Apple Watch Sport Review

apple_watchAs fate would have it, by the time I got around to writing a review of the Pebble watch I’ve been using for a year, I go out and get an Apple watch. You might be asking yourself “how in the heck did that happen?” Or, you might be thinking, “just tell us already.”

Well, like most people, I was just sitting around looking for deals on Craigslist. When suddenly, I came across an ad from a guy wanting to sell his Apple Watch. Not only did he want to sell it, he wanted to sell it for cheap. After a quick consultation with the wife and a few short emails and text messages with the seller, I was on my way to pick it up.

After I spent some time getting it set up, updated, and connected to my iPhone, I was ready to roll. From the start, I immediately noticed that the build quality of the Apple Watch was far superior to the Pebble Classic. It also integrates better into the Apple ecosystem as you might expect. But, to be fair, the Pebble Classic came out about two years before the Apple Watch was even announced. Therefore, it’s not exactly fair to compare these two items as equals. Instead, I’m going to spend this time telling you what I like about Apple Watch instead of telling you what I don’t like about Pebble.

The model I purchased is the Apple Watch Sport. It’s body is milled from an aluminum alloy and is anodized with a dark gray coating. The watch band is black and is made of a poly-elastomer material. It’s comfortable to wear and great to look at.

With watchOS 2, Apple Watch received a host of new features. Most notable was offering app developers the option to include customized complications. Complications are tiny bits of information that can be added to the watch-face. They include things like weather, stock prices, and calendar events.

Having the ability to customize the watch-face is what I like most. With a quick glance I can see the time, date, temperature, or even look at my next upcoming calendar event. When I touch one of these areas, I am whisked away to the appropriate app to even more information.

I also like being able to see incoming notifications from my phone right on my wrist. Right now, I have incoming email messages, text messages, and even some game notifications set to appear on my watch. With text messages, I can even reply by choosing a stock phrase or use Siri to dictate one of my own.

Overall, I am very pleased with this device and do not regret my purchase. If I had paid full price, I may have not have felt the same way, but I got a deal and am making the most of it. Because watchOS 3 is currently in development and new hardware may soon be on the way, I am confident that apple Watch will become even more appealing those who have yet to buy one.

Episode 8: Headphones, Haptics and Hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff

We discuss some reader questions on headphones and internet weirdness. Not a lot of news this week but we do talk about Apple’s March 15th event, Facebook’s degrees of separation, local news and David Hasselhoff. After a deep discussion on the Apple Watch we finish up talking about Dave’s upcoming Portland Comic Con excursion.

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The Apple Watch. My Thoughts.

Activity Monitor
Activity Monitor
Camera Remote Inception
Camera Remote Inception
My Watch Face
My Watch Face
"Apps"
“Apps”

I have had my Apple Watch for about 3 weeks now and have a lot of people asking how I like it. I figured it was time to type out some thoughts and observations so far (No I am not able to type blog posts from the watch).

A few disclaimers before I get started:

  • I have worn a watch as long as I can remember. The Apple Watch would be a lot more of a transition for a non watch wearer.
  • I’m a huge Apple nerd. I have purchased almost every iPhone on the day it comes out, since the first one in 2007. 
  • I had a Pebble Watch. For the last 8 months I wore a Pebble Smart Watch. It has limited functionality compared to the Apple Watch, but it helped the transition from ‘dumb’ watches.

Last fall when Tim Cook introduced the watch he said it was their most personal device yet. I have to agree with him, when people ask to see it there is an awkward wrist twist and not much to show. While I do believe that it is a revolutionary product, it isn’t as ‘demonstratable’ as many other gadgets.

I have tried to thinking of a good analogy for what I think the watch is. There was a time when TVs did not come with a remote, they worked, but it is hard to imagine life without them now. After just 3 weeks, that is how I feel about the Apple Watch. The watch requires an iPhone to function which I have no problem with. At this time I don’t think I would want something the size of a watch to replace my phone (but we said the same thing about smartphones and computers not too long ago.

