I’d like to share my experiences the Apple Watch Series 4 (44mm) I purchased in October 2018.
I had not owned an Apple Watch prior and after thoroughly researching the device I purchased it with the aspiration that it would allow me to become more productive by helping to stay on top of things. However, deep down I knew I didn’t NEED it but based on the lists of reasons I created to justify the purchase I did it anyway.
I’ve found that these 6-7 months the Apple Watch has not enhanced my life positively in any meaningful way and in some cases has detracted from it and if I’m honest, most days I couldn’t care less if I wore it or not.
I’ll go into more detail in a moment into my reasons but I just wanted to preface this by saying that I am not trying to put down people who want it/find it useful.
Unlike most other Apple products this product, the Apple Watch’s has a niche purpose. With the Apple Watch, I’ve had to find reasons to use it whereas buying a phone Mac/MacBook for example is a no-brainer.
I’m currently about 25-28% of the way through reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and while going through the first exercise of listing the digital tools I currently use and then categorise them into the groups of ‘banned’, ‘must-have’ and ‘limited usage’ I found the Apple Watch to fall into the group of limited usage, perhaps even banned.
Cal refers to something he calls the Maximalists, those are people to whom if they find ANY benefit to using some digital tool they justify its usage without must consideration to its downsides (2nd order consequences). Evidently, I was a maximalist when purchasing the watch…
I’m sure people have very good reasons to use it and its a technological marvel but the following overview of my experiences is for those who are thinking of buying a watch and still trying to justify the purchase.
What I like about using the watch
Due app - Fantastic for ensuring you do not miss certain appointments.
Volume, pause and play controls on the watch face when listening to audio on my Bluetooth headphones (not AirPods)
Checking if the email/message I’ve just received is important enough to warrant an immediate response (never is, but you never know…)
Time & Date
Quick access to timers
Add tasks to Things/Drafts using text-to-speech
All the above can be achieved using the iPhone in roughly the same amount of time except for the adding tasks to Things/Drafts. The watch removes the tiniest of friction, I suppose sometimes reduce the initiation of a task from 8 secs on the phone to 6-7 secs on the phone makes a difference to some but not worth it, in my opinion, when factoring the things I don’t care much for outlined below.
What I don’t care much for
Viewing Things 3 tasks on the modular watch face to determine my next action. In all honesty, I rarely use it, I much prefer managing/adding/executing tasks from the iPhone or MacBook (if I had an iPad I’d probable prefer that also).
The text-to-speech when replying to messages is cool, but I don’t find it useful in any scenario where my phone would be better suited. I thought it would make it easier to add tasks while driving seeing as its just on my wrist… however… it’s dangerous to use when driving! Reading the message, pressing the button to record the response, then proof reading before sending is something you should never do when driving. Just use CarPlay or Siri to add tasks/ideas. Another example, is that if you wanted to use it in the office because you’re not allowed to take out your phone then everyone would know your business. If you were to whisper into the watch then it might not pick up the words correctly and so you’ll have to go back and edit.
I don’t take calls on my watch - why? Lol. Again, everyone would know my business. It might be useful if you are alone and it’s quiet (watch picks up a lot of ambient noise) and the phone is not on hand but not much of a selling point. Could also be good if you’re jogging and you don’t take your phone with you but still why? My thought process is why pay £10+ per month for cellular when I could just strap the phone to my arm and save £120+ per year.
Typing responses on the watch is onerous.
Tracking my sleep worsened my sleep as I was getting anxious about making sure I had good sleep and improved my numbers.
The watch is something else I need to charge, monitor and make sure I wear (to get my monies worth) and further strengthens the existential dread that I’m becoming more and more of a cyborg with my ever increasing usage of digital tools to manage/control every aspect of my life.
Notifications break focus, but it’s one of its best reasons for having it. Disabling them reduces the watch’s usefulness. I feel sorry for anyone who has chosen not to disable most their notifications.
The watch faces are ok but are too cartoony. If Apple would let third parties create faces it would remedy this but I doubt they will otherwise it might hit their trillion dollar bottom line
So those are my main reasons for my apathy towards the Apple Watch. It was an interesting experiment which I’m glad I did but I’ve found it to be the antithesis of Digital Minimalism.
I don’t feel like I’ve become a better human for it whereas the same couldn’t be said for my iPhone/Macbook or my recent purchase of a 34" Alienware Ultrawide monitor (Ultrawide is insane)!
I am now going to see about selling it and give it the home it deserves lol! I am not the right customer for the watch and I just do not have the inclination to go out my way to make it useful. Again, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the watch. It’s incredible. I’m just not the market target.
Thanks for reading. It seems silly being so dramatic over a watch but it’s kinda cathartic writing out my thoughts.
i’m planning on starting a 30 day Digital Declutter so might log my progress in this forum for anyone interested in what my life will be life not spending 80% of my waking hours looking at some form of screen.