Early days with the Apple Watch: so far so good

Here’s my latest MoneySense blog, which tells the story of my first week with the Apple Watch. I’ve added some photographs below that show the packaging.


By Jonathan Chevreau

Over the years, I’ve been both an early adopter of technology devices as well as, on occasion, a late adopter. Early with notebook computers and the first Macintosh in 1984, but late with the Blackberry and the iPhone.

As someone who didn’t even wear a traditional watch, the hype over Apple’s new Watch intrigued me. As I wrote a few weeks ago here at MoneySense.ca, I decided I’d become an early adopter of the Apple Watch, preordering it the day after it was permitted.

It took awhile to arrive and in fact there was a delivery glitch. I could have received it a week ago but I wasn’t around when the post office attempted a delivery and for some reason, they didn’t affix the normal advisory notice that it could be picked up at a local outlet. It ended up back in California but a company representative was diligent about this, phoning me and asking whether I wanted my money back or still wanted the device. I replied the latter and a week later was around when the postman delivered it to my door.

I tweeted this on Tuesday of this week, uploading a photo of the package – a squarish box about five inches by five – and then the device itself attached to my previously bear left wrist (see below).

Watch is smaller than many regular ones

IMG_4289I had picked the model with a smaller face and found the band fit comfortably and the watch wasn’t too clunky, as I had feared it might be. Indeed, as I look around at many people’s wrists with traditional watches, the Apple Watch is smaller than many of them: I value small size and slimness in many of my technological devices.

Job one was to charge the watch: supplied is a cord where one end is a USB slot you insert into a wall outlet; new to me was the other end: a shiny metallic circle that is magnetized on one side: it fits nicely on the back of the Watch and instantly starts charging.

Job two was to sync the Watch with the iPhone. After a false start (the documentation here is a bit thin), I managed this: you essentially take a photo of the Watch with your iPhone camera, lining up the image of the Watch just so, at which point the syncing begins automatically.

An early decision I made was NOT to automatically upload all the iPhone apps on to the Watch. I want to spend the first few weeks examining the functionality of the pre-loaded Watch apps, which include of course the time, weather, email, a map app and of course the much publicized fitness function, which was one of my own chief motivators for purchasing it in the first place.

Having read the early reviews in the papers, I decided I did not want to (at least initially) subject myself to the barrage of notifications and alerts that would ensue once you add the Twitter app and other social media apps to the Watch itself. I reasoned that half the time I’d be carrying the iPhone along with the Watch anyway, and I’d rather check the iPhone for social media updates than subject myself to a constant stream of alerts on the Phone.

Watch often serves as a remote control for iPhone

IMG_4290When it came to the Music and Camera apps built-in to the Watch, I soon realized the Watch merely helps you control the same apps on the iPhone. So to take a photo with the Watch, you have to point the iPhone camera at your subject, using the Watch itself just to press the virtual shutter. Same with music: when I pressed the Music icon on the Watch, the resulting music started to play on the iPhone, not the watch. However, the Watch does act as a kind of remote control device for the music: you can skip ahead or back and adjust volume from the watch. And in a car, I did find this slightly safer than fiddling with the iPhone (during a natural stop like traffic lights, of course) since your wrist is already close to the steering wheel and so your eyes are at least scanning the road.

The fitness apps worked as expected: keeping track of steps, telling you when it’s time to stand, declaring a 30-minute daily exercise goal, etc.

Admittedly, there is not a lot to say about the Watch’s role in Financial Independence, although one of the built-in apps does include a stock price updater, beginning with Apple itself. This is one area where you’d want to start syncing with your financial iPhone apps or waiting for new Watch apps to come out.

In summary, based on my first two days, I am not disappointed, nor do I have any regrets about the purchase, financial or otherwise. If all I ever do is check the time, use the fitness apps, and glance at email when stranded in certain situations where the iPhone is not available, I’d be happy. If nothing else, it’s a conversation starter and something to write about!



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