Apple Watch, welcome to 1975
I have now used my 42 mm Apple Watch Sport for a week. Even though I have not used a wrist watch daily for 25 years I feel really comfortable wearing it. My first impression, what a small watch this really is. The attention to detail is as always excellent.
I have been using training watches from Garmin for many years so that is how I compare it mostly during this review. Garmins training devices are very bulky and is hard to get under a normal shirt.
I am totally convinced anyone who doesn't actively do any training is going to be healthier with the watch since they are going to move more. Apple has made it dead simple with the small circles which need to be filled every day. Marco Arment has written a nice article about it here.
"Apple Watch gives you a complete picture of your all-day activity. It’s also an advanced sports watch, giving you real-time stats for a variety of the most popular workouts."
Well, the marketing team at Apple really knows what to say, read that again: real-time stats. Yes, I would say ONLY real-time stats. If you like to see what was going on in retrospect, welcome to 1975. This is how an athlete is supposed to look at their training activity on the iPhone only:
Where are the graphs of pulse, speed, tempo, laps? Today, I would say the Apple Watch leaves many features out that anyone that used a regular training watch expects to find. Most obvious, there is no way to show more detailed information about a training event. All the data of the pulse, speed, pace, etc are all showed as data points in a long line in the health app. So after a nice run you like to know if you where making a harder effort then last time? Well, the only was is to look at you heart rate numbers sorted in a list on your iPhone at random sampling. I would say it is almost impossibe to do any analyze of the data the watch records.
You get measured calories but I don't know anyone who trains by burned calories. These are all software issues that can be more advanced over time. The first iPhone was lacking lots of features my Ericsson phone had at the time. The biggest difference was that all the iPhones functions worked. The Ericsson was not. Same goes for the Garmin devices of today. Many features but really buggy software that causes them to crash, measure the training data wrong etc.
To sum it up, the Apple Watch is more an activity tracker (that won't track your sleep) than a training device.
The most notable bug I have seen is when the Watch during the day is suposed to display sunset, but always display sunrise. There are some users seeing less pulse reading during daily use with the latest version of firmware, 1.01, but that can be Apples intention since the idea is to measure pulse at rest. But, Apples own information, claims the pulse is measured every 10 minutes during normal use, but that simply is not working as Apple stated it.
I often find the watch unresponsive, for example raise to speak to Siri rarely works, or Siri just replies back, Hello Johan, disregarding my commands altogether. For some reason the weather app often takes so much time to update that I have to wake the clock up to 5 times just to get the weather report. Remember this is the Apple supplied app and not a third party one,
It has happened twice now that the watch accepts some form of input even though it is on my arm. Once a timer stopped by itself so I had really hard boiled eggs that morning. Another time It was trying to send a message to one on my friends list.
The watch use is rather inconsequent. Usually, a short press on the crown brings up the watch face, but not always. If I have the training app running and I press the crown I get a view of that app. But that seems to be just that one. The timer, nor the stop watch works like this. I would like to have at least the Apple included apps to come back at all times when they are actively in use.
Sometimes the watch won't take input. The worst app is the training app. When I launch it and select an activity type and try to start it I have to wait up to 20 seconds before it responds.
Wasn't Apple supposed to care about the environment? The Apple Watch box almost takes up more space than a iPad mini box. I am sure the Apple Watch 2 will have a much smaller box. I will come back to this in more detail.
I expect the Apple Watch to be much more advanced, even the current model with the lacking hardware features. How about third party gym apps? Imagine yourself at the gym, you are going to the dumbells, you tell the Watch you are doing Arnold presses. The watch knows that last time you did 3x8 on 50KG. Now you like to increase to 55kg. The watch measures how many reps you do using its accelerometer and records the data so you can go back and have a look at it later.
I also expect the Watch to be more responsive, probably not this generation though. It is more or less the same as an iPhone before iphone 4. You select something on the display but you don't know if it got it or not.