—$249 for the basic watch with the aluminum case. (Stainless steel was attractive, but I shunned it.) I decided I’d go with the 38mm face because, I told myself, it’s not like the point is to show it off. I just want to see how it works for me.
When I finally pulled the trigger, I went for a refurbished space gray that dropped the price even further to around $225. I ordered it online and drove about 10 miles to Best Buy to collect it.
A comedy of errors ensued.
After getting home with the watch, I opened the box to find that it didn’t have a charger. With 20 minutes to spare, I called Best Buy, got the woman who had handed me the refurb, and she said she’d find a charger by the time I got back. A quick interstate round-trip and I was in the house about 30 minutes later.
With the Watch charged I paired to my iPhone and started to set up the Watch until it came time to enter an Apple ID… at which point I found out the Watch was still paired to its first owner. And, apparently, for security reasons, there’s no override other than finding that individual and getting them to relinquish control via iCloud. Since I did’t know who that person was, I put the watch aside knowing I’d need to return it the next day.
All finally turned out well; I had to spend upwards of an hour at the store that next night, but the staff finally decided I rated a new Apple Watch at the refurbished price for my trouble. (As long as my time is only worth $10/hour then I was OK.) I took my brand new Apple Watch home, charged it, and got it paired and set up with my phone and my Apple ID. Score.
So… what do I think?
After a few months of usage, I will say that it would be difficult for me to give up my Apple Watch. But there’s really only one reason that’s true, and it’s possible that a substitute could be had.
First… a few things I like about the Apple Watch that I could live without:
Tracking workouts. Yes, I do it, and yes it’s fun to see that I’ve hit my goals for the day in calories, minutes worked out and standing. (Yes, one of my fitness goals is standing. That’s where we’re at.) It’s not exactly a killer app for me—in part because I’m a guy who believes in lifting weights over cardio (although I do both) and the Apple Watch definitely know how to reward time spent on the elliptical more than it does time spent with dumbbells.
Alerts on my watch. Again, these are sometimes convenient, but I thought that getting text and GroupMe alerts on my watch was going to be a life-changer before I got there—now, I’d say it’s a bit of a meh. When my phone isn’t handy I definitely check alerts, but I’m not sure I’d miss too much without out.
Directions. OK… Every so often this has saved me, because I’m directionally challenged and have been known to miss a highway exit or get back on the Interstate in the wrong direction. But an iPhone, for the most part, will help me with that unless Siri has been silenced for over-exuberance. (“In 10.5 feet…”)
Weather and Appointments. I love looking at my watch for the weather and like looking at it for appointments. Both would work OK with iPhone and laptop combos.
So what has changed my life? Fundamentally, one thing about the Apple Watch has done that — the vibrating alarm on my wrist. It actually wakes me up in the morning, and without nearly 90% of the fretting that an audible alarm used to create in the morning. I get up, I get out of bed… I’m still not a “morning person” but I’ll be darned if The Apple Watch hasn’t changed me quite a bit by making me into a “OK, I’m awake” person.
The verdict that many have brought in about the Apple Watch—that they could leave home without it, but not without their phone—has literally proven true for me.
The only time I can’t live without wearing my Apple Watch is, oddly enough, overnight; it’s been, by far, the best way for me to drag myself out of a bed… with a slightly better attitude than ever before.