The Weeklong Diary of an Apple Watch Owner

Friday, 4/24/15 - Launch Day

5:20pm - The UPS man finally delivered my watch and I unboxed the device and set it up. One of my first concerns with the watch in-person is 3rd party apps, though I'm surprised by how fast most apps are once opened after the initial launch, and they're not quite as bad as reviewers cracked them up to be. The apps could definitely serve to sped up though, either through background caching or just improved sync speed in general. All in time I suppose.

6:10pm - I head to work where several of my coworkers ask me about the watch almost on the spot. I'd been talking about it with several of them beforehand in the weeks leading up to today, so they know to ask me. I mainly show them how it has apps from my phone on it and how I can send texts just with my voice. The "Hey Siri" command works only once out the three times I try it, albeit I'm in a loud room with running machines.

9:35pm - Just had my first "random encounter" with someone recognizing the watch. A customer at my work spotted it and asked "Is that the Apple Watch?" so I proceeded to show him what it could do and let him hold it for a minute. In hindsight I don't think I'll be taking it off and letting people hold it in the future, I must've just been a little caught up in showing if off for the first time. It was kinda cool, and at this point I'm wondering if that sort of thing will be the norm for the next days and weeks.

10:37pm - Just finished up work. When I unboxed the watch it was at 79% charge, and since then it's dropped to 45%. That's about 20% in 5 hours, so even though I've been using the watch pretty frequently and setting it up, I'd say that rate bodes pretty well for it's endurance. I'll keep closer attention over the next few full days.

11:00pm - I've been using the watch to send texts in the majority of cases since I've gotten it, both to good and bad effect. Overall it seems to be good for shorter, simpler replies rather than replies in larger conversations. I'll need to experiment this week with what to delegate to the watch and when it's best to just switch to using my phone as I figure out the watch's strengths and weaknesses.

12:21am - The watch is on the charger with 27% remaining and my alarm is set for the morning. Overall I'm impressed with the watch even with it's definite 1st-generation shortcomings that exist right now, and really I'm just looking forward to getting up tomorrow and using the watch again. (What a nerd!)

Saturday, 4/25/15 - Day One

9:00am - I'm up and so is the watch. Charged and ready to go.

10:30am - I get to the coffee shop early before my shift to get a drink and some breakfast. I really like how the Lifesum app lets you log a meal in general size increments on the watch (small, medium, large) before going in on your phone later and specifying the individual food items. This lets me log a generalization of the meal easily while I'm eating and then fill it in later when I have the time, rather than waiting until I have the time to search each item and sometimes forgetting to. Convenient, and the kind of interaction I'd expect from a watch app.

11:53am - I just noticed my iPhone's battery has already drained to nearly half charge in only a few hours off the charger today. I have been using it a lot for Instagram, Omnifocus, and posing with it's screen on for photoshoots this morning, but I'm still worried that the watch could be sapping its battery life. I'll have to keep my eye on that.

12:05pm - I'm pacing and reading on my iPad at work while waiting for food orders to come in. I realize for the first time that it's difficult to use the watch while holding something else in either hand, but it's easy to get at my Pedometer++ glance so it's mostly alright.

12:21pm - I probably should have figured this out sooner, but apps that don't tap into Apple's Health data-graph for my motion data and only tap into the motion data API (ie: the iPhone's m8 specifically, not the aggregate data of the Watch and iPhone) will only track steps that I take with my iPhone. That means both Fitbit and Pedometer++ - the apps I focus on the most for fitness - will still require me to have my phone in my pocket to count my steps. Bummer.

4:03pm - This is actually great. I've been using the watch on and off since 9 this morning and it's only now hit 80% charge. That's 20% in 7 hours, so way more than you'd need for a 24 hour stint. Color me impressed.

6:27pm - Just got home from work, finishing off just over 9 hours since I took the watch off the charger and it's only now to 70%. I used it to check off one of my todos through Omnifocus as I was leaving, and the app was quick enough so that I didn't even notice the load times. Even these pseudo-apps can be totally passable some of the time.

