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Entries in Apple Watch (4)

Wednesday
May272015

Traveling with the Apple Watch: A Journey in Four Apps

I'm writing this (or at least the beginning of it) on Tuesday, May 26, from the Sleep Inn outside of the Atlanta Airport, where Kathy and I are spending the night because our connecting flight between New Orleans and Louisville was cancelled due to inclement weather. 

We made a quick trip to New Orleans over Memorial Day Weekend to claim a two-night stay at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter, which was part of the Grand Prize for my winning the Louisiana Peach Festival Cookery Contest last summer. It was a nice quick getaway until our flight home was cancelled at the halfway point. But this unanticipated waypoint along the way gives me a chance to write about an aspect of this trip that was different from others made in the past: the addition of the Apple Watch.

Here is our visit to the Crescent City as seen through the use of four Apple Watch apps.

Fly Delta
I had not flown Delta any time in recent memory, and in fact, I didn't even have the Fly Delta app on my iPhone. Knowing that the Apple Watch can be used as a boarding pass, I definitely wanted to try this out, but didn't actually begin setting it up until Sunday morning when we were waiting at the airport. 

I installed the Fly Delta app to my iPhone a couple of days earlier, and the corresponding Apple Watch app was immediately added to my watch. The app on my phone sent me a notification reminder the day before and even suggested I go ahead and check in. I opted not to do this because Kathy and I didn't have seats together, and I wanted to see someone at the ticket counter to make certain we were sitting next to each other on all legs of our journey. 

After getting our seats squared away, I opened the Fly Delta app on my Apple Watch to see if I could see my boarding pass QR code. No such luck--it wasn't there. In fact, the Fly Delta app on the watch is pretty limited. It will show you your flight number, gate and offer a countdown until boarding time; but that's about it. Then, I remembered from using similar apps in the past from other airlines, that the boarding pass is both accessible in the iPhone app and can be added to the Apple Passbook. So, I added it to my Passbook from the Fly Delta app on my iPhone, and voila! It was now on my Apple Watch. In fact, a Fly Delta notification appeared on my Apple Watch, allowing a shortcut to the Passbook for quick access.
My Delta boarding pass.Most use of the Apple Watch is only for a few seconds. And if you lower your arm, or move it into a position not optimal for personal viewing, whatever is on the screen usually disappears. However, once I opened the QR code for my boarding pass from the Passbook, my watch stayed on, even if I changed the position of my arm. I didn't time it to know how long it stays on, and discovered it will eventually go off, but it stayed on long enough that I could set it when there were still a half dozen or so passengers ahead of me, and it stayed on long enough for me to stick my arm under Delta's scanner when it was my turn. 

From what I could tell, Delta's scanners had no more trouble reading my watch than they would a boarding pass on the phone. Is there any really advantage? Maybe. At the very least, my phone could stay in my pocket, but I still had to have my hand free regardless. 

As is the norm right now (I can't imagine it will be for very long), the Apple Watch does create attention. The Delta employee at the Louisville gate told me that my Apple Watch was her "first." And a security agent, after seeing my unsuccessful try to scan my watch in Chattanooga (more about this in a second) when reboarding our diverted plane, told me he was going to have to confiscate my Apple Watch. He was just kidding but was very interested in hearing details from me as to my experience using it. 

About that re-board in Chattanooga: I guess paper boarding passes will remain a good backup. On our way home, our flight got rerouted to Chattanooga where we waited about two hours for the Atlanta Airport to re-open after closing due to thunderstorms on Tuesday afternoon. While we were in Chattanooga, we were allowed to disembark from the plan with the admonition from the flight crew to stay close. 

When it came time to re-board the plane so we could again attempt to make it to Atlanta, I got in line and attempted to stick my wrist under the scanner again. I quickly got fussed at by the Delta employee at the gate: "No, we're not doing it that way right now!" she scolded in a manner that gave me a flashback to getting in trouble for not following the rules in elementary school. For the reboard, they wanted to see either a Photo ID or our original paper boarding pass. I had my paper boarding pass somewhere, but I had no idea which pocket it was in. Since Kathy had already gone through with her paper boarding pass, they let me in just on the basis of my name (not the greatest level of security, mind you).
           
