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Deep-dive review: The Apple Watch after a month of use

Michael deAgonia | June 9, 2015
Every once in a while, there comes a bit of tech that lets you do what you're already doing, but in simpler and more effective ways. After using the Apple Watch for a month, I've decided that the watch is that kind of product. If you're already in the Apple ecosystem, chances are that you'll want one.

My advice for new users is to focus on familiarizing yourself with the Watch and then add third party apps and Glances, tweaking the parameters later. Over time, you'll figure out exactly which apps you want install, which apps should have a Glance and how to arrange the home screen to quickly get to the apps you use most frequently.

I find that the Watch works best for me when it's acting as a filter for important data; for that reason, it helps make me less stressed throughout the day. If your phone is constantly ringing with texts, emails, alerts and other distractions, you'll want to use the Watch to weed out and alert you to only the important data. More signal, less noise.

I've already written about my first couple of days with the Watch, but this is the type of product that grows on you with use. A month in, I'm using my iPhone for different reasons now. While extended text conversations still happen on the phone, 90% of my overall text conversations take place on the Watch, mostly because text transcription through Siri works really, really well.

The Watch is a great controller in the age of the Internet of Things. I use it to control my Avea lights and my thermostat, and I've used the Watch to frame and take pictures from the iPhone's camera about a dozen times.

I use the Remote app to control my Apple TV — it's nice not to have to fumble for a misplaced remote, as the remote is already being worn on your wrist. I also use the Watch's Music app to control an iPhone plugged into my entertainment system, swiping through my music and selecting tracks with ease. I'm really looking forward to trying out HomeKit support, which will allow me to control my entire home (my locks, lights, garage door, pool, etc. are already wired with Insteon devices) from my wrist. (We're likely to hear more about HomeKit today at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).)

I use the Workout app all of the time and Activity for monitoring my daily fitness goals. When I first started using it, I found that the Watch wasn't calculating the distance I walked properly; however, that was remedied by a calibration process (set the Workout app to Outdoor Walk and Outdoor Run, and walk/run for 20 minutes while carrying the iPhone).

Apple Watch tracks steps taken and while it has built-in Workout and Activity apps, I'm also using third-party apps to guide me through exercises, like the one aptly called Six Pack, which walks you through ab routines. The app even uses the iPhone as a speaker to announce workouts, rest periods and the rep count, while the Watch itself displays animated examples of the exercise you're about to perform, as well as keeping track of reps.

 

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