I’ll admit upfront that I’m a dedicated Apple person. I have an iPhone 6, a Macbook Air, two iPads (different sizes) and now I’ve got my hands on the Apple Watch. I’ll just as easily admit that I’m a fashion person.
But when the Apple Watch was announced I have to say I wasn’t actually that interested in it. For some reason it struck me as being something for the diehard techie; more about the global business obsession with “wearable tech” and not so much about “wearability” or, in fact, usefulness.
TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY?
What would I use it for? Everything I need is already on my iPhone, right? And its design didn’t immediately strike me as being “fashion”. The intro level version ‒ the Apple Watch Sport ‒ looked like a kid’s fun watch from the 80s (especially with the neon ‘rubber’ band) and the core product – the Apple Watch (very original name, right?) ‒ looked like an old Casio digital watch (also from the 80s). The top-of-the-line Apple Watch Edition while being made of 18 carat solid gold, still kind of looked like an 80s Casio (even if Anna Wintour does wear one).
However, by the time I actually got see, feel and wear the Apple Watch up-close-and-personal I have to say my mind had been changed, at least enough to want one, kind of.
Mind you, I still didn’t really know what I was going to use it for. And to be frank, I’m still not really sure what I’m using it for … But that could just be me.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE UP CLOSE
The Apple Watch comes in two sizes – 38mm and 42mm. I thought I’d want the larger one so that it would look more “fashion” similar to the boyfriend trend of oversized watches, but I actually ended up with the 38mm Apple Watch with the “space black” stainless steel case and the link bracelet, plus I got a Sport band too in this stuff called “fluroelastomer” (basically a kind of silicon that doesn’t degrade with heat or sweat and it doesn’t stain even if it’s white).
It really does look like a sci-fi version of a Casio digital watch from the 80s. You can choose your time display to get a cool minimalist digital look or go for something more traditional if you prefer (there’s also the Mickey Mouse face which Katy Perry loves apparently). Obviously this function is so if you’ve got an 18 carat gold Edition with a rose gold bracelet or Milanese loop then you can go for a more “traditional” time display to suit.
Although I got a quick run through on how to use the watch once it was synced to my iPhone, I’ve realised that I’m not really sure how to work it.
BASIC FUNCTIONS & FITNESS TRACKER
There’s the basic stuff like checking the time (obviously), the time in other countries, the weather, the weather in other countries, stocks and shares (if you care), flight schedules etc etc ‒ mostly the kinds of things a businessman would find useful.
And you can check your heartbeat (yeah, I know, like wow, right?) and it will also remind you to stand up if you’ve been sitting at your desk for too long (so far the most useful thing for me).
Oh … But if you are using the fitness tracking app and NOT MOVING ie if you’re using a stationary bike for example it DOESN’T REGISTER YOUR ACTIVITY! #totalfail
Even if you pump your arms around while on the bike it doesn’t register that you’re moving – the heart rate tracker shows your increased rate but the Activity monitor doesn’t move a millimeter … Apparently the app is based on your geo-tracking so that it measures the “physical distance” moved.
SOCIAL MEDIA & POPULAR APPS
You can also see your alerts from Facebook, Instagram and Whatsap etc … BUT … you can’t do anything about them, except see them. Which is actually very annoying. If you get a text message you can at least send back an acknowledgement via a few simple phrases or some fun emojis but on Whatsap (which I use more than anything else) you can’t do a damn thing except reach for your phone.
The other very annoying thing about the Apple Watch is Siri. Admittedly I already had hate for Siri (it’s the thing I least like about Apple) but if you want to get directions, or make notes, or add alerts you need to “speak” to Siri. Without Siri turned on the watch is practically useless as anything other than an actual timepiece.
However with Siri turned on, your PHONE is practically useless! Siri chews up battery charge like a maniac when your iPhone and Watch are paired (at least it did mine). It also appeared to make my iPhone 6 start burning up, often causing it to crash right in the middle of an important Instagram post (hey, it’s my job!).
So … From my half-baked proto-techie perspective the Apple Watch isn’t really a must-have. I can do everything I want on my iPhone leaving my wrist free for a “fashion” watch.
FASHION OR NOT?
Now … This is the question that could make or break not only the Apple Watch but also the whole “wearable tech” industry in general. If people buy the Apple Watch because “all the coolest people have them” then it doesn’t matter if it does all the things the iPhone does.
The very stylish Apple Watch Edition; yep, the expensive one
From a purely design perspective, the Apple Watch is rather beautiful in a slightly retro Space Age minimalist way. I’ve had a number of “fashion people” do the “O M G … I WANT IT!” squeal on seeing the watch on my wrist. Likewise the Instagram posts I’ve made of it garnered more likes than equally stylish pics of hard-to-get shoes.
The Apple Watches (all three styles) are made of the very best materials. From the special lightweight anodised aluminium cases of the Sport version to the “specialised cold-forging process” of the stainless steel cases that are up to 80 per cent harder than to usual kind; the 18 carat gold; the sapphire crystal lenses cut using a diamond-encrusted wire; the Ion-X glass (that is the same material used in the windows of space shuttles) and even the wide variety of bands including the leather which is from the 3 best tannerie in the world … everything is top quality. Which is very luxe; very fashion.
The Apple Watch Sport and the Apple Watch Stainless Steel Case with Stainless Steel Link Bracelet
The functionality of the closure designs, however, is very “functional” if not entirely elegant. There’s something just a little bit “engineering” about the Classic Buckle that’s featured on the leather straps and uses magnets in a loop to adjust the fit. Very practical, right? But just a bit “not fashion”. The same goes for the Link Bracelet closure too; classic but a bit clunky as you have to open it on two sides. However, the fact that you can personally swap out the links on this version without having to go to a watchmaker is a bit of being practical that I love.
The best resolved of all the straps, ironically, is the fluoroelastomer band of the Sport version. It is available in five different colours (including a couple of fluro versions and classic black and white) and its closure is an easy-to-use tab and tuck that fits neatly and flat to the wrist. It’s also the lightest, making it the most comfortable to wear.
SO … FASHION OR NOT? BUY OR NOT?
The more I wear the Apple Watch the more I like it as a fashion item. I’m still to come to grips with whether or not it’s really “wearable tech” or not. I’m hoping that as I use it more I’ll work out other things to do with it but as of now it’s more “fashion must-buy” then “tech gadget” … At least for me.
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