I should also point out that I used the paper boarding pass at TSA checkpoints. I figured it was best not to do anything out of the ordinary.

Maps
Kathy and I have been to New Orleans multiple times over the years--both individually and together--but I'm not there enough to remember how to get around very easily. This sometimes surprises people because I spent the first half of my life in Louisiana, but that was at the northern end of the state; and people outside Louisiana assume that the state and its most famous city are one and the same.

Although I'm not certain of the immediate benefit of it, I've kept the Map app in the Glances section of the Apple Watch. The shot to the left shows where we were staying at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in relation to our surroundings. 

But the real benefit was using turn-by-turn directions on my wrist instead of having my face in my phone as we walked. I found it amazing how many people were walking around the French Quarter with their noses stuck into their phones, oblivious to their surroundings. You see this kind of practice everywhere these days, but it's dangerous on many counts, and I would suggest even more dangerous in the French Quarter. 
On most days, Kathy and I would select our location ahead of time--restaurants such as Tujagues, The Original Pierre Maspero's, Mother's Restaurant, to name a few we visited--and I would run the search for it on my iPhone. For what it's worth, this can be done straight from the Apple Watch with voice commands. However, I preferred to see the entire route first on the larger screen of my iPhone 6 Plus.
   
Once the route was started, I let the Apple Watch takeover. This allowed us to simply walk down the streets and enjoy the sites on our way. When I approached a corner where I needed to turn, the Apple Watch alerted me with the sound of a turn signal from what sounded like an older model car, and a series of taps on my wrist. By lifting my wrist, I could see directions telling me which way to turn.
    
My only complaint in this procedure has to do with my own impatience. After I made a turn, I wanted to know immediately which turn would be next. I don't know if the Apple Watch doesn't update that fast by design or if it's just a bit slow in this process, but it usually took getting about a quarter up the block before I could see the next direction on my wrist.
   
Once we arrived at our destination, the Apple Watch alerted me that we had arrived--I suppose in case we couldn't see that for ourselves.
   
Again, the great advantage to this is the primary benefit of the Apple Watch itself: I can be free from the drudgery of having my face in my phone all the time. Not only is this safer (no YouTube videos of me falling into a fountain, thank you), but it also allows me to enjoy the world around me while I walk.
   
I would not have thought of Dark Sky as a travel app, but it came in very handy on our trip. If you're not familiar with Dark Sky, it is a wonderful weather app that has the uncanny ability to tell you when it's about to start raining within a very accurate specified number of minutes. And in my experience, it's nearly always right.
   
The timing for our trip to New Orleans was either perfect or no-so-perfect according to how one looks at it. New Orleans can be miserably hot and muggy at certain times of the year, but during our stay this week, we experienced regular rain showers. Fortunately, these weren't the all-day rains I remember as a child growing up in Louisiana; instead, it would rain for short periods of time, followed by mostly cloudy skies. So, although we had to work around rain, it was not a constant hindrance; and we kept fairly cool most of our time there. 
   
This is the only screenshot on this page not from my Apple Watch. I borrowed this one from the Dark Sky iTunes page.Dark Sky came in quite handy because of this. Again, I had not thought about depending on Dark Sky while we were in New Orleans, but with the constant on again/off again rain, we were regularly kept up to date about whether we needed to be under cover or if it was safe to walk out in the open. Dark Sky would tell us that rain was beginning in x number of minutes, so we knew how much time we had to get to our next destination. Or for Sunday morning's swim in the Bourbon Orleans' saltwater pool, we knew we had about 50 minutes before rain would temporarily spoil our fun. 
   
Dark Sky also really helped us out on Monday afternoon when we visited St. Louis Cemetery #3 (more about that in a moment). Dark Sky told us exactly how much time we had to look for Aunt Gertrude's grave (yes, I had a real Aunt Gertrude, though I never met her). Thanks to Dark Sky, we knew we had about an hour to search for Gertrude's final resting spot before the rain hit. And Dark Sky gave me a gentle reminder on my watch when the rain was getting close. That allowed me to contact Uber, and our ride appeared right before the rain came down in buckets.
   
Uber
As anyone who has tried it out knows, Uber is an excellent service for those travel spots where you don't have a vehicle of your own, and it is usually less expensive than a taxi cab ride. Due to regulations in New Orleans, a taxi cab was cheaper from the airport to our hotel, but once we were checked in, Uber became our go-to service for a couple of trips we needed to make that were a bit beyond walking distance.
   
