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Thread: The Apple watch Journey

  1. #1
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
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    The Apple watch Journey

    And so it begins. This morning my Apple Pay showed my credit card had been charged by the Apple store for two items. Seeing the amounts I knew it was the Grey sport Apple Watch I ordered back in mid April and the Apple care policy to protect it for the coming use. We are an Apple household over the past few years with four generations of phones(we did have Androids for a few years after the first generation iphone was not supported, these are still in service as ipods), and then switching to an MacBook Air over three years ago for me and an iMac for my wife. We have an original Apple TV (the one you can heat coffee on) and two of the newer ones that allow us to display things from our various apple devices including an iPad I won at a conference. When we saw the original Tim Cook presentation last October and were very excited. That has cooled quite a bit for my wife, but I still had interest in the watch and continued to read things when they showed up in the stores. After some back and forth in my head debate I opted to order one 6 days after the order start period on the Apple site.

    I selected the Grey sport watch with black sport strap for a specific purpose in mind. For nearly a year now I have been using a fitbit flex quite religiously to track health things, but mostly to keep tabs of my running. Since putting it in service in late July 2015 I have combined run and walked over 3000 miles. This monitoring has also allowed me to reduce my weight significantly. The FitBit (FB) Flex is fairly waterproof, lightweight and has about a 5 day battery life. The shortcomings of the FB Flex is that it does not have certain running related things like heartrate and cadence and requires a phone or computer to see the data. For GPS recording during runs the apps I have all rely on my phone. Since I switched to the iPhone 6 plus last year I tried several cases on the arm, but they seemed to only survive about 30-60 days before having to have warranty replacements sent. The size and weight of the phone rips the stitched velcro out of the neoprene case due to the jolts from running. I settled on a Spibelt case that stretches around the phone and other items I'm carrying and secures around my waist. I generally spin it around until so it rests on the middle of my back. I use Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth headphones for listening to my running stats and occasionally music. The issue with this is you have no easy access to phone functions and no visible display. I look at other devices that had more features like heart rate and they came very close in price to the Apple watch. My intended use of the Apple watch is an remote interface to my phone primarily for exercise periods. Based on what I see this seems to be the best used for the device as it exists today.

    The other thing I see the Apple watch doing well is being a travel watch. Using the phone and signals it adjusts to the local time by itself. Given the high price of the Seiko and Citizen GPS watches (granted they are solar and don't need daily charging)it is an interesting alternative if you use an iPhone. I ordered the 42mm version, but in seeing them in real after the fact I think the 38mm would be fine for my use. I intend to document here my impressions on the device as a journal. At some periods I will write some summaries. Most here know my watch back ground and what is and has been in my collection over the years so I'll also look at it from the watch perspective.

    Now I wait for it to arrive which I'm assuming will be in the next few days. Watch for my arrival post then.
    Last edited by Samanator; Jun 1, 2015 at 03:01 PM.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

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  3. #2
    I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on it. Based on your description, it seems ideally suited for your intended use, and it will be interesting to hear how it lives up to your expectations on that front. My wife has been a Fitbit user for a couple years and while a great device, it is limited in its functionality.

    A few things I'd be curious to hear about as you break it in are its durability over time and whether it changes your activity based on the data it collects. Also, it will be interesting to hear whether it proves it's worth such that you wear it more than you thought you would or in other situations than originally intended.

  4. #3
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
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    The Apple watch Journey



    So last evening my Apple watch arrived as expected. First note is the box from apple feels like they are shipping a gold bar in weight and size. It's crazy heavy given what is inside. Getting to the things are set up in layers. After lifting the lid the first layer is the watch with the long strap attached (more on this later). The next layer is a sleeve that contains a picture base instruction set for the strap (I have the sport strap) and the short strap. Below this is the AC plug with the USB port on the back and the USB inductive charging cable.




