Today I took delivery of a brand new Apple Watch and have been experimenting with various apps and functions. If you follow me on Twitter @AllthingsIC you’ll have had a glimpse of what I’ve been up to. Following various requests to do so, I thought I’d write a short post with my initial impressions.

Packaging
From the knock at the door this morning to the 30 seconds it took me to rip open the box, I was seduced by the packaging. What is it about a plain white box that has such appeal?!

As you would expect with Apple, everything was cocooned inside each other, fitting perfectly, and the box was cradling the watch in an almost womb-like way.

The plug is a design marvel, it flips down to reveal the UK-standard three-pin plug, and the charging cable looks like a stethoscope – the watch sits on top of it to charge. It apparently has 18 hours of battery life, and it came with about 80 per cent charge.

My husband Jon @JonmillerUK bought me the watch as a gift, and after seeing it in person at the Apple store in Westfield, West London, yesterday, I was looking forward to taking delivery of mine today. I love technology and trying out new things, and today has been no exception.

I’ve never used a smart watch before, I was shown a Pebble a few years back by Stewart Rogers @therealSJR at the Kred Influencer Summit in London, but the whole experience is a new one for me, and I like what I’ve seen so far.

Set up
I set up my watch while holding one of my four-month-old snoozing twins in my lap at the same time. You don’t need to read a manual or try and figure it out, as with every Apple device, it guides you through seamlessly and before you know it, it’s ready and waiting for you to customise and use.

You have to take a photo of the watch using your phone’s camera, and after a fuzzy screen graphic reminiscent of something from Minority Report doing its magic while you wait for about ten seconds, you’re in and away.

The main controls are on the right hand side of the watch and include the “digital crown” (little wheel). It takes a while to get used to and acts like a scroll – you can move up and down screens with it, plus zoom in and out. There’s also a button which brings up your 12 most used contacts. I like this, it looks smart and works well (I’ve pictured mine below).

Apple Watch

How it feels
Applewatch_rachelmiller4
I’ve got slender wrists (not something I thought I’d blog about!), and was worried it would feel really heavy and big. But that’s not the case at all. I have the 38mm stainless steel case with Milanese loop and it’s far lighter than I thought it would be.

I keep find myself taking it off to hold across my fingers while I’m experimenting with it, but when on my wrist it sits against it a lot better than I imagined and almost hugs it. (Have to remove it when bottle feeding babies though – an Apple Watch print across the back of the head would not be a good look!)

To give you a sense of scale, my two-year-old daughter is pictured wearing it. She straight away put her finger on the digital crown and started jabbing at the screen, and was delighted when it responded.

Customising
One of the first things I did was change the watch face to be the Mickey Mouse one – it’s a retro nod to the watch I wanted as a child, and it amuses me to watch him dancing and tapping his feet while his hands show me the time. I have checked the time more today than ever before!

As soon as I move my wrist, he appears. It was also a popular move with my daughter on her return from nursery, who has been amused to see Mickey dancing.

As much as it was great to see her enthusiasm, I was glad of the ability to set a four-digit passcode – every parent’s friend – (until toddlers watch you and remember it).

Applewatch_rachelmiller1

Syncing
Syncing the watch to your iPhone is essential and again it’s a quick and easy process which is completed in less than a minute. A few clicks and you’re away.

I added my iTunes library by opening it on my laptop and choosing the remote button, as directed by the watch screen.

I watched as the apps I have on my iPhone started to appear on my Apple Watch, and was intrigued to see which would pop up. Only ones with the watch kit made it on to the screen.

Apps
Today I have been trying out the following apps – Trainline, Asos, Twitter, Flipboard, Guardian, British Airways, Trip Advisor, Bus Checker, Maps, Uber, Ocado, Slack and Amazon.

What unites them all is the pared down simplicity in order to maximise how you interact with them and view on the watch. This is because you have such a small screen so it has to be simplified. It doesn’t feel as small as I thought it would be – I was trying to imagine how content would look. Flipboard and the Guardian newspaper app have been useful indicators to see what works best.

In a nutshell? Exactly that – short and concise information with calls to action directing you to your iPhone to read more – seem to be the way forward.

Apple Watch excels at communication for short attention spans (Tweet this).

This is for quick checks and to get organised. This isn’t the medium to read long prose, it’s short, snappy glances to help you in the moment, and the gateway to encourage you to look elsewhere for more information.

Handoff
There is a function called Handoff, this appears when you come across something you need to read a lot of, the Handoff function enables you to pick up where you left off in another iOS device. So if I open an article or map on the watch and want to read more, I can go to my phone and there’s already a window waiting for me with where I have been. So a handover if you like, rather than handoff, so you can carry on reading.

Applewatch_rachelmiller2

Clarity of information is key. I think Asos has done this well – I was able to navigate through the fashion site with relative ease.

The Trainline’s displays are incredibly clear and I guess the proof will be in the pudding as they say when I use it for real, but at first glance I really like the way it has been designed.

I like the PowerPoint app. As someone who presents a lot as part of my work and undertakes speaking engagements at various comms conferences, I can see the value in having this. I mean you can do without it, obviously, but it’s a nice to have and I can imagine using it.

I’ve been messaging my husband all day – from making calls from my wrist (I felt like Marty McFly in Back to the Future), to pinging him audio texts and animated messages, he’s borne the brunt of my experiments – thanks Jon!

Browser
The biggest area which is missing for me is the ability to browse. I downloaded the Cuffllink app but so far have not been able to get it to work, mainly because I’ve been multitasking and cramming my experiments into snippets of time in between looking after my sons. Once they are snoozing later tonight I’m sure I will be able to take another look and make it work.

I’ve also added to our brood by downloading the Sidekick app and now have my very own dragon I’ve called Pip. After Apple… Ahem.

Well done Apple, I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops and continues to improves, but for now, I’m sold.

Have you tried out the Apple Watch? What do you think? What should I download?  You’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

Rachel

First published on All Things IC blog 24 April 2015.

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