Living with the Apple Watch Series 2 pt. 2

Back in March, I wrote a piece on how I had been enjoying living with the Apple Watch Series 2.

In light of Apple’s new cellular Apple Watch release, it’s now time for a reprise, and a look back at the past 6 or so months to see how I’ve been getting on with that same Apple Watch which I praised at the start of the year.

I’ll be going through the exact same categories as before: fitness, business and personal life. I’ll also touch on the aforementioned new release from Apple and whether or not I’ll be considering an upgrade.

A quick preface: I still stand by what I said in this article’s predecessor about how I don’t think the stick the Apple Watch gets is deserved. However, I’m less lenient to back it in its entirety now.

Fitness

Fitness is probably now the only part of using the Apple Watch which I still value and enjoy. With the latest watchOS update too, the fitness goals are even more addictive and ultimately reachable as before.

I tend to use a combination of the in-built fitness app to record walks, swims and runs, and the Under Armour ‘Record’ app for any gym-related activity. Both sync over nicely to MyFitnessPal and hey presto, I have a fully functioning fitness environment on my wrist.

It would be nice if Apple had taken gym-goers into consideration with their own fitness application though, considering the total UK market for gyms hit £4.5 billion not long ago.

The fun and games kind of stop there though, ultimately the watch serves as nothing more than an accurate metrics tracker (which has its benefits in other circles of life with the watchOS update). I don’t ever find myself using it to engage in a Headspace session, or to follow along a fitness routine to get ‘rock hard abs’ from one of the billions of six pack applications out there.

I’m also beginning to struggle to see the purpose behind the ‘Stand Up’ ring and how it can be achieved on a daily basis. The problem being that on most days I’ll only pick up my Apple Watch and put it on my wrist when I’m going to go and do a workout or go and do some cardio.

Even then, as time has gone by, I’ve found myself using my Apple Watch less and less to record my workouts as my interest in having a data-driven fitness lifestyle diminishes. After a while, if like me you do similar exercises every week, you begin to learn the amount of calories you have burned or the distance you have travelled or the route you have taken.

Effectively, the novelty of having all this data at your hands all of a sudden wears off.

Now solution-wise, if Apple were to implement another level of gamification to it (above and beyond the beloved coloured rings) then maybe this would change.

We’ve seen apps that boast “Walk and get paid!” or “Every run gets you a coupon” — what’s stopping the world’s largest company from imagining a similar scheme to get people out and getting fit?

Business

My business has grown pretty substantially since I bought my Apple Watch, and with that growth has come an increased influx of emails every day and a greater demand for me to travel.

Now, whilst I used to just mute my Apple Watch entirely whilst working (to avoid Messenger notifications for the most part), again I found myself actually using the watch for business purposes less and less. It become more of an irritating notification hub, and less of an actual tool to help me with my business goals.

When it came to meetings, travel and emails, I just preferred to use my phone. The maps are actually legible and provide context, the meeting information can be viewed at an immediate glance and I can actually read, search and respond to emails on my phone.

Phone calls also would come through whilst I was out and about, and the general brouhaha and noise of being on a London street just made the whole point of having an Apple Watch fairly pointless, especially with headphones plugged into my phone.

The new cellular version of Apple Watch, granted, has some advantages to this, as it essentially becomes a phone replacement for when you go and do activities.

Having an international business, I’m accustomed to receiving emails and notifications at any hour of the day, but it does become irritating when doing things like working out, or going for a walk, or even just going out with friends. Yes, I know that I can just put it to Do Not Disturb, but I’m not looking to completely hide my notifications away until 9am the next day, as that’s simply not how my business works.

Personal Life

Similarly to my business life, I find the constant barrage of notifications to be quite irritating.

It would be fine if my friends messaged the entire contents of our discussion in a single message, but we are not weird aliens from another planet, when having a discussion we may send multiple messages back to back. This means that my watch sometimes notifies me up to 4 times in a matter of seconds.

I find little to no use in the Apple Watch for my personal life. I don’t read Twitter on it, I don’t browse Instagram on it and I certainly don’t respond to messages on it.

Having just bought the iPhone X (don’t shout at me please), I don’t see the purpose of going through that unbelievable financial shock to then not use the gorgeous screen that Apple has gently bestowed upon my lap.

If I want to go on Instagram, I’m going to use my phone. If I want browse Twitter, I’m going to use my phone.

I mean seriously Apple, how on earth am I meant to appreciate images and memes on a screen the size of a quarter of a post-it note?!

The Verdict

It’s fairly obvious to me that the last bastion of the Apple Watch is definitely held within its fitness tracking capabilities, and I think that even Apple are aware of this.

Around 75% of Apple’s landing page for the Apple Watch is solely dedicated to health & fitness, with tag-lines like “Ultimate Sports Watch” and “Intelligent Activity Tracker” and “Powerful Health Tool”.

Even when finally getting round to the non-fitness related uses of the Apple Watch, they coyly employ the sentence “Run your day”.

THEY CAN’T EVEN STOP THEMSELVES FROM REFERENCING FITNESS IN THE NON-FITNESS SECTION OF THEIR LANDING PAGE!

Even then, Apple’s stellar marketing team are great at pushing the Apple Watch as a potentially lifesaving heart-rate tracker (and fairly so) and an opportunity for high-end athletes to hone in on weak parts of their routines.

But for the average Joe, it serves as nothing more than a nerd’s companion to fitness: shoving data, statistics and poorly written motivational notifications down your throat in a vague attempt to get you using the device which you forked out several hundred pounds for.

I don’t know what the future holds for my Apple Watch, a device which I used to treasure and addictively put on my wrist every morning from the moment I got out of bed. The luxury of having an Apple Watch, and the novelty of wearing it has simply worn off. It has become more of an encumbrance than an essential asset.

I seriously believe that Apple need to make some major changes to both the hardware, and more importantly the software, if they are to stand any chance of selling the Apple Watch far into the future.

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© Oliver McQuitty 2018