The Apple Watch is an unassuming device that is valuable in surprising ways. It has its flaws–and plenty of them. So when asked if I like mine it’s hard to articulate a complete answer. My short answer is “Yes, I like it” which might seem incongruous since I just ragged on it here.
Usually when people ask that question what they really want to know is why they should want one. It harkens back to the business cliche that “customers don’t want quarter inch drills, they want quarter inch holes.” I have started answering this implicit question with two questions of my own.
The first is, “Do you enjoy how it feels to carry your iPhone around in your jeans pocket all the time?” Unless you are an unobservant hermit you have noticed that Apple now makes enormous iPhones. In the case of the “phablet” iPhone 6+ it is truly gigantic. They get thinner with each generation, but the bigger the screen the less comfortable they are in the pants pocket. I just have a normal iPhone 6 and dislike how even that “smaller” iPhone feels in my pocket.
With the Apple Watch on my wrist the iPhone is not in my pocket much anymore. When I get home the iPhone goes on the table just inside the door. The watch notifies me of anything important as I move about the house. I can even walk out of Bluetooth range of the iPhone because when the watch connects to wifi it works independently.
I don’t miss having a phone gouge into my leg as I bend down to play with my kids or do household chores. If you are a woman who carries her jumbo phone in her back pocket the Apple Watch is for you! It will let you sit down without having your flesh pinched by aluminum gadgetry. I am thrilled that my jeans now feel as they did in the late nineties when my pockets weren’t crammed with devices. Back then I had room for important things, like my Blockbuster video rental card–how quaint!
The second question I ask is, “Do you like the barrage of jarring sounds coming from your iPhone?” Many people realize that there’s nothing worse than obnoxious ringtones. They are the absolute worst when sitting in a quiet cube farm at work or at a public venue. Inevitably the people with these tacky ringtones have the volume turned way up. But even a loudly ringing phone without an awful ringtone is startling and jolts me out of my thoughts. My blood pressure is spiking just thinking about it.
As a reaction against such behavior my iPhone was on vibrate much of the time. But inevitably I would miss important calls or texts when walking briskly with my phone in my pocket, or if it was set down on furniture across the room. So I needed the ring volume turned up at times.
Since getting the Apple Watch my iPhone is on vibrate 100% of the time. The first setting I changed on the watch was muting it entirely. The watch itself never needs to make a sound because of haptic feedback. Now when a person in my VIP list texts me the watch tactfully gives me a noiseless tap on the wrist. It is unmistakable. But you should only receive significant notifications that way. If you get notified about your Candy Crush progress on your Apple Watch you are doing it wrong. Notifications on the watch also make for fewer distractions. The small screen of the watch doesn’t suck you into unplanned diversions as the iPhone does.
It is the precious silence that the watch brings which I value. The watch can’t supress the abrasive sounds from the phones of others but it has added a measure of tranquillity to my life. That is how I explain the watch’s value to others. People are uninterested in “notifications on your wrist” but they do care about the benefit to their lives from such features.
The Apple Watch isn’t for everyone. It tends to be for those who appreciate the understated ($15K Rose Gold models aside.) If you don’t mind wedging large Otterbox-clad aluminum rectangles in your pocket, enjoy blaring Nicki Minaj ringtones, or savor interruptions then you might not like it. But if you are like me and want your jeans to feel more comfortable, to experience fewer auditory assaults from your iPhone, and prefer focus to distraction you might find things more peaceful on your little slice of the earth with an Apple Watch.