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Apple Watch - A personal experience

Its been just over a year since Apple launched the Apple Watch, being an early adopter I eagerly awaited April 10th. I spent most of the morning constantly refreshing both Apple’s website and their iOS Store application waiting for them too come back online and order Apple’s first truly new product in recent years. Now I've had time to form a proper impression of the Watch and what it can do, I wanted to share with you my experience.

I had pretty much decided which model I wanted. A 42mm Stainless Steel with Classic Leather Buckle, but it was not a decision I made lightly. Weighing up the choice, based on the aesthetics of the interaction between materials and industrial design but also crucially, factoring in the price! A watch reflects a person's personality and taste, much as a piece of jewellery does and, given the nature of a watch (particularly one with built-in activity tracking), it's likely to be worn in a number of different circumstances, smart, casual and sporting. It needed to be right.

It has been a year since I opened the exquisite Apple packaging. Just as with every Apple product I have ever bought, there are always those stand out moments, moments where you fall in love at first sight. I've not had that experience with a consumer electronics product from anyone else. If you don't know what I mean, take a look at YouTube and the many hundreds and thousands of people who document the unboxing of their latest Apple products. Apple takes as much care with what your new product arrives in, as it does with what is inside the box. Taking it from simply packaging, to part of a wider part of a more premium experience.

I think the best example of the magic of this new Apple breakthrough product was when I visited London.  A friend and I had travelled down to go to a gig and as I don’t get to London often, getting around the place can sometimes be difficult and intimidating! Previoulsy, I have just used a map of the underground on my phone, but this has lead to some confusing moments and stress being stuck heading the wrong way on the tube! This time, I had CityMapper and my Apple Watch, I couldn't wait to get to the concrete jungle.

For those of you that are don't know, CityMapper is basically like an interactive travel guide for several of the major cities, around the world. You give the app a starting point and a destination, and CityMapper provides you with a variety of route options, from walking and cycling, to public transport, and even Uber.

Once you've selected the route and tapped "Go" on your iPhone, the app on the Apple Watch comes to life. Put away your phone and you can rely solely on the step-by-step directions given by your Watch. Maps can be opened in Apple Maps and provide taps to help give you directions for which way to turn when you are walking. Train information displays include information on your platform, and for line changes and stops along the way. The beauty of it is, how simply this potentially complex- and confusing information is presented. So simple in fact, it becomes glance-able.

I had the best part of the app on my wrist and it made me feel so much more at ease navigating the Underground and streets of the "Big Smoke". The app is great on the iPhone but now I didn't have to keep getting my phone out of my pocket (or try to manoeuvre an iPhone 6 Plus when jammed against 5 other people in an packed Underground train, which I can attest, isn't always easy)!

After a couple of journeys I couldn’t see any other way of travelling around a strange, or new city. It made so much sense using the Apple Watch this way. Quick and easy access to exactly the information that I needed. This was the promise that had been made when Apple announced the product and it had delivered. I couldn't help but smile every time my friend nervously asked if this was the right stop, or when is the next train. With a quick glance at my wrist, I knew exactly where we were going.

More recently, I've found myself looking around, seeing how many others have taken the plunge and the gambled on a first-gen Apple product. I'm pleasantly surprised to see more and more people with an Apple Watch. With Apple Pay making contactless payments easy and convenient, motivational activity tracking as well as innovative, useful apps like CityMapper, I'm sure more people will come to realise the joy and simplicity I've become used to.

By Stephen, at KRCS Merry Hill.

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