    After removing the protective wrap I test fitted the watch on my wrist. The strap does not fasten and tuck in as someone who has worn a watch for nearly 48 years would expect so I pulled out the instructions. After glancing at the instructions for a few seconds I realized that all my watch experience with deployant clasps were hindering me. Basically wrap the top strap with the snap pin placed against the bottom of the wrist and then bring the side with the holes over top and select a hole the provides a snug fit and press down until it is seated on the snap pin. Next tuck the remaining length of the strap into the slot until fully tucked in. It would from appearance look to be uncomfortable, but it feels just fine. After a test I determined that the long strap was too long since the watch was loose using the closest hole so I needed to change to the short strap. Apple provides two lengths of the side with the holes of this strap. The Long appears to accommodate on the 42mm watch about a 7.5" wrist and up (probably over 9"). The short strap starts at a Maximum length of 7.5" and goes down to a 6". To change push the button on the back of the watch for the corresponding side that you want to remove and slide it off. Next take the strap you wish to install and match it up to the groove in the case and slide. It is pretty easy to tell top from bottom on the strap. The bottom (against the wrist) has indented channel down the length and close to the watch it has a printed icon for either the slot or the hole side depending on which you are fitting. You would need to have to try hard not to be able to swap a side in less than 10 seconds. So it's pretty quick and dare I say possibly the best bracelet or strap swapping system ever? Apple recommends snug fit (but not uncomfortable fit) to the wrist so the optical heart rate sensor can read the heart rate by reading the actual blood pulses in the veins.




    Next pressing the crown starts the initial boot up of the watch which takes a few seconds. You need to have your iPhone handy now to set up the pairing. First open the Apple Watch App on your phone and press the Pair Now button on the screen. On the watch this is done by pressing the Pair Now button on the watch screen. This brings up a geometric fractal image on the watch and opens up a watch screen sized frame in the middle of the phone screen. It uses the phone's camera so you must center the face of the watch into the frame on the phone and once it links it the two are paired in about a second. From there it walks through a series of set-up, security and feature options from the phone and then asks to install the apps. Any app you have on the phone that has a Apple Watch App can be selected to be installed on the watch (as an example Nike Runner).


    Once all the apps install(about 3-5 minutes) you are ready to use the watch. Apple has a series of 4 minute instructional videos that you can play on your phone to show you how to use various things and what to do first after you complete the initial setup.


    My next segment will cover my first day with the watch and the initial learning curve.

    Last edited by Samanator; Jun 5, 2015 at 03:38 AM.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

  5. #4
    If you're in the Apple World, it's pretty much a no-brain choice for what you're doing. Replacing multiple tools (FitBit, watch, etc) is a bonus...

    But it doesn't track swimming laps and strokes. I'll stick with my Garmin Swim for that.

    Looking forward to your next update...

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    Member rfortson's Avatar
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    Smart watches are great gadgets, and I love gadgets. However, I love mechanical watches more, and I'm only wearing one thing on my wrist, so it's not a smart watch.

    I've been sorely tempted by the Moto360, but I think any of these smart watches need to be full time devices to make any sense. I can't see giving up my Speedy Pro, or my Pie Pan Constellation, or even my Monster for this.

    Great tech, and I'm sure they'll sell a ton of them. But I guess this is one gadget I'll miss.

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  9. #6
    I don't usually go for new stuff right away either - I like to give it the test of time, as they say.

    But it is intriguing - still, I'm not an Apple guy so the interconnecting thing wouldn't work for me. Do you know if they make a Commodore model?

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    Higher Entity Jeannie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    If you're in the Apple World, it's pretty much a no-brain choice for what you're doing. Replacing multiple tools (FitBit, watch, etc) is a bonus...

    But it doesn't track swimming laps and strokes. I'll stick with my Garmin Swim for that.

    Looking forward to your next update...
    JOHN!!!!!!

    I have missed you soooooo much.

    Jeannie
    The adventures of Bob the Traveling Watch


    . . . . . . . . . .

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  13. #8
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
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    The Apple watch Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeannie View Post
    JOHN!!!!!!

    I have missed you soooooo much.

    Jeannie
    Second this! Well maybe one or two less jumps.
    Last edited by Samanator; Jun 5, 2015 at 03:42 AM.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

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  15. #9
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
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    So my first day with the Apple Watch started around 5:35am getting ready for my first run with it. I generally use two apps at the same time on my phone (Irunner and Fitbit) when I run to track distance, pace, time, mile breaks... including GPS maps documenting the routes. I use two incase one stops for some reason. When I was starting out running and on occasion to mix things up I use the C25K and 10K apps as a third one at the same time. Currently none of these has a interface to the Apple Watch(AW). So on this run I was trying two new Apple Watch/Phone along with the FitBit app on my phone (which the current version seems to crash on even numbered days). I started the Fitbit on my phone first. Then I started the workout app on the AW and selected my goal as 3.5miles. Next I tried to start the Nike App on the watch which apparently requires some setup on both the AW and the iPhone before you use it. Maybe it was just upset I don't wear Nike Shoes. It took 5 minutes to set up before I could get under way. I selected the Apple Workout app to be what was displayed on the watch and was getting audio stats every 5 minutes from the Nike app via my Bluetooth Headphones(When I'm running on the streets I do not use music so I can better hear the vehicles). One thing nice on the Nike app is it pauses when you have to stop and and auto resumes when movement resumes.