7:45pm - Paced around my house while watching Aziz Ansari's standup on Netflix at a fairly good clip. This is a habit I've taken to over the past few months after I read a post by Ben Brooks that mentioned pacing whilst reading some articles in order to get some extra steps in. I've since taken up the practice myself and you can find me pacing whilst reading, listening to podcasts, and yes; watching Netflix as well.

I filled in both my move and exercise rings in the Activity app, which feels good. I've walked nearly 25,000 steps today, if I have to work this hard every day to complete my rings I'll be lucky if I hit it even once or twice a week (at least, with my current habits.)

8:10pm - I took a shower before heading out to eat with my family and took the watch off before getting in mainly due to the fear of losing my $400 device just so I could get @-replies in the shower. Everyone online who's tried showering with or submersing their watch in water seems to have come out just fine, but I'll hold off a little longer before christening my watch.

9:00pm - Whilst eating dinner I notice that my step count in Lifesum is about 12,000 steps too high, and that it doesn't match up with the rest of my fitness apps. It's affecting my calorie count in the app, and thus is affecting how much the app thinks I still need to eat today. My guess is that the app is somehow duplicating fitness data somewhere, and that it probably has something to do with the watch, so I send the developers an email, and I'm sure it'll be fixed before too long.

11:23pm - That's one complete day for the watch! I've been using it normally off and on all day and it's only worked its way down past halfway only recently, resting at 47% now. I just turned off the battery life complication on my watch face, as I think it would just serve to distract me and make me think about the battery needlessly. I've turned off the battery indicator on my phone to help my range-anxiety-prone self, so I think the same ought to apply to the watch, especially with it's apparent battery endurance.

12:06am - Alright, so my day wasn't quite done yet. I've just completed my first official "workout" using the workout app on the watch. It was just an indoor walk at a pretty quick pace in order to keep my mind focused on other things like Instapaper articles or podcasts, but I wanted to try out the Watch's workout features as well. I like that it tracked my calories burned, distance walked, pace, and heart rate for the workout, but I don't like that it drained another 10% of the watch. Down to 37%.

1:10am - Ok, I'm actually done for the night now. Another 45 minutes of pacing and I'm well into my step goal for Sunday. Feels good, and I'm pretty proud of how I've done health-wise today. Good first day with the watch, that's for sure, and I hope I can hit this kind of fitness performance at least a couple times a week. I plug in the watch at 34%. Done for the day.

Sunday, 4/26/15 - Day Two

9:09am - The first thing I did today was get up and do a quick FitStar workout. I tracked the workout from my watch as well as with the FitStar app, and it went pretty well. I worked out for 22 minutes and the Watch's battery dropped 6%. Not that bad, and I think for day to day workouts a person should be fine as long as they're not working out for multiple hours a day.

2:07pm - At work now and pacing around the kitchen when Clean Shaven App's new release Timers drops. I've tried it out for a bit now and I'm quite impressed with the app's functionality, especially on the watch. I wish that my different timer sets would sync between my iPhone and iPad though, I use them enough indiscriminately that it's useful for me to have mirrored timers on both. I bet the devs will get to it.

3:28pm - This must be the day for me investigating new apps, as I just read an article about the time-tracking app Hours, it's recent decision to go to a free pricing model, and the prominence of the Apple Watch in the app's workflow. It's inspired me to try and start tracking my time, and so I have the app set up now and I'm tracking today's work shift.

3:42pm - I got off work a little early so I iced a tea while I was waiting for my girlfriend Anné to walk over and go for a stroll. I set my brew timer from my watch in Due as opposed to doing so like I normally would on my phone. The app is pleasantly speedy, enough for me to positively notice.

10:47pm - The rest of my afternoon has been dedicated to spending time with Anné, but I still manage to get my stand goal in for the several hours where we're watching a movie. Well-timed bathroom breaks for the win. Anné got her first real chance to try the digital crown today, which she described as being quite smooth. I concur. I've come home now, and am rounding out the day with some pacing and reading.