The Uber app on my Apple Watch allowed me to request a ride directly from my wrist, but I preferred to make the initial request from my iPhone. This allowed me to get an estimate for the fare ahead of time (the two rides we made were both around $11 each). Once I had made my request through the Uber app, though, I could let the Apple Watch take over. 
   
With the Apple Watch I could monitor the amount of time left before the driver reached us. This has the same advantage as using the watch for turn-by-turn directions: it keeps my face out of a phone and keeps me aware of my surroundings. The app on my watch would give me a snippet of a map displaying my location as well as an approximated time for our driver's arrival. 
   
My great grandfather, William Porter Mansfield, had a brother, Thomas Mansfield. This great grand uncle of mine fell in love with the New Orleans culture and moved his family there in the 1930s. I know that he died in 1940 (from complications of diabetes--I have his death certificate), but I don't know for certain where he was buried. His wife, Ursula Gertrude Woodward Mansfield, died in 1962; and according to her obituary, she was buried in St. Louis Cemetery #3.
    
I wanted to find her grave, and ultimately I hoped to discover that old Uncle Thomas was buried with her.
I figured that once we were in New Orleans, I would check in with the office that held the cemetery records, and they could tell me where in St. Louis Cemetery Aunt Gertrude was buried. Unfortunately, I forgot that Monday was Memorial Day--our only real day to look--and the office was closed for the holiday. Kathy and I decided to go out to St. Louis Cemetery #3 anyway, even though it was the metaphorical needle in a haystack. 
    
St. Louis Cemetery #3 is quite large. We looked around for 45 minutes to an hour and never even saw one Mansfield on a tombstone. There were, of course, lots of French names. Okay, technically, there weren’t the traditional tombstones either. New Orleans cemeteries are above ground because of the high water table. We don’t want Aunt Gertrude to float away after all. 
   
A family (not mine!) entombment at St. Louis Cemetery #3
While at the cemetery, I don’t believe I pulled my phone out of my pocket even once because of my Apple Watch. At one point, Kathy and I went in two different directions to try to cover more ground at the same time. She and I would text back and forth every now and then, but I strictly used my Apple Watch for text, dictating my messages to her through the watch. 
   
After a while, Dark Sky warned us of impending rain, so I called our Uber ride to pick us up. The first time I tried to find an Uber car in the area, none were to be found, but I waited a couple of minutes, tried again, and one was available.
    
A few incidentals and final thoughts. 
On Tuesday morning, after going through security at the New Orleans Airport, my Apple Watch alerted me to the fact that it had only 10% battery left. It had not been down that low since my 72 hours of use. Evidently, I did not have the charger, which only connects via a magnet, properly in place the previous night. As soon as we got to our gate, I found an empty outlet and plugged it in. In about an hour’s time, it charged to 60% which was more than good for the rest of the day. But this was a good reminder that it might be best not to depend on the watch as the sole solution for one’s boarding pass. I did have a paper copy inside my vest. 
   
While en route to Atlanta, storms closed the airport, and our flight was temporarily rerouted to Chattanooga. By the time we finally got back to Atlanta, our flight had been cancelled, and we had to spend the night in a nearby hotel. For dinner, the Yelp app came in quite handy. We did not use this app in New Orleans because we essentially knew what restaurants we wanted to visit while there. However, I’ve discovered that the simple interface for Yelp on the Apple Watch is fantastic. Tapping on Restaurants brings up a list of available dining establishments in proximity order from those within a certain number of feet (really) to miles. Tapping on the restaurant will bring up more details including a map, which will give you turn-by-turn directions. 
   
When we were waiting in line to board our rescheduled flight Wednesday morning, the Delta agent began going over directions for scanning boarding passes. Paper boarding passes were obviously assumed for most travelers, but the agent also mentioned boarding passes on phones and gave instructions to hold the phone a couple of inches above the scanner as opposed to laying them down on it. No mention was made of proper procedure for the Apple Watch. I try to be nonchalant when using my Apple Watch in situations like this, but I admit my inner geek is performing cartwheels inside. As I turned over my wrist and passed my watch over the scanner, the Delta Agent said in a quieted tone, “Now that’s what I’m talking about."
   
