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I’ll be honest: I really didn’t want to like the Apple Watch.

When Apple announced their latest gadget Apple Watch Finally Arrives, HBO Now Exclusive to iDevices [Tech News Digest] Apple Watch Finally Arrives, HBO Now Exclusive to iDevices [Tech News Digest] Apple Watch arrives, HBO Now exclusive, Google releases Android 5.1, Facebook kills Friendfeed, Gigaom is no more, and Samsung builds a Dream Doghouse. Read More , I wasn’t entirely impressed and vowed not to spend my hard-earned money on yet another Apple product that I’d probably be bored with after a month or so.

Subsequently, I ignored the hype, disregarded the reviews, and didn’t pre-order one for myself. I was determined not to fall into the trap of Apple’s Reality Distortion Field or succumb to the novelty that every new Apple product brings to the table.

Obviously, I caved.

It’s Not Just the Apple Watch, It’s All Smartwatches

You must be wondering, “What’s with the hatred towards the Apple Watch?” The answer is pretty clear if you were to analyze the trend that most smartwatches have been following: the technology is simply a way of relaying notifications from your phone to your wrist, sprinkled with a few “smart” functions.

The Sony SmartWatch 3 Sony SmartWatch 3 Review and Competition Sony SmartWatch 3 Review and Competition Read More , LG G Watch R LG G Watch R Review and Giveaway: One of the Best Android Wear Smartwatches LG G Watch R Review and Giveaway: One of the Best Android Wear Smartwatches Read More , Moto 360 Motorola Moto 360 Android Wear Smartwatch Review and Giveaway Motorola Moto 360 Android Wear Smartwatch Review and Giveaway The $250 Motorola Moto 360 Android Wear smartwatch fuses beautiful and sleek design with functionality. Read More ; all fell short of our expectations. So why bother with the Apple Watch, especially when it’s so much more expensive?

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Not-so-smartwatches

A photo posted by Jackson Chung (@jxn) on

It’s probably apparent that my cold reception of the Apple Watch was pretty much a generalisation of my feelings towards all smartwatches: they’re a waste of money. In terms of style, no screen can beat the look of an automatic chronograph watch on your wrist.

As for function, why would you need another device to relay notifications from your phone, when you could just reach for your phone? What’s the value in owning another device that you have to charge on a daily basis?

No Strings Attached

As a technology enthusiast and writer, it would be reckless of me to publicly state my opinion of the Apple Watch without first testing it. And I don’t mean walking into an Apple store and using the Watch for a few minutes. In order to truly understand Apple’s intention for the Watch, I needed to incorporate it into my daily routine. I needed to experience it first-hand but I couldn’t bring myself to buy one.

The opportunity to properly test the Apple Watch came along when my colleague and iOS editor, Tim Brookes, received the two units we pre-ordered in April. Tim based his review on the 42mm Apple Watch Sports Apple Watch Review & Giveaway Apple Watch Review & Giveaway The new Apple thing is finally out, but everyone was talking about the Apple Watch long before it was officially announced. Starting at $349 - we take a look, and have TWO to give away! Read More , while I tried on the 38mm variant.

I was instantly hooked.

It’s the Perfect Activity Tracker

Unlike smartwatches before it, the Apple Watch isn’t a watch with several smart functions — it’s actually a smart device, which includes a clock. A multifunctional device that also happens to be able to tell the time — sounds novel, doesn’t it?

Right out of the box, I was entirely impressed by the integration of activity tracking. That’s something I’ve meddled with before Fitbit Flex vs. Jawbone UP: A Comparative Review Fitbit Flex vs. Jawbone UP: A Comparative Review In today's world, nothing escapes the fact that we are moving in a direction where quantifying and recording stuff obsessively is sort of the norm. We use Foursquare to check into places, we annoyingly take... Read More , and know a fair bit about. To be honest, you can just as easily track your activity with an iPhone (either by leaving it in your pocket all day, or by using an app like Runkeeper).

The trouble is being consistent. Sometimes you forget to log an activity you’re exceptionally proud of. More often than not, the entire process becomes a chore that you would much rather avoid doing altogether. That’s why the ideal activity tracker should be attached to your person, and in the case of the Apple Watch, your wrist.

You’ll never need to manually log your activities (running, jogging, cycling) unless you want to, and you no longer need to bring your phone with you when you exercise. The Apple Watch will track your activity independently and automatically sync with the Activity app on the iPhone to display your progress.

Like most Apple products, it works right out of the box, and continues to do so in the background, providing a seamless experience. It’s truly the most intuitive activity tracker I’ve used to date.

Notifications That Actually Work

Many people have criticized the Apple Watch for being a glorified notifications relayer. I was guilty of being one. Apple is known for marketing products you don’t need but want, and I wasn’t going to fall for that ruse. Why should I need a smartwatch to inform me of every message, calendar event, and reminder when I can just as easily view them on my iPhone?

Because it’s so much better.

Before the Apple Watch came along, I’d often miss notifications and important calls whenever my hands were tied: carrying bags of groceries, doing the dishes, gardening. Being able to view messages and answer phone calls on your wrist without needing to free up your hands, or reach for your iPhone in your purse or pocket is a liberating experience that you’ll only ever appreciate when it happens to you.

