Just two weeks after I started using an Apple Watch I wrote a review of it in which I said it was a pretty good watch, but other than that, I didn't have much good to say about it. Looking back, I think it was probably a mistake to write the review so soon, before I really got to know it. Now that Apple has updated its operating system, it seems that perhaps it's time to look at this again.
I didn’t go out to buy an Apple Watch; I was testing it with hearables, hearing aids that are connected through an iPhone to the Internet and now through the Apple Watch, sent to me from the American hearing aid company Starkey. At the time, I thought the watch was kind of pointless, since I was so used to taking my phone out of my pocket to adjust the hearing aids, which I didn’t do that often anyway. But over time it became really convenient to just touch the watch to increase the sensitivity or change a mode on Starkey Halos. I started adjusting the hearables a lot more often because it was so easy — and so easy to change anything else, as I shall explain shortly. I bought it from them so that I could give it more time.
There are many things I complained about when I previously wrote about the watch; that it thought I was a couch potato because I couldn’t take it rowing. Then I found that it is actually pretty waterproof and once I owned it, I had a lovely summer checking my heart rate while I was pumping out on the water. I soon became obsessed with its fitness features — so much easier than pulling out the phone to use my Runkeeper app. In fact, I have stopped using my Runkeeper app because I got all the information I needed from the basic Apple watch app: distance, calories, heartbeat.
Then there are the notifications. I used to be checking my phone constantly to look for Twitter updates or other things I am obsessed with; now they are a tap on the wrist. I can look or not, but I know they're there. There are little things, like adjusting my Hue lights over the dining room table without looking for my phone; it's much more casual.
But perhaps the biggest thing is the way that they interconnect with my hearables, those so-called hearing aids that I use to connect to the aural Internet. When I arrived at my hotel in Copenhagen recently on a press gig, I had very little time to get to a meeting. I grabbed a hotel bike, punched on the address from an email, which opened it in Apple Maps and was on my way, with instructions “turn slightly right in 20 meters” and the like playing in my head. But if you don't have that connection, you can just look at the watch and see all the instructions right there on your wrist.
I don’t need to wear headphones when I want to listen to anything with the hearables on, and I'm always connected. With the watch connected to the phone connected to my hearables connected to my brain, I'm listening to music, podcasts and audio books a lot more because I'm not always digging my phone out of my too-tight Gap jeans; I just talk to Siri or press my watch.
You can dismiss this as a fancy remote control on your wrist; I did. Then you can use it for three months, particularly when it's connected to something as personal as your hearables, and you find it has become part of your life. We are creatures of habit, and it takes time to lose the old ones and learn new ones. I did not give the watch enough time when I wrote my first review, and I was wrong to do it so soon.
As for Watch IOS2? It just came out today. I'm not going to make the same mistake again. I'l be back to you in a month or so.