Living with the Apple Watch Series 2

In all honesty, it took me a good 2 to 3 months of convincing, researching and testing before I finally decided to purchase a brand spanking new Apple Watch Series 2.

I kept hearing about the unbearable notification spam, the slow app loading speeds and the bulkiness of the watch itself. It was all rather off-putting. But I decided, in the end, to treat myself to some new gadgetry and buy the top-end Apple Watch Series 2.

Much to my delight, it’s been a life-changing experience. Not without a couple flaws, but nothing near to what I had been led to believe during my research period. I thought it best to write about my experience with it, to hopefully quell all this anti-Apple hatred surrounding it.

Fitness

Firstly, the fitness aspect. This is probably the main reason why most people who can afford an Apple Watch, would buy one for. Its tracking capabilities are through the roof, and the way in which it encourages you to move and do exercise is game-changing.

Rather than having a shitty notification telling you “Oh you haven’t worked out today”, instead you have positively reinforcing reminders telling you “You’re only this far away from your goal today!”. They’re subtle, and non-intrusive and give you just the right amount of motivation to get moving. This is something I particularly appreciate, as a work-from-home entrepreneur who spends most of his time sat at the desk answering emails.

The activity rings are, for want of a better word, addicting. The desire and drive I have to fill those out every single day

Not only that, the refreshing, albeit terrifying, experience of swimming with a watch is actually liberating. The fact that it can even measure my dominant stroke during a period of swimming is actually astonishing. The ejection of the water post-swim is also extremely satisfying.

From this point of view, you couldn’t ask for more. A+ recommendation for the Apple Watch Series 2 for fitness freaks.

Business

As a businessman, notifications are the bane of my life usually. An email here, a Slack message there, I spend my life combatting these constant reminders of “Ooh, you need to attend to this”. Whilst usually my phone is constantly vibrating and causing me great levels of annoyance (no, I can’t keep it on Do Not Disturb and Silent because I receive calls quite frequently), my Apple Watch now acts as a notification centre. It allows me to view, decide and quickly dismiss anything coming through to my phone.

If it holds any importance, then great, I can attend to it right away. If not, a quick swipe and it’s dismissed. All of this happening within a matter of 1 or 2 seconds, meaning that I’m not deterred from the work I’m doing at the moment and my train of thoughts isn’t broken.

All my primary emails are handled through Spark, a wonderful mail client for both Mac and iOS. Although the Apple Watch app is good, I never really use it. I primarily rely on the notifications coming through and acting on them in that way (as mentioned above). Any technical emails are usually handled by GrooveHQ, which doesn’t have an app, so all in all in the email department I’m in a state of bliss when it comes to the Apple Watch.

From the point of view of Google Calendar and getting to meetings, again I couldn’t ask for more. The notifications come in at the right time, and are non-intrusive but obvious so that I don’t miss them. Directions in London are easy to take thanks to CityMapper, my train times for the commute are readily available on Trainline and I can request an Uber at the touch of a button without much thought, making me probably one of the most mobile individuals in the city, with nothing but my watch.

Personal

Much of the above applies to my personal usage of the Apple Watch. Even whilst constantly being hounded by group chats on Facebook Messenger or receiving likes on Instagram, the watch never intrudes on what I’m doing and calmly lets me know if anything comes through.

Not only from a messaging standpoint, I also get my BBC breaking news on there so I can stay up to date (came in very handy during the recent terrorist attack in London), notifications for payments made with my Monzo card, I can change the music playing on my phone easily and quickly and best of all (sad, I know) I can quickly set timers whilst cooking. Siri is responsive and effective, the Watch locks whenever I take it off my wrist and Apple Pay, although a little awkward to position, works wonderfully.

Breathe, an often debated app on the Apple Watch is surprisingly effective. Whilst we continue to breathe throughout the day (Hint: otherwise you’d be dead), actually taking a couple minutes to consciously regulate and amend our breathing to a set pattern can really help your mind to quieten, focus and remediate any existing troubles or problems in your mind.

Finally, at the end of the day or during a meeting, I can quickly silence it and disable notifications so that I’m not bothered or disturbed. Quickly, and easily, it makes for a truly seamless experience.

Conclusion

All in all, I adore my Apple Watch Series 2. It makes my life so much more manageable, productive, healthy, active and relaxing, despite most critics saying it actually worsens things. I think these people perhaps didn’t use it right, or aren’t in a situation where they actually need a smart watch.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a gadget for everyone in every situation (unlike the iPhone or MacBook), but it’s stunningly sleek, subtle and abundantly useful for someone in my situation. I’d even go as far as saying that it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made, if it weren’t for the gorgeous 27 inch 4K iMac I’m currently writing this piece on.

As Apple gets booed and trashed for its inability to properly innovate like it used to with its more flagship products, I think we should cut them some slack for the more niche and more often under-appreciated products they have on offer like the Apple Watch Series 2.

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© Oliver McQuitty 2018