12:14am - Heading to bed now, and finishing the day out with my evening Day One log and a timer-switch in the hours app on my watch. I'm still impressed most of the time by the speed of operations in 3rd party apps, if only because it's in contrast to some of the slower experiences I've had in the first few days. About half the time the apps load within 1 or 2 seconds, but the rest of the time it takes between 5 and indefinite spinning, which can be supremely frustrating.

Watch battery remaining: 46%. Also, as a side note I've walked over 50,000 steps in the past two days. Mainly to conquer a FitBit weekend warrior challenge, but also to try out the Watch's fitness features legitimately. Really enjoying being active.

Monday, 4/27/15 - Day Three

5:20am - I usually have issues with sleeping through alarms, but for some reason the Apple Watch's alarm has woken me up three days running with no problem. That could just be me getting vaguely healthy sleep this weekend, we'll see throughout the week.

7:00am - I read both David Sparks & Jason Snell's "First Weekend With The Watch" pieces. I consider maybe packaging up this piece into a weekend piece like them, but figure that it'd be better to keep going with my initial, uninfluenced, idea.

7:15am - A classmate comes up to me and mentions that he saw my watch on Instagram, so I humor him and show him a notification and how I have some of my apps on it. He seems like he thinks it cool, and cracks a joke about the Watch Edition. I appreciate the common humor, even if it's with a subject matter that will surely get beat to death over time.

8:12am - Another classmate must've heard that I was getting the watch, as he stops me to ask "Mike, did you end up getting the watch?" I pull down my sleeve and the screen turns on, followed by his "Ooh baby!" as a response and him telling me that in Greek custom, he wishes me well and that I would "use it in good health." I like that, and it makes me want to be more active and fit so I can live out his mantra.

8:53am - While using the watch under some fluorescent lighting I notice the first hairline scratch on it's screen. It's not large or deep, but if the light catches the surface just right then I'll see it. And of course, I'll know it's there.

I've had these sorts of scratches on my phone's screen before, and while they do bum me out a little if I think about them, they're not visible enough in everyday use to pose a problem or even cross my mind. Was bound to happen, really. Though I'm still a little disappointed that it scratched only a couple of days in.

9:56am - Starting yesterday at work and continuing into today at school I'm noticing myself feeling a little bashful and embarrassed showing off the watch or even using it on my own some of the time. If I flick out my wrist to activate the screen or begin tapping the screen I almost feel like I'm showing off, and I don't want to seem like I'm bragging about a (semi-ridiculous for me) $400 investment in a watch. It's still really early on in the Watch's rollout, so I'm hoping I'll feel more normal once a couple more people I know/see have one.

4:17pm - After school I'm at Anné's house working on a vocal piece for this coming fall's choir auditions. More today than before, I've noticed myself turning my wrist to see the watch only to be met with a dark screen. It seems like over 85% of the time the "Activate on Wrist Raise" feature works just fine, but the other 15% of the time it seems extremely resistant to turning on, sometimes requiring multiple taps on the screen to wake. That could use some tweaking, but I'll bet Apple will take the liberty to tweak that feature a bit once everyone's initial battery qualms have been laid to rest.

8:50pm - After finishing up my shift at work I get the chance to test the watch in one of the use cases I looked forward to most leading up to when I got it; driving. Just by flicking my wrist and then saying "Hey Siri" I was able to text my sister that I was there to pick her up from a play production she went to help with tonight, all without taking my eyes off the road. Worked like a charm, and I think it was much more convenient and safe than trying to do the same with my phone.

10:00pm - Finally home for the day. All told I think throughout the day I was asked about the watch by nearly 10 people, which was around how many I thought would. All of them seemed intrigued, and most said that the watch was both "really cool" and that it "looks really nice." I'm still the only person I know who owns one for the time being though.

1:01am - 19 Hours of uptime, 32,000+ steps, and one tired person later, the watch is at 40%.

Time for sleep. Day 3: done.

