Monday, May 16, 2016

A Wearable Year

It’s just one more thing to remember to charge throughout our busy days. - Joseph Volpe
When the Apple Watch pre-order day happened last year, I was in the throws of having a newborn waking me up, I slept through my "wake up to preorder" alarm, and I didn't get my watch for six weeks after it was available. It was horrible! Now I'm somewhere around a year in to owning and wearing my Apple Watch and what's the scoop?  What does it feel like after wearing it a year?

Living outside of the tech bubble bay, the Apple Watch is a rare sight. One my friends-of-friends who works at Apple commented when seeing me, "I think you're the first non-Apple employee I've seen wearing the Apple Watch." Even at my office corporate in San Francisco, I am the only person wearing one. So people still ask me, "Is it cool? What's the coolest thing it does?"
In terms of my wearables, my wedding ring still remains the things that I wear 99% of the time. It comes off briefly under specific "I might lose it" scenarios, but generally, it's on my finger. After that, the next most worn item is my Apple Watch followed by my iPhone. What's the killer feature? Seeing what time it is on my wrist!
What do I actually use my Apple Watch for? Notifications, obviously. I turned off all my work-related notifications (bye-bye Slack, Gmail, etc), so it's really only there to provide me with personal notifications during the work day.  I would like to be able to have work notifications off during the work day (where I am sitting in front of my work computer) and on during the weekend, where I might want to see a quick work email and reply - but since I can't do that? Off all the time.
Up until very recently I used the music controls all the time - the primary way I played music at home was Amazon Prime Music from my phone, through a Bluetooth speaker.  So it was super awesome to be able to adjust volume, pause, skip tracks, using the music player on my wrist. But I recently bought an Amazon Echo, and now that is the way we play music in the house. I find it significantly less convenient and cool to yell out into the air, "Alexa, volume up." "Alexa, skip." "Alexa, pause." than it was to casually do a wrist tap or two.  On the other hand, it's significantly more convenient to have an always-on speaker than to deal with my phone disconnecting when I walk to the far end of the house go outside.
I use Siri to control all of my Internet of Things devices around the house. By using the Homebridge OpenSource server, I've got all my smart devices wired up. The one I use most often is, "Siri, goodnight." That turns off the lights (TCP Connected), turns on the bedroom fan (WeMo Switch), makes sure the garage is closed (Chamberlain MyQ), locks the inside garage door (August Smart Lock).
I also do "use" all of the built-in health tracking features. I put it in quotes, because that one is entirely passive, and I don't do anything with that data, but it's cool to think about the fact that I now have a year worth step counts, standing data, heart rates, etc. I've been using Sleep++ on the watch to track my sleep at night as well.
So that's where I am after a year with this thing. I would probably do a lot more if apps were faster... they are... just... so... slow. I really enjoy BabyConnect to track all the kids activities, but the watch is too painfully slow for me to do it. I cannot wait for The New Apple Watch that speeds all this stuff up a little bit.