On the 10th April I had my first experience using the Apple Watch, it’s something that I had read up on and watched the videos but the experience of actually using the device has changed some of my views on it. I thought I would write up my experience of using it and my views on the UI.
I have to admit when I saw the design online I wasn’t completely sold straight away in fact I wasn’t sure I even liked it. I have come from a background of wearing traditional round watches or fitness trackers like the NIKE Fuelband. The more I saw it the more it grew on me however, especially the space grey sports model. In person it’s much more elegant (and light) than I expected, the straps are well made and once I had actually worn one I was glad I preordered.
The digital crown is a lot looser than I was expecting, not in a bad way but I thought there would be more resistance than there actually was. Both on pressing the digital crown and on the other physical button reminds me of the volume buttons on an iPhone 6 in terms of resistance.
Lastly I just wanted to touch on the available straps. I tried both the standard sports one and leather loop on the space grey sports. I liked both and can definitely going to be picking up the leather loop, something I wasn’t planning on doing but now I’ve tried it I can see it being my day to day setup.
This took a while to get used to and found I was fighting muscle memory of using an iPhone (thinking one of the buttons mimicked the home button) but I found that I got used to it pretty quickly, some observations
- Forgetting to force touch, remembering to press harder on the screen gives me other options
- The digital crown presses bring you back a level not straight to home i.e. drilling up from where you currently are to the home screen in steps with each press
- The button underneath the digital crown takes you to your contacts screen
It takes a bit of time to adjust to the smaller touch points but having the circular design does make sense once you start using it. It’s easy to move around the home screen and select the app you want but you are going to have to be zoomed in a bit, remember the touch points are a lot smaller than your iPhone.
It is a bit strange to use the digital crown to zoom into the apps screens but I think that Apple may tweak it as I found it a little tricky. You can tap on the app to launch but zooming into an app using the digital crown works also and I am left wondering why they did this.
The apps themselves I tried where only the Apple ones e.g. Maps, Messages etc… but I found that the design didn’t blow me away but on that smaller screen they were perfectly functional. I did keep wanting to use my fingers to zoom in and out of maps but again this is adjustment time not a knock on the watch UI itself.
Clock faces offered a good selection and the range of complications I could select were great, everything from sunset to next appointments.
I did experience a few concerns when using the in store watches but i’m confident Apple are on top of this in future software updates.
- When zooming into the home screen via the digital crown I noticed some UI glitches, I seemed to get a horizontal line across the middle of the screen when zooming in too quickly
- Lag in apps; most noticeably in the maps app. I’m not sure if this is a processor issue or a laggy app but I found zooming in and around the map to be a bit slow to react to my actions and the maps couldn’t seem to load quick enough
- Touch points; some of them are really small, the main offender I found were to the ones for accessing contacts. I could easily select the person to communicate with but it took a few presses to select the way I wanted to contact them
- Where is the Reminders app?
Not yet tried
- Time to turn on the display when raising my wrist
- Notifications; In that I mean I haven’t been able to run the accompanying iPhone app to tweak the ones that I get through to the watch
- Using Reminders; I use Apple Reminders all the time and the lack of an app on the watches I tried is a concern i.e. I would like to be able to access my shopping list from my wrist when I’m at the supermarket
So it’s early days, we are all waiting for our watches and I’m hopeful that with WWDC only a couple of months away we are going to see a few OS updates whilst we all learn how to use them in our lives.