Tuesday, 4/28/15 - Day Four

6:47am - Up early yet again, though thanks to last nights fitness activities that continued past midnight I already have some progress on my activity rings for the day.

11:13am - I greet one of my more tech-savvy friends in the hallway and he asks me to show him the watch. I oblige, and he quickly voices his positive impression of the 60fps app-screen animations. I show him glances and the remote-camera shutter and he seems reasonably impressed.

"Apple Watch is pretty dope!" He says.

3:56pm - I make my first phone call via the watch whilst driving somewhere with Anné. The call goes through without issue, and when I ask my mom how I sound over the phone she says I sound pretty good ("You sound crystal-clear Mr-Dick-Tracy!"). The hands-free nature of the whole interaction makes it ideal for use while driving, I think.

11:08pm - Today was mainly a restful day for me, and so I'm just now getting in the majority of my steps for the day. Not a healthy choice, as it'll just lead to me staying up later and getting less sleep tonight, but it's how the day unfolded regardless. Throughout the day I had another ten-ish people ask me about the watch, most of them completely interested in seeing how cool it was and what it could do. I have yet to have someone ask who was predisposed negatively to the concept of the watch, so I think I'm gradually feeling better about showing it to people and using it in general.

11:37pm - I read David Spark's article about organizing the watch's app-screen into a shape other than Apple's default circle: one of the first things I thought about upon seeing the app-screen and getting to try it in person at the Apple Store. I think it's a good idea, and while I'm not completely convinced that David's method is perfect or that it would even work for users who don't have many watch apps installed, I do think I'll be pondering how I could set up my app-screen that could benefit me and my usage.

2:09am - Still up and pacing. I worked on some links for this week's A-Players post and did some research on running for a project at school. I've had the watch off the charger for about 19&1/2 hours today which is definitely a longer day for me, and the watch still has 37% battery left. At this point, I think I'm completely convinced that the watch is able to get through a day on a charge without any issues, and you won't hear me mention it any more in this piece unless there are outlier experiences or issues with performance.

3:07am - I've just finished my journaling for the night, dropped the watch on its charger, and now to pass out hard.

Wednesday, 4/29/15 - Day Five

6:33am - Back up and at em.

9:23am - I take off the watch to meditate in my Health Psychology class. I didn't want the distraction of any notifications coming in while wearing the watch, but taking it off for that purpose makes me think that a companion watch app could be useful in a meditation environment, as the watch tapping you to bring you out of meditation at a set time could be a more subtle or gentle way to return to a normal state than sounds or other ways of getting the user's attention. Food for thought.

11:56am - Due to staying up late enough to start accumulating steps for today, I've already amassed all of my exercise ring for today as well as a good three quarters of both my move and stand goals. I'm at around 6,000 steps today since I got up, and aiming for 30,000 before I head to sleep again tonight. We'll see how it goes. I want to keep my streak going for the FitBit challenge I'm in.

2:23pm - Out of school and back at the coffee shop now. I use the watch to make some iced teas for Anné and me before walking back to her house. I've been walking a lot more in general for the past few weeks, but it's really coming to a point this week, and I owe some of that to the Apple Watch's inherent role of a motivator for me.

5:03pm - I've been planning to get into running regularly later this spring and into the summer, and today kicks off both the first time I've gone for a "real run" in a long time, and the first run that I've gone on with the Apple Watch. I just tracked the run and my subsequent cooldown walk with the Workout app, and I really enjoyed the experience of running with the watch, even if I was doing so in jeans and a flannel with my phone bouncing around in my pocket. I liked getting to raise my wrist and see both my time elapsed and how far I'd ran or walked, and I can immediately say that the experience of having that little workout dashboard on your wrist could be reason alone to get the watch for the especially fitness oriented. I'm a bit tired now (and hungry) but I'm looking forward to my next run already.

10:58pm - I think the watch has started to phase itself into my daily life in a way that I don't notice quite as much in use. It's there, I use it to check notifications, fitness information, weather, and the odd app, and between most of those things it works brilliantly well. I originally organized my homescreen semi-based on what apps I thought I'd be using the most, but it might be time for my first reorganization since I've started to realize my usage patterns over the past couple days.

