Or, as yet another way Apple has managed to hoodwink the masses into paying hard earned dollars for yet another digital trinket; a nominally useful device which does less than an iPhone but is pawned off as a luxury item that can cost far more.
Here’s a look at what my Watch has done to my iPhone, almost six months in.
Connected And Communicating
Before delving into the change in habits, let me point out how Watch should be viewed. For now. Watch is an iPhone accessory. It’s not a standalone product and should not be compared to iPhone, iPad, or anything else that functions by itself.
Watch needs iPhone. For now.
A year or two down the road we’ll see more functionality crammed into the device, perhaps even a round case (which seems to be Android’s look of choice for their smartphones to differentiate their wares from Watch), and surely standalone to become a smartphone on your wrist.
Watch is an iPhone accessory but what it does is remarkable and has precedent already. How much of what we once reserved for Mac and PC usage– email, browsing, calendar, contacts, et al, is now what we do only on the iPhone?
Again, how much of what was once accomplished with other devices is now crammed into an iPhone? Camera, audio recorder, video recorder, movie and TV watching, video conferencing, text messages, games, music playing, et al.
See? iPhone has taken on many of the tasks once reserved for Mac and PC.
Watch works the same way by making certain communications and information gathering more accessible and convenient. The dings, rings, alerts, and alarms that once emanated from an iPhone buried into a pocket, purse, or bag, are now assigned to the wrist with a perfect buzz which attracts your attention, and no one else.
These days I answer and initiate phone calls on my Watch more than my iPhone. The built-in microphone is that good. It’s faster and easier to respond to text messages without fishing around for the iPhone at an inconvenient moment.
My list of Notifications include the basics:
I’ve also sorted through hundreds of third party Watch apps and found a good blend of utilities which work well– for me– on my Watch and iPhone (many apps work in concert).
- Alarm Clock
- Dark Sky
- Pomodor Pro
- Storm Shield
Personally, I think navigating Glances can be improved, but it’s easy enough to add a dozen or so Glances and remember where they are in the flipping left and right scheme. Mine are, in order from far left to far right:
- Just Press Record
- Dark Sky
Anything beyond a dozen or so and it becomes difficult to remember where they are in the line up, from left to right.
A Watch feature that has great potential is Complications, a horology term for any feature on a timepiece which displays something beyond hours and minutes. Not as many apps are set to use Complications. Here are mine:
- Dark Sky
- Just Press Record
Just as carrying an iPhone or iPad is far more convenient yet nearly as productive as using a Mac on the go, a Watch becomes more convenient to use at times than an iPhone or iPad. Yes, Watch will play games and music, and display photos, but those are not a primary purpose. Convenience is the primary purpose.
For example, Just Press Record is an audio recording app that uses the built-in microphone in Watch. One press of the JPR Complication starts the recording process. One more press stops it. Another press saves it to your iPhone which is then synced to iCloud. That’s incredibly convenient, remarkably easy, and could only be made easier (but not as discreet) if Siri could be commanded to begin recording audio using a keyword.
The key to using Watch is what I term customizable convenience. That requires a little more effort than setting up iPhone, then downloading a few well known apps. Watch must be set up, too, and apps that bring Watch functions must be downloaded and tested and that takes effort.
In the end, a number of cumbersome, inconvenient functions that were once iPhone only– text messages, phone calls, email, time, weather conditions, sports scores, and a variety of apps with alerts, alarms, and notifications– are more subtly integrated into Watch and made more convenient by always available wrist placement, and are highly customizable.
Somewhere down the road; perhaps next year or the year after, Watch will be a standalone device; still capable of synchronizing with iPhone, but perhaps with a cell phone and Wi-Fi access built-in (even a selfie camera), sans iPhone. The progression from personal computer to mobile device to personal wearable device is obvious and where it is headed is unmistakable.
What Watch did to my iPhone is subtle but distinct. Watch did not make iPhone less useful, but Watch has made some iPhone functions more convenient and that trend will only continue.