Answering phone calls on your wrist feels like something James Bond would do How James Bond Made Me Buy an Apple Watch How James Bond Made Me Buy an Apple Watch Bond has always had a thing for watches. Indeed, some of the best gadgets Bond has ever used have been timepieces. Which means he would buy an Apple Watch. As will I. Read More .

Options While Driving

Road regulations in Australia have become much tighter, especially when it involves the use of mobile phones while operating a vehicle. It is now against the law for drivers to touch a mobile phone; even to check the time, change songs, view messages or answer calls, unless the mobile phone is secured in a cradle.

Personally, I keep my phone in my pocket at all times while I’m in my car, and the Apple Watch has opened up a slew of new options to safely use my phone while driving. Answering calls, checking incoming messages, replying to them, controlling music, can all be done through Siri and voice commands. Admittedly, some tasks do require taking one hand off the steering wheel, but it’s legal as far as I’m concerned.

Information Front and Center

If you lead a busy life with jam-packed schedules, organizing yourself can be a challenge. I’ve found that one thing the Apple Watch does really well is present your next to-do item.

The default Modular clock face is highly customizable. On my Watch, I placed my calendar appointments up front and center so whenever I check the time, I get a subliminal reminder of what I need to do next. It works gloriously.

It’s Not All Good

Admitting any inherent flaws is the only way to make the Apple Watch work for you, and not the other way around.

One of the issues with owning an Apple Watch is obligation to wear it all the time. Unlike automatic watches which can remain in the winder until you need them, leaving the Apple Watch attached to its charger for days on end isn’t an option. There’s really no point in owning an Apple Watch and not wearing it on a daily basis.

So the question is, what do you do with the rest of your watches? Thankfully, I have yet to cross that bridge. I consider the Apple Watch a tool: it’s a convenience when I’m wearing it, otherwise, it’s not a big deal — I’ll reach for my phone. So whenever it’s time to clock out from work, I remove the Watch from my wrist and slip on a more traditional timepiece.

I’m Sold

Despite my initial efforts to repel Apple Watch, I’ve grown to like it. I won’t go as far as saying I need it, but it’s a useful tool to have attached to my wrist. It surpassed most of my expectations and eventually won me over.

Now I’ve just got to wait for mine to arrive. I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen next year when Apple announces an upgrade.

Do you own an Apple Watch? Does it meet your expectations?

  1. Norbert
    May 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Your last line is what is keeping me from jumping on the bandwagon right now. $350 or more is too much to spend on what will basically become a throw away device when next year's version comes out.

    • Jackson
      May 25, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Unfortunately, the sad reality for most first-generation Apple products is that they're never quite as good as Apple can make them. Take the first-gen iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini, for instance -- they all have inherent flaws that prevent them from being the best devices of their time. But being an early adopter is all about overlooking those flaws and focusing on the experience of owning one.

  2. Chinmay S
    May 22, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Hey Jackson, nice to see you back after a long long time.

    I will also be buying Apple Watch when it launches in India. The first thing I look in any device is its design and when I first saw Apple Watch, I immediately decided I will buy it.

    • Jackson
      May 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks, Chinmay. Admittedly, it's been a while since I published anything!

  3. David
    May 22, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Going to try the Pebble Time. Has good functionality, and great battery life and costs less! Not as sparkly as the Apple Watch, but I think it will be useful and that's the best part in my book.

    • Jackson
      May 22, 2015 at 4:44 am

      Let us know how it goes when you receive it!

  4. Paolo
    May 22, 2015 at 3:00 am

    * Whoops! I meant to ask if your daily driver has always been an iPhone. Is there something that won you over, which subsequently led to more Apple products?

    • Jackson
      May 22, 2015 at 4:43 am

      Oh yes, I use an iPhone, and I don't deny that Android Wear is quite capable as well.

  5. Paolo
    May 22, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Just curious if your daily phone of choice is an iPhone? I would assume so because most, if not all, of these functions can be done on the Android smartwatches. What made this device stand out amongst the rest - was it its looks? How did you feel when wearing what is an admittedly attractive smartwatch?

  6. dragonmouth
    May 21, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    How many unknown parties are also tracking your activities/location?!

    • Jackson
      May 22, 2015 at 4:37 am

      That's going to happen with or without the Apple Watch.

    • Kannon Y
      May 22, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      DM, something I realized about wearables: They were originally designed to improve human cognition and awareness. The original high-tech, modern wearables were designed to give Navy divers infrared vision in complete darkness using (as bizarre as this sounds) electrical current applied to the mouth. It was supposed to be like having superpowers.

      The modern consumer wearable turned out to be a way for corporations to log their users' location, activity, and behavior. Instead of giving us enhanced awareness of our bodies, it gives corporations enhanced awareness of consumers.

      But that said, the Apple Watch melds today's best technology into a single package. This is basically like Android Wear combined with the Basis Peak. It's the best of a bad situation.

    • Kannon Y
      May 22, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Great article. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks Jackson!

  7. jinspin
    May 21, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Got email Watch coming tomorrow. Suppose to be mid June so excited. If you wait for next best thing - you will be waiting FOREVER because there will always be better version coming. Whats more important is if apps helps make your life easier or more productive or save you time. IMHO that is worth much more $350, $700 and thats why people love Apple. Its all about the apps

    • Jackson
      May 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      That's quite true. Congrats on your Apple Watch! Let us know how it goes for you.

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