I’ve always worn a wristwatch. When Apple introduced their smartwatch I was super-excited about it. From the get go I knew I’m getting the 38mm stainless steel model with milaneese loop band. Throughout the 1.5 years I worn it almost every day I loved pretty much every detail of its industrial design. Yet about 2 weeks ago I permanently took it off my wrist in favour of my Citizen Navihawk. My decision wasn’t motivated by one dominating reason, it’s rather a couple of things that all together made me ditch this watch. I thought I’ll share them with you. Note these are my reasons, I’m not implying AppleWatch isn’t useful, I’m just saying despite me trying, it doesn’t really work for me.
1. Wrist isn’t a good place for notifications
This took a while to get through my head. When I first got AppleWatch I thought actionable notifications save a ton of time – “hey I can just answer ‘ok’ directly from my wrist and forget about that conversation”. However there’s only so much you can do on 38mm screen. Also I find myself escaping from the constant noise of all the notifications I get, don’t need them on my wrist.
2. Battery life was still poor
My typical day starts around 7am and finishes way past midnight with a solid, at least 2-hour, workout somewhere in-between. I had only one charger since there aren’t any third party cables available, so I could only charge my watch when I was at my desk, home. Honestly I rarely was able to get through my day without my AppleWatch going into power saving mode somewhere around the end.
3. Performance was still sluggish
As someone who does write iOS software I tend to install a lot of apps on my iOS devices including the watch. Sadly the majority of the apps brought little to zero value for me. If they did offer some interesting functionality, performance instantly killed – it was ALWAYS faster to whip my phone out and do the same thing.
4. I have a very specific toolchain I need on my wrist
I have four functionalities I really care about that I need to have on my wrist: current time, time in other timezones, count down timer and alarm. Sure, my AppleWatch did have all four, however it wasn’t reliable because of issues #2 & #3 that I covered earlier. I often found myself needing to quickly set a timer, but my watch was out of battery or it simply took too long. My ‘dumb’ watch does an excellent job providing me everything I need on my wrist.
5. Apple never came up with THE USECASE, neither did we
Boarding pass on my wrist..? Um, sure… I think the phone version is really good enough also looking at 80% of the folks I see on the airports still cary paper. Browsing Instagram photos on my wrist…? Hell no! I think both Apple and 3rd party developers failed to find the definitive seller for the watch. It might be fitness though, but I’ll expand on this in a sec.
6. My fitness is different than yours
I’m an epee fencer. I do a lot of training per week. I’d love to track it somehow, however my watch is usually barely alive when I get to my fencing practice (see #2), if it somehow isn’t I doubt it’s an reliable device to measure my sport. There are so many elements that form fencing, that cannot be measured using only accelerometer and a heart rate monitor. I still think AppleWatch is great for running or the new one (AppleWatch2) is awesome for swimming.