I readily admit that using the watch for some of the situations described above is pretty geeky, and I simply like such things. However, it should not be missed that the Apple Watch gets my face out of my phone’s screen. Look around you in a a crowded setting. It’s nose to glass everywhere you look. This is not only dangerous; it’s also a bit…well, antisocial is stronger than I mean as it communicates intent. At the very least, so much public phone gazing is less than social. The Apple Watch, which is designed for quick glances, helps me be safe and more plugged into what’s going on around me. That’s not too bad. 
   
   
   
Questions, thoughts, comments, rebuttals? Leave them in the comments section below!

 

Monday
May182015

The Mystery of the Apple Watch's Improved Battery Life

I know that it can be chalked up to playing with the Apple Watch a bit more in the first few days I had it, but the improvement in battery life I've experienced over the last four days is downright bizarre. 

Anytime I've had a new mobile device, the battery drains pretty quickly the first day or two I have it because I'm spending time setting it up and just exploring it in general. After the initial newness wears off, I settle into more general usage and battery life becomes more reasonable. 

Of course, I'm not particular happy with battery life in general for any device. I realize you can't simply throw money at physics and instantly come up with super batteries--that such things take time for evolution and development--but I wish that Apple would make battery life a primary focus of their R&D. As I said the other day, if their devices could go days or even a week at a time without having to be recharged, the consumer world would beat a path to their door--not that they're actually hurting for business as things are. 

Anyway, on the first day I had my Apple Watch (Tuesday, last week), it was delivered around 11 AM, and it came charged at 75%. I had it in use by 11:30 AM, and by 8 PM, it was down to about 10%. Again, I chalked this up to first day above-average use. 

On the second day I had it, I put it on around 8 AM with a 100% charge, but by around 8 PM again, it was down to less than 10%. This didn't bother me for the same reason as the previous day. But then on Thursday of last week, my third day of use, the battery was down to 42% by 2 PM, and had I not put it back on its charger, I have no doubt it would have been dead by late afternoon. 

By that point, I was very frustrated. Having the watch only last for 12 hours or less was really not acceptable. In fact, I planned to write a post this week titled something like, "The Most Disappointing Aspect of the Apple Watch" and talk about its dismal battery life. I even bought an extra charging cable last Friday for use in my car. I didn't want to have to do it, but I thought that maybe I could at least charge it while I'm driving. In fact, while I was driving home Friday night, I was able to raise the charge by 20% in 30 minutes. However, I did that merely as a test because I noticed that by 4 PM on Friday, it was surprisingly only down to 57%. 

If I had written my complaint post, I was prepared to write what I had already told others, "The Apple Watch battery will certainly last for a traditional work day, but it won't last for my day." I want to be able to put the watch on in the morning and take it off at night without having to worry about charging it. I actually want that for all my devices. I don't want to have to plug them in during the day, but I have to anyway. Yet the Apple Watch is more personal. It's really of no use if it's not being worn. 

Saturday and Sunday, I was able to do exactly what I wanted to do--leave it on all day, and it maintained a healthy charge until I went to bed. The screenshot at the top of this post was taken at 1:30 AM today. Although I put on my Apple Watch this morning a bit later than normal, I really have no idea why I'm suddenly getting such good battery life. 

Again, it's easy to say that I was just using it more the first two or three days. But I've continued to use it all day long, every day since. I take calls on it if there's no one around whom I might annoy with a two-way conversation coming over my phone. I regulary reply to texts by voice dictation, check the time and weather; and of course, I've been monitoring battery life. Over the weekend on both Saturday and Sunday I was around people who wanted to see demonstrations of the watch. It got pretty heavy use over the weekend, and the Apple Watch lasted until I went to bed--late nights both--with battery to spare. 

So, right now, yes, in spite of my first three days experience, I'm getting at least the promised 18-hour day, if not more. I don't have brightness turned down, and I essentially have the same features turned on that I had at the end of my first day with the Apple Watch. I have no idea why my battery life has improved so much, but I'd be interested to hear if others have had the same experience. If you have, please let me know in the comments.

