Life with my Apple Watch

Life with my Apple Watch

It’s slim pickings when it comes to device-specific apps


The true cost of the Apple Watch is more than the sticker price suggests. (George Pimentel/Getty Images)I’ve been both an early adopter of technology as well as, on occasion, a late adopter. Early with notebook computers and the first Macintosh in 1984, but late with the BlackBerry and the iPhone.

As someone who didn’t even wear a traditional watch, the hype over the Apple Watch intrigued me. As I wrote a few weeks ago here, I decided I’d become an early adopter of the Apple Watch, preordering it the day after it was permitted.

I picked the model with a smaller face and found the band fit comfortably and the watch wasn’t too clunky, as I had feared it might be. Indeed, as I look around at many people’s wrists with traditional watches, the Apple Watch is smaller than many of them: I value small size and slimness in many of my technological devices.

After charging and syncing the watch (by taking a photo of the watch with your iPhone camera, lining up the image of the watch just so), I made the early decision not to automatically upload all the iPhone apps on to the watch. I want to spend the first few weeks examining the functionality of the pre-loaded watch apps, which include of course the time, weather, email, a map app and of course the much publicized fitness function, was one of my own chief motivators for purchasing it in the first place.

Having read the early reviews in the papers, I decided I did not want to (at least initially) subject myself to the barrage of notifications and alerts that would ensue once you add the Twitter app and other social media apps to the watch itself. I reasoned that half the time I’d be carrying the iPhone along with the watch anyway, and I’d rather check the iPhone for social media updates than subject myself to a constant stream of alerts on my Apple Watch.

When it came to built-in music and camera apps, I soon realized the Apple Watch merely helps you control the same apps on the iPhone. So to take a photo with the watch, you have to point the iPhone camera at your subject, using the watch itself just to press the virtual shutter. Same with music: when I pressed the music icon on the watch, the resulting music started to play on the iPhone, not the watch. However, the watch does act as a kind of remote control device for the music: you can skip ahead or back and adjust volume from the watch. And in a car, I did find this slightly safer than fiddling with the iPhone (during a natural stop like traffic lights, of course) since your wrist is already close to the steering wheel and so your eyes are at least scanning the road.

The fitness apps worked as expected: keeping track of steps, telling you when it’s time to stand, declaring a 30-minute daily exercise goal, etc.

Admittedly, there is not a lot to say about the Apple Watch’s role in financial independence, although one of the built-in apps does include a stock price updater, beginning with Apple itself.  This is one area where you’d want to start syncing with your financial iPhone apps or waiting for new watch apps to come out.

In summary, based on my first two days, I am not disappointed, nor do I have any regrets about the purchase, financial or otherwise. If all I ever do is check the time, use the fitness apps, and glance at email when stranded in certain situations where the iPhone is not available, I’d be happy. It’s also a great conversation starter.

Editor-at-large Jonathan Chevreau runs the Financial Independence Hub and can be reached at [email protected]