12:00am - 44,500 steps, over 20 miles walked and 1,000 plus change calories burned. My best fitness day ever, and I'm beat. Time for bed.

Thursday, 4/30/15 - Day Six

8:03am - I sleep in around an extra hour or so, it's a late start to my day, but I feel well rested and I'm ready to get through today's school day, work shift, and fitness goals throughout.

9:11am - I get to school in time for my Anatomy class's test on all the muscles across various major systems of our body. I wear the watch during the test, and even glance at it a couple times to check incoming notifications. Most of my teachers know I've been wearing a smartwatch for awhile (since I had a Pebble smartwatch before now) and trust me just fine wearing one even during tests, but if I wanted to it would be staggeringly easy to cheat on a test like this one using the Drafts watchapp or something similar. For now I'm just fine, (and I don't cheat) but I wager by next fall we'll be required to drop our watches into a bin before tests, just like we're required to in some classes with our phones now. I'll enjoy this simpler time while it's still here.

1:14pm - A girl in my Econ class asks if I got the watch and I begin to show it to her, then a couple more people join in asking about the heart rate monitor, calling, apps, and texting and eventually I end up giving a small two or three minute demo to my class. My teacher references how she saw an article about tattoos affecting the heart rate monitor, and so I end up explaining the basic idea of photoplethysmography and how the monitor works as well. This was by far the largest and most public demo I've given of the watch so far; almost comically so really.

I also see the first several "One week review" posts for the Apple Watch popping up, which makes me a little antsy to finish up this post. Soon, I'm telling myself, soon.

1:14am - The rest of my day was a blur. I helped open a new theater location today and the ribbon cutting/grand opening was long and tiring, but fun. I didn't get to work on much else other than well cough work, so a lot of my dedicated to-dos fell by the wayside. It was fun to work with others when they're so excited, and I got to see the new Avengers movie a couple of hours early, so it was a total win in my book, even if I didn't finish all my scheduled work for the blog or my personal self. Call it a splurge day.

Friday, 5/1/15 - Day Seven

7:36am - I think by the end of this week I've pretty much acclimated to having the watch live on my wrist every day. I'm starting to run out of things to type here in this piece, and I think that's a telling sign that the watch is starting to work how Apple intended in my life. I'm not obsessing over it, I'm not using it for everything it can do, every time I can do it. Instead, I use it for quick glances at notifications, quick replies, and quick ducks into apps. Even then mainly to get quick glances at information like steps taken, tomorrow's forecast, or how many minutes I have left on a timer. It's developed very quickly into a more advanced version of the companion device I had with my Pebble, and I'm both happy with it currently and looking forward to seeing it improve.

2:03pm - I've just arrived at the coffee shop for my shift today and spied the first person I've seen to have an Apple Watch other than me. It's a woman sitting in the coffee shop having some sort of meeting, and I see the shine of the metal casing on her wrist, but I can't tell if it's a flash of steel or of gold. Over the next few minutes I catch her voice over the din of the shop; "The best app for the watch right now is..." But I never catch what she says. I know it's a very little thing to have happened, but to me it's a big deal. Another little step towards when everyone can talk to their wrists and send each other heartbeats without it being a novelty or an impressive new technology.

6:17pm - I have a short little conversation with one of our regulars at the coffee shop about the watch. She seems skeptical at first, but I demo all the usual features that I've gotten used to showing off and by the end of the conversation she's admitted that "alright, you've convinced me not to make fun of that watch anymore."

10:33pm - I'm not feeling all that well, so I head in early for the night to try and sleep it off. I've had a good week with the watch, and it's proved at least part of it's worth to me through the information and communication that I now have access to on my wrist.

I still plan to write more about the watch in the future, whether in a "full-review" type of piece or not, but there's still time I'll need to get furthermore used to its presence in my life and to see how 3rd party apps and the watch's software itself improves in the coming months. It'll just be a little more time.

Cheers,

~M