Sunday
May172015

My Preferred Apple Watch Face (At Least for Now)

Granted, it may not be as cool as expanding flowers and flapping butterfly wings, and it's certainly not as fun as Mickey tapping his foot to keep track of passing seconds, but I've found that for me, the watch face called "Modular" is the best suited for my uses. 

You can see the image to the left. Let me take you through its functions. Obviously, on the top row, you have date and time. Below that is the next event on my calendar. Tapping on either the date in the top left or on the calendar event will take me to the Calendar app on the watch where I can get more details about an individual event or my entire day.

On the bottom row at the far left is the current temperature. This automatically updates to my location. So no more asking of Siri, "What's the temperature outside?" on my iPhone." Funny, she's never been able to tell me what the temperature is inside. Tapping on the icon brings up the Weather app.

In the middle of the bottom row is an icon for the Fitness Tracker (move, exercise, and stand). Tapping on the icon launches the app on the watch where I can get more details. I'm actually paying attention to this, and hopefully that will result in better health. Don't judge me on so little progress so far for the day--it's early!

And then finally, on the far right is a work-related time zone of which it's helpful for me to keep track. Tapping on that icon brings up the World Clock app. 

I like the Modular face because it is extremely functional. Yes, it's not as cool or fun as other faces, but that's okay. And there are also some very nice faces that emulate moving hour, minute and second hands, but let's be honest--why do we really need hour and minute hands on a digital watch? I suppose some people will like them for the same reason they put old fashioned phone rings on their iPhones--it harkens back to those older interfaces--but to me emulating a traditional watch face is the ultimate in skeuomorphism. Hour and minute hands on a watch that has actual gears turning inside makes sense, but I don't really need it for a smartwatch. Even if it only takes milliseconds, the brain has to process the meaning of the minute and seconds hands, and this is not as efficient as simply looking at the time represented in numbers for hours and minutes. 

Nevertheless, there are choices here, so we don't all have to agree--and that's a good thing. What about you? If you have an Apple Watch, what's your favorite face to use as your primary display? Do you use other ones at other times of the day? Let me know in the comments. 

Wednesday
May132015

Apple Watch: One Day In

My Apple Watch arrived yesterday (42mm space gray Sport). There are plenty of reviews out there, repeating much of the same information. I'm not going to offer another one of those, but I will offer you a bulleted list of thoughts and reflections after wearing it (except when sleeping and showering--although, evidently, the latter is okay) for almost a full day.

If you do want to read a "good" review of the Apple Watch, I recommend Walt Mossberg's post at Re/code, "A Month With the Apple Watch: Does It Pass the Test of Time?" because he's actually been using it every day for an entire month, which is something very few reviewers can claim. And I also recommend all the Apple Watch coverage at iMore. There you will find not only reviews, but also "how to" articles written by people who are enthusiastically using the Apple Watch in a variety of contexts.

One friend asked if I was going to do an unboxing video. I was not interested in doing that because there are undoubtedly thousands of those out there, and I didn't know what I could possibly add. I did take a few photos while unboxing the Apple Watch, mainly for myself and interested family members, but if you are interested, too, you can find those photos here.

Here are my thoughts and reflections, one day in:

  • My order was in within 10 minutes after midnight PST on April 10, but it did not make the April 24 ship date. Evidently, the 42mm space gray Sport was the most popular Apple Watch ordered--the "nerd gear of choice," as some have suggested. Mine was promised to be delivered between May 13 and 27; it actually arrived on May 12.

  • UPS tracking stated that the Apple Watch would arrive between 2:30 and 6:30 PM. It arrived at 11 AM. Since it required a signature, I did not have to sit at the house all day, but what if I had been aiming to come back at 2:30?

  • Evidently, I had not watched any unboxing videos because I didn't realize what kind of packaging the Apple Watch would arrive in. I don't know about the stainless steel or gold Apple Watches, but the aluminum Sport comes in a 3 lb. box that is 15" long (see my photos). I had already noticed on UPS tracking how heavy the package was--2.2 lbs stated there. And this was for a watch? Gold is heavier than the aluminum; did they send the wrong one? Did they send me multiple watches by mistake? The box is as long as it is because the watch is laid out flat rather than wrapped in a circle like watches I've purchased in the past. Granted, the package also carried the charger, but it's actually the packaging itself that is so heavy. I kept the box, and as I put it on top of a bookshelf last night, I noticed how heavy it was even without the watch and charger inside. The Apple Watch packaging may not win any of the earth-friendly praise that Apple has received lately.