Here are some various things that I think are important:

  • It is not just another screen to stare at endlessly. It is made for quick interactions, you know, like a watch. I can quickly look at my watch to see a notification and decide if I need to do anything with it. I have found myself pulling out my phone a lot less and getting sucked into all the distractions found there.
  • It doesn’t have real apps, at least right now. What it does have is extensions for apps on your phone, most of which aren’t real useful. Third party iPhone apps are very limited in what they can do on the watch, Apple says they will allow real apps later.
  • The Activity Monitor is a great way to get moving. Those of you that know me, know I don’t move much. With the watch it is really easy to set and track daily goals. It will also give you a gentle reminder if you haven’t moved in an hour to stand up and get the blood flowing. That has been huge for me, there are a lot of times when I spend a long time in my recliner. I just have to work on less trips to the kitchen when I do get up.
  • Battery life is better than expected. When Apple said that battery life would last about a day every one freaked out. I understand, this is a big change from the 5 years a standard watch battery will last. But people have an iPhone mentality on charging, it takes less than 2 hours to fully charge. So I sleep with mine on and then just charge it some point during the day when I don’t need it.
  • Square is the best shape. Again we think a watch should be round, but you know what doesn’t work well on round objects? Text. Try to write a letter on a round piece of paper, it is not efficient.
  • Is it waterproof? I have not tested the ‘waterproofness’ too much yet. Apple says to be very careful but the certification they got says you can put it in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. This Guy took it for a long swim and off the high dive without issue. I just figure I don’t need to risk it yet.
  • It’s the best Siri yet. Apparently Apple made some changes to Siri to put it on the watch and most people think it is much more accurate. I dictated a text while at a loud concert last night and it came through perfectly.
  • So what do I do with the watch?
    • Look at the time. It is a little weird that the screen is off when you aren’t looking at it but it’s not a deal breaker.
    • Look at notifications. Not having to pull my iPhone out every time there is a notification is great. I can take a quick look and decide if I need to respond and whether I can do it on the watch or need to take my phone out.
    • Control audio on my phone. With a quick swipe I can play, pause, rewind or fast-forward whatever I am listening too.

Final Thoughts: I really like the Apple Watch, it has smoothly integrated into my life. Yeah, $400 is pretty expensive for a watch, and I have to admit it isn’t something I need. But I do have to say that it has me spending a lot less time on my iPhone, something I think we could all use. I am excited to see what Apple does with the watch as well, remember that we didn’t even get apps on the iPhone for a year…

Questions? Concerns? Answers? Head on over to the Facebook page and let me know.

Further Reading: The team over at iMore has a ridiculously in-depth review over on their site.

 

Disclaimer: This was originally posted on layPhone.com and was migrated to this site when Nate and David started Notnerd.com.

Apple Announcement 9/9/14 Wrap-up | iPhone6, Apple Pay, Apple Watch

Apple-iPhone6Yesterday Apple had their announcement and it did not disappoint (me, at least). They announced the new iPhones, their new payment system and the watch. I will do my best to give you a quick rundown of the information we were given. I wasn’t spot-on in my posts ahead of time, post 1 and post 2, but I was close. More on my opinion later.

I took a long, early lunch from my day job to come home and follow along. There were some issues with the streaming video from Apple, but between that, another live video analysis, Twitter and a written feed I was able to get a good image of what was going on. I then came home last night and watched the full announcement again and read several articles on the topic.

Ok, on to the good stuff:

  • iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

    • Two new models of the iPhone, the 6 being a 4.7″ screen and the 6 Plus being a 5.5″ screen.
    • Release date September 19th with preorders at 12:01am on September 12th.
    • They are both bigger in width and heighth over previous iPhones, but they are thinner.
    • The rear camera is still 8 megapixels but has better features. The 6 Plus has optical image stabilization, which takes better pictures. The camera also sticks out a bit from the back since they are so thin.
    • They have moved the power button from the top, and added a large-screen mode to help with one-handed operation on the larger screens.
    •  The 6 Plus has some special features similar to the iPad for horizontal use.
    • Internal storage is now 16gb, 64gb or 128gb. The 6 costs $199, $299 and $399 respectively. The 6 Plus is $100 more for each level. They both come in the same silver, space gray and gold from last year.
    • The processors and inside workings are all better and faster. The screen is ‘nicer.’
    • You can find a comparison of all current iPhone models on Apple’s site.
  • Apple Pay

    • There is a doodad built into the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus that will allow you to store your credit card and pay really easily in stores and online.
    • It will be available in October, so more on that later.
  • Apple Watch

    • The Apple Watch will be released in early 2015. It looks amazing and I am saving for one now. The prices start at $349. Much more on this later, but watch the Apple video below for a great glimpse at this masterpiece.
  • Other

    • iOS8 will be released on September 17th. Get your phones backed up and ready to update.
    • Apple has given every iTunes customer a free copy of U2’s new album. Here is how to get it.

Well, that gives you the essential details for what I think you need to know now. For more in-depth coverage the good people from iMore have a detailed breakdown of the event. If you want to watch the whole two-hour announcement, head over to www.Apple.com.

If you are thinking of getting one of the new models anywhere near the release date, I strongly suggest you call your cell phone company to make sure everything is setup, and get ready to wake up and be ready to order at midnight.