I get an Apple Watch: A review

When the original concept of the “iWatch”, (now the “Apple Watch”) came out, I loudly pooh-poohed it as cosmetic fluff. Too expensive, battery time only one day, too small for any meaningful function and doesn’t do anything the iPhone in your pocket doesn’t do. But I did eventually find a use for it that I would detail for anyone with an interest.

Remember the irritating “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” TV ads a while back? That was a gadget oldsters wore around their neck that signaled the Federales to send help if they suddenly became incapacitated and couldn’t get to a phone. Cost $30 a month and probably well spent for those oldsters living alone.

So, it turns out that over the last year I had two medical urgencies requiring trips to the hospital and both times, my wife found out about them hours after the fact. She works in an operating room and her phone must be turned to silent. She can’t feel it in her lab coat pocket. Any call or text to that phone will be saved till she pulls out the phone and looks at it, which doesn’t happen often in her busy day.

The Apple Watch mirrors everything that goes on in the iPhone but quietly. It has a “thumping” function that thumps her wrist when a signal is sent. She then knows that there is a message she must look at urgently. Now, it turns out that the thumping (Haptics) is rather subtle and may be missed on an active wrist, but it does work in quiet rooms.

But more on that later.

So, we decided to get his/hers Apple Watches to make keeping in touch during potential urgencies more efficient. It does a lot of things that really are fluff, but what it does right, it does well. I’ll briefly outline the meat & potatoes of it for those with an interest, complete with illustrations.

Photo 1PHOTO 1 shows one of the custom screen faces that can be chosen as I have done. I also customized the outside temperature, date and time and daily AMION as can be easily seen. There are many custom faces.

You’ll notice a small red dot on the top of the screen. That means there is a text or some other kind of message waiting. Swiping “down” the screen face with your finger brings the text up to read. Text size and bold can be customized. You can reply with some presets or when you actually speak into the watch just like Dick Tracy, It translates your speech into text (very accurately) and sends it along.

You can also put two fingers on the screen and it will send ten seconds of a thumping heartbeat Photo 2(PHOTO 2) that will tap on your intended’s wrist, getting their attention that there’s a text waiting. Again, this is rather subtle but it does work most of the time.

Swiping “up” on the screen brings up a list of “glances” for things that can be checked on, including battery time remaining Photo 3.(PHOTO 3).

Pushing the flat switch on the right side brings up your list of “favorites” Photo 4(PHOTO 4). As you can see, my wife leads the list and I have put photos of all people I contact frequently in place. Touching on the photo face brings up three possibilities of contact seen on the bottom of the screen Photo 5(PHOTO 5). To the left is the “phone” icon for phone calling, the middle is the “finger” icon for sending a thump and to the right is the “text” icon for sending text messages (voice translation). These all work well.

When there is an incoming phone call, the watch actually “rings” like a real telephone and the screen shows the phone number of the caller and a button to accept or reject the call Photo 6(PHOTO 6). When the call is accepted, you can clearly hear the voice of the caller from the watch and you reply by talking into it. Completely self-contained, but there is a quick way to bounce it all straight to your iPhone.

These are the functions that work quite well for us. She can get instant messages in the operating room (at least at St. Margaret). A glance shows if there’s a red dot, whereupon a message can be accessed immediately. She doesn’t have to know where her iPhone is as long as it’s somewhere in the same room. In our house, I can send and receive anywhere in the house if the iPhone is sitting on the living room counter.

If I happen to trash a bike somewhere in town, I can call the Federales (HAAAAAALP!!!) from my wrist instead of having to fish around for a phone. On longer trips I have a satellite emergency notification device on the handlebar that works anywhere in the world. This same device BTW worked after a friend’s crash in the middle of the Nevada desert, bringing an ambulance quickly from the nearest big town.

The battery lasts about 12-14 hours depending on use and charges in two hours from an external impedance device that catches the back of the watch by a magnet and charges it without having to plug anything in Photo 7(PHOTO 7).

Again, the watch does a lot of things I have no interest in, but what it does for me, it does well.


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