  • Minor issue, but there was no Apple sticker in the watch packaging. I would have thought there would have at least been a quarter (as in 25¢)-sized Apple logo, but no.

  • The Apple Watch came with a 75% charge on the battery. I started using it soon after 11 AM, and by 8 PM, the battery was down to 10%, so I put it on the charger. I'll chalk this up to heavier than normal use having it the first day. At least that's what I hope. [side note: I wish Apple would invest a few of their extra billions of dollars into battery technology. If they could make devices that would stay charged for days or even weeks at a time, the world would beat a path to their door.]

  • In normal wear, the Apple Watch screen is black for the purpose of saving battery. It kinda reminds me of the original digital watches from the 70s that stayed dark, requiring the wearer to press a button to see the time. The face of the Apple Watch is activated by wrist action, but it seems very similar--at least for telling the time (this is a watch, right?) to where we were four decades ago. Again, if Apple will do something about battery life, maybe the screen could remain lit up all the time.

  • Speaking of battery, while there's been lot of talk about having to charge the Apple Watch daily, I discovered that the battery on my iPhone ran down faster than usual, no doubt because of a continuous Bluetooth connection between the phone and the watch all day. I keep a vehicle charger in my truck and another on my desk, but users should be prepared for not just worrying about the watch's battery life.

  • When I initially set up the Apple Watch, I was asked if I wanted to install all the apps on my iPhone that also had Apple Watch components. I said yes which resulted in way too many apps for what I need. Later, I pulled most of these off. I can see the possible use of Skype, but I do I really need a OneDrive app on my Apple Watch? Do I need the Fandango app? It's cool that these are possible, but just not so necessary for my purposes. Once I removed most of the Apple Watch apps (you can't remove the native Apple apps, of course), it was much easier to navigate the app icons.

  • On a related note, I have also turned off most notifications, with a few exceptions, from the Apple Watch. In 2013, I had a Pebble Watch for about four weeks. I was intrigued by the technology, but the constant vibration as the watch mirrored every notification on my iPhone drove me crazy. Honestly, in regard to both apps and notifications, I think it's probably a good idea to start with everything--the entire firehose--and then determine what you really need and remove the rest.

  • Initially as I pared down what I actually wanted to have on the watch, I left text messages and email in place. By last night, I had removed email notifications. For me, email notifications don't serve much purpose. You can't actually reply to them. The email app itself remains, so you can check email manually if you want.

  • Evidently, I sit too much because the Apple Watch tells me to stand every now and then--I'm guessing about once an hour, but I haven't timed it. Our pastor is on a sabbatical, but I told the fellow who is filling in next Sunday that if he sees me standing up in the middle of his sermon, he's gone too long.

  • As others have said, it's the fitness aspects of the Apple Watch that may be one of its greatest benefits. There's no doubt that I'm not active enough, but the watch sets realistic individualized goals for each day in regard to movement and exercise. There's a desire to try to meet these goals--at least for me. And supposedly, if I start meeting my goals on a regular basis, the Apple Watch will raise the bar of expectation. Nice.

  • Let me say a word about wristwatches in general: I've lost almost every wristwatch I've owned (I need an Apple Pocket Watch that will stay tethered to me). Here's what happens: I get uncomfortable with this foreign thing on my wrist, so I take it off--usually without even consciously knowing what I'm doing. I've left watches in restaurants, classrooms, churches, parks, and all kinds of places. Therefore, other than pocket watches--again these would be tethered to me, I've tried to buy inexpensive watches the last few years knowing there was a possibility they would disappear. What makes matters worse is that although I usually wear watches fairly loosely on my wrist, the Apple Watch requires a more snug presence so that the sensors fully work. I really try not to think about it! Therefore, Kathy has forbidden me on threat worse than death to take off my Apple Watch. I admit, even now as I type this, I have a great desire to take it off and set it beside me. However, I'm trying to tough it out. It only takes something three weeks to become a habit, right? In the meantime, I'm afraid the palm rest of my MacBook Pro is going to get scuffed because I don't keep my hands raised like Mrs. Smith taught me in my high school typing class.

