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Apple Watch after 3 months: It's still personal

Macworld Staff | July 27, 2015
The Macworld staff weighs in on how the Apple Watch has—or hasn't—impacted our lives.

apple watch mickey mouse

The night before the Apple Watch launched, April 23, I found myself at a gas station, filling up my Subaru. I had left my iPhone in the car's cupholder, so while I stood there listening to the gas rush into the tank, I wasn't looking at Instagram or Twitter, or checking my notifications, or taking another stab at a tricky level in Two Dots. I just stood there.

I noticed how the evening sky faded from pink to purple. I took a deep breath. I wondered if this evening would wind up being notable, the Last Day Susie Didn't Have an Apple Watch--if after I had strapped on the smartwatch, moments like this would find me poking at whatever would make my wrist computer so engrossing? Would I annoy my family, alienate acquaintances, and stop noticing the mundane glory of a color-changing sky?

I needn't have worried.

After three months of wearing the Apple Watch, things are more or less the same as they were on April 23. I'm still strapping on my Apple Watch every day, and it's made a significant difference in a few areas of my life, but it hasn't turned out to be another screen fighting for my attention. It's still got unrealized potential, but I'm glad to wear it, and I'm sticking with it. So are the rest of my colleagues here at Macworld, but for different reasons--read on for our impressions of the Apple Watch on its three-month milestone.

Susie: Obsessed with closing the circles

The biggest impact for me has been fitness. At first I thought it was strange that the Apple Watch tracked your daily movements in calories, rather than in steps taken, like the activity trackers I'd tried from Fitbit, Fitbug, and Jawbone. I also thought it was odd that there was no social function, no teams or leaderboard where you could compare your activity to what your friends were doing.

But now, I'm glad Apple went its own way. The calorie counting is probably a better measure, and it really does, as Jim Dalrymple pointed out, reinforce the notion that it's a lot of work to burn calories, which makes you realize the importance of the calories you're consuming too. Seems obvious, but no other activity tracker has helped me make this connection, and like Jim, I started keeping a food diary in My Fitness Pal. And it's working.

Except when it doesn't. I've had trouble with a sluggish Activity ring (the red one, which tracks calories), which sometimes lags way behind the green Exercise ring in a way that makes me wonder if it's underestimating calories or just malfunctioning somehow. Someone on Twitter suggested the "fix" is to switch the watch from one arm to the other occasionally--and that seems to help, as does making sure I keep the bottom of the watch (where the heart rate sensors live) clean. But I wish Apple was more transparent about how the calories are counted, so I would have a better idea if my own counts are accurate. Worst case is that I'm really burning more calories than it says I am, which isn't a huge problem, since burning calories is what I'm trying to do.

 

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