    Apple introduced Glances with the Apple Watch. What glances are are sub screens to a main screen that allow you to see additional information that would be unreadable on the small main screen if all crammed in. In some cases the glances can be a portion of the screen that can be changed to show other information. These are accessed depending on the app by either swiping left or right for apps that have dots for the various pages or top to bottom to page up or down a screen at a time if that is. As I passed the 1 mile mark according to the Nike App (for some reason the the workout App was showing less distance even though it was started before the Nike)I tried swiping across the glances to find the heart rate monitor. After going back and forth several times through the Glances I could not find this screen. I was certain I saw it in the demo video along with distance, rate(pace) and time plus a home and a Pause/End screen. Heart Rate was indeed missing. When I completed my run whose distance exceeded the 3.5 mile goal I started to walk and look through the setting menus to see if I could find out why this was missing. I even played the workout app video on my phone and sure enough heart rate was there as the final glance when swiping to the right. A Google search showed me how to find the Heart Rate Glance by swiping up from the clock screen and then swiping left or right until you find the Glance. It will start here when you go into glaces the next time from the clock screen (remembers last glance). This still did not yield the missing heart rate glance in the workout app and no setting jumped out at me to be preventing it. Nothing else I found on Google helped me either since they just showed how to get to it in the workout app.

    It was time to now go to a higher power (Not Jeannie). This being Apple support. From the other Apple products we have I've always found this to be some of the best phone support there is. You start from the Apple sites support area and then select Apple Watch, then select a general issue from the pulldown and then add any comments you may have. Since my Apple account did not have the Watch associated to it I was asked to enter a serial number which it provided me instructions how to get it (Get to the apps screen by pressing the crown, then select general with your finger then About. The Crown then allows you to scroll down to the serial number field. Next you enter a phone number for them to call and about 5 seconds (based on past experience) you phone will ring with someone there to help you. After walking through and checking that all the latest software versions where on both devices we then went into the workout app options on the phone Apple Watch app and discovered I set it to Power Saving mode. Turn this off and in a second heart rate is now a glance in the workout app. I'll admit now I would have never figured this out since power saving seemed like a good thing to me. I guess the heart rate sensor uses a lot of power? So now I'm set for the next run.

    During lunch later in the day I decided to play with some of the watch faces. These are access by push down and holding until it switches on the screen. I decided to set up two of them to my liking. The first was the black digital face that has several datawindows (I believe five. Three of these are configurable with about 20 options from day/date, moonphase, sunrise/sunset, activity monitor, battery level ... Some allow color options. I also chose to configure the military style watch. Probably the WIS favorite feature is it allows you to set it up with some dial marker/number options, colors and the best yet select day, day/date on none. It also has three other data area that have the 20 various options or can be turned off. I chose sunrise/sunset, local temperature, next calendar event and date only on the watch.








    I also tried the phone and text options with it. Surprising the mic pick up pretty well outdoors but others can hear the conversation. Text is pretty cool since pictures pop up on the screen if they are in the text message while your on the phone. So it's kind of like a second monitor, albeit a small one.

    Favorite thing I've discovered so far is the calendar reminders on the watch are much more effective for me. The make a chime and pulse on the wrist. Since I have the larger phone I don't notice the vibrate in my pocket or on my desk so this personal connection works better for me.

    Last item was I found this case and crystal protector from Spigen for $14.95 on Amazon. We all know coated cases get chips and scratches so I hope this prevents that. It just snaps over the watch from the top and does not interfere with any operation. Since it is raised about 1mm above the crystal it provides some drop and bang protection (I hope). It comes in a bunch of colors and it's something I wish was available for some of my coated watches (It's good to be produced in the millions sometimes if you want other companies to fill the gaps you can't).







    Wearing it throughout the day was easy so far. It is very comfortable and light (at least the Al sport model)and it has shown some additional value short term. Let's see how the next run goes. Until then enough for now.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

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  17. #10
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
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    Great report.

    Still on the fence about these but it certainly looks like it will meet all of your needs.
    "Either He's Dead, Or My Watch Has Stopped....."
    Groucho Marx

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