  • In Mossberg's report that I linked to at the top of this post, he complained that the speaker is not good enough for phone calls on the watch. No offence to Mr. Mossberg, but his older ears probably aren't as good as they used to be. I have taken two calls so far on the Apple Watch, and I thought the experience was not only good enough, but also darn convenient. I don't have to stop what I'm doing and hold onto my phone. The speaker is not the same quality as the phone, but I could hear fine. And when I talked to Kathy over the Apple Watch last night, she didn't even know I was doing anything differently until I told her that I was talking to her over the watch. Then she expressed disappointment that she was not the first person I talked to over the watch (the first call I engaged in over the Apple Watch was with Time Warner Cable when they called me; I figured that if the quality wasn't good, they deserved what they got).

  • I have a hunch that the interface of the watch will be completely different in two years. It's not that it's bad now (but there is room for improvement), but widespread use will bring refinement and change.

  • With all the "fashion" talk surrounding the Apple Watch, I don't look at my space gray aluminum Apple Watch Sport and think of it with any connection to fashion. Maybe if you had the gold Edition, but I don't know. It still seems a bit thick, though not as thick as I first feared. Again, two years will make a big difference, and I would predict (as many others have before me) that later versions of the Apple Watch will be much thinner. They may be more like fashion accessories then. If you're holding out for the time being, I'd say wait for the thinner version that is surely to come. And then spring for at least the stainless steel version with the assumption that it will be supported for years to come.

  • Which brings up another thing--there's has been lots of talk about the difference between a gold Apple Watch Edition, costing $10,000 or more and a traditionally expensive timepiece such as something from Rolex or Tag Hauer. These traditional time pieces are designed to last long term and can be passed down from generation to generation. Obviously, a device with an operating system at its center is probably not going to be passed down across generations. I would predict this, however: although the operating system on the watch will continue to be improved, I believe Apple will continue to support each iteration of the Apple Watch long term. There will be a way for the watch to still function years from now. Really, I believe they have to plan for that if they want to be successful as a watch maker.

  • While I don't think of the Apple Watch as a fashion accessory, it definitely looks nicer than the Pebble Watch I briefly used a couple of years ago and the Android Wear watches that I have not used. This is probably the best of class in its field, but there's still a lot of room to grow by all smartwatch designers.

  • The black "fluoroelastomer" (a fancy kind of rubber, evidently) band is of a nicer quality than what I anticipated. However, I still want to find a cheap, 3rd party knockoff of the red band that Apple sells only with the 18-karat Edition. 3rd party bands will be the new thing and will no doubt explode onto the Apple Watch accessory scene, which will also unfortunately bring things like the hideous Apple Watch cases I've already seen. In regard to inexpensive 3rd party bands, consider my wife, Kathy. She loves watches and accessorizes the color of watches with what she's wearing. She has not jumped onto the idea of an Apple Watch yet because she would not want to be tied down to one accessory. However, if she could easily change out bands (and Apple has made the ability to switch them quite simple to do), then she might be interested.

  • There's been discussion that there's no "killer app" yet for the Apple Watch. This is true, but Mossberg dismisses this as a non-issue. Nevertheless, now that millions of people are using the device, I believe we will discover some extremely beneficial use case that hasn't even been realized yet. The health aspects alone may be the killer app. The idea of the quantified self is interesting to me (although it also seems narcissistic at some level) as long as I don't have to go to great effort to record my own data. So, for instance, I have no desire to figure out how many calories I'm burning through in a day, but if a device will keep up with that for me, great.

  • Once I got the hang of it, texting over the watch is pretty easy, and Siri's ability to dictate my voice is much improved. But in the first attempt, I accidentally sent an audio version of my message, complete with my instructions for punctuation. Embarrassing.

  • One more very important issue: distracted driving. I thought that having the Apple Watch on my wrist, up on the steering wheel at eye level, would be a convenient way to respond to a text that would not be a distraction. Not true. If anything, trying to look at anything more than time on my watch is an even greater distraction than interacting with a phone because of the smaller focus space and less-familiar interface. As always, keep your eyes on the road and take care of texts, emails, and whatever else after you have parked.

So there's my initial rundown. Maybe I'll come back and update my thoughts after the first month or so. What has your experience been like? Be certain to add your questions, thoughts, comments, or rebuttals in the Comments Section.