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Apple Watch: Week One Wonderful? First Impressions of a Fabled Tech Accessory

So, it’s the summer of 2015, and my Apple Watch arrived 10 days ago. Has it lived up to expectations? No – mostly because expectations were set so high. Has my life been transformed? Maybe.  Am I glad I bought one? Absolutely!

So, here are my initial observations of using the watch.

Day 1 – First impressions

Arrival and packaging. Apple Watch came in a sleek and elegant package that was easy to open.

Assembly. The watch itself was easy to assemble including connecting it to the wrist band.

Installation. I was able to connect the Apple Watch to the Apple Watch app on my iPhone. Once connected, I was able to configure the settings of the watch from the app.

Charger. The charger is really different from other Apple chargers. It magnetically attaches to the watch and charges it.

Day 2 – Wearing the watch.

Watch strap. The watch strap is one of the best innovations from Apple. In all the watches I have had to date the strap buckle is always a bulge. The Apple Watch buckle fits into a small hole that makes the watch extension go underneath the watch. This makes the watch feel like a wrist band. The strap is really comfortable and light. After wearing it for the day, you do not even feel its weight.

Watch face. The default watch face has multiple different features. It provides you with the date, time, important calendar event at that time, location temperature, health activity status, timezone, and time for your home location. You have an opportunity to change the setting to suit your needs. The watch face does go dark when you are not seeing it. If you need to look at the time, all you have to do is to either tap the watch or turn it towards you. The goal of the watch is to conserve battery power. The watch face is definitely a step up from my normal watch.

Day 3 – Fitbit vs. Apple Watch

First thing in the morning I wore both my Apple Watch and Fitbit before I started to exercise. I have been wearing the Fitbit flex for the last six months. I wear the Fitbit on my dominant right hand and wore the Apple Watch on my left hand. I typically do 25 minutes of cross fitness exercises. Fitbit and the Apple Watch have different ways of measuring steps.

Step count. The step count was slightly different between the watch and fitbit but not significantly.

Other Sensors. As this was a cross fitness exercise I was looking to other sensors like Heart Rate monitor from the Apple Watch. I am used to the heart rate monitor/skin temperature monitor of the BASIS watch that I previously owned. What is nice about the BASIS watch is that all sensor data is loaded to a portal and you can then do pattern/trend analysis. In the Apple Watch the data is loaded to the Health app. There is no easy place to get an aggregated picture of your heart rate especially the changes in heart rate due to exercise. Definitely there is a role for an app to take all the data and aggregate it into nice charts.

Day 4 – Playing with the Apps

As soon as my watch was connected to my phone, the phone automatically downloaded the watch apps that were rolled out by the app vendors whose apps I had downloaded. I had quite a lot of them.

Camera App. This is an interesting app. It connects the camera of your iPhone to your watch. You can then use the watch as a delayed timer to take pictures.

Activity App. This is the app that describes the activities that you have undertaken for the day. It has three circles. The outer red circle estimates how many calories you’ve burned. The green middle circle provides the number of active minutes of exercise. A blue inner circle tells you how many hours in a day you have been standing. The goal is to encourage you to stand at least for a few minutes every hour. For each circle you can get a detailed graph on your progress for the day.

Calendar App. It mirrors your iPhone calendar.

Weather App. It tells you the weather and temperature for your location. It is really a very useful feature.

Day 5+ – Regular usage

Apple Watch is very comfortable. The watch is lightweight, the strap is very comfortable. It does not feel that it is on your hand. The watch face provides some amazing facts that a regular watch does not have.

It is a basic fitness device. It does count your steps, your heart rate and calories burned. It does have the heart rate monitor but that only gets measured every 10 minutes. The heart rate measurements are not granular enough when you do exercise. Also, it does not have a companion app that takes the data from the watch and provides you with trends with the data that is easy to understand and use. The Health App provides you some of the views but it is not easy to use/understand.

My first few days with Apple Watch have been really exciting. I will continue to share with you my experience and experiments over the summer.

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Nagaraja Srivatsan
Nagaraja Srivatsan is Senior Vice President, Venture partner, Cognizant a leading provider of information technology, business consulting, enterprise applications and business process services.

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