To continue to call the mobile phone my most personal device is to ignore the You Did It notification that I received on my new Apple Watch while I was in front of a urinal.
Whoa, even double whoa, I thought at that moment, before I silently thanked the Apple developers in Cupertino for the positive reinforcement.
I now know that particular notification conveyed the fact that I had reached a stand-up goal set by my Apple Watch. But for the newbie, it did seem random and ill-timed.
And there has been more where that came from.
To sum up my first 10 days with Apple Watch, it has been about making time rather than saving it.
Simply and unequivocally, the user experience isn’t intuitive. That forces you to either seek out and read a long user guide or muddle through wondering when is the moment for the ballyhooed Force Touch, a swipe to the left, or a click or two or three of the newly-introduced-to-us Digital Crown.
Out of the box, my Apple Watch failed to tap my wrist and mirror my iPhone when a text message or email arrived. Ninety minutes and two Geniuses from the Apple Store later, a supposed software problem had been identified and solved and I was sent on my way with Mickey Mouse tapping a big foot on the watch face.
As I wrote in this space last month after ordering the device, one of the supposed benefits of receiving notifications on your wrist is the unmatched ability to inconspicuously sneak a look at information without having to pull out a smartphone.
But unless you want a push every time something in a game changes – heck, teams typically combine for more than 200 points in an NBA game – you are left to grab the info off of a Glance. It isn’t unnoticed by your companions when you have to stroke a finger up the watch to get to Glances, then move from one “snack” of information (say, a flight arrival) to another to see if the Clippers have blown another lead.
Many of us have been drawn to Apple Watch for its health monitoring capabilities. But context is absent and what is necessary.
On a cross-country flight last week, my heartbeat reading showed 94 and a fellow passenger with more of a medical background than me – that group is 98 percent of the population – went quiet when he saw the number. Through a discussion, we discovered that the 94 was the result of the activity boarding the flight and lifting luggage. Apple Watch retook the heartbeat and I was in the low 60s.
That episode reminded me of the time two Christmases ago when my new Fitbit Force showed that I had burned 861 calories when the most strenuous thing I had done was to push the button on my computer.
I considered it a Christmas miracle.
Or a sham.
Only later, after writing up my experience, did a friend call me out for not realizing that we burn calories even when we sleep.
And we’re supposed to know this how?
I’ve read more than my share of Apple Watch reviews. In many cases, users have experienced “light bulb” moments where the benefits of the wearable become apparent.
To date, I deem the information on my wrist to either be redundant or at most in the “nice to know” category. We’ve repeatedly said that our smartphones are within four feet of us nearly 24 hours a day. So it’s not like the Apple Watch has opened up a view on the world that has been missing or inaccessible.
Apple may very well have my back. At some point, I might see that and salute the company with my own version of “You Did It”. But now isn’t the time.
(article first appeared on iMediaconnection.com - http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2015/05/19/life-with-an-apple-watch-too-personal-and-lacking-benefits/)