Our year review of the Apple Watch

Our creative director Matt Fields has had the Apple watch since it's inception. After a year of wearing the Apple Watch, here are his thoughts and insights that we thought we would share.

General thoughts and comments

With out a doubt it has made me more productive. Just look around any social setting in the world. What are people doing? Staring into their phone. It's interesting because, people don't realize how much time out of the day their phone actually steals from them. I actually timed myself and it was quite laughable how much time I was on my phone. It's just more socially acceptable to look at your watch than to have your face plastered onto a phone. 

With that said, one of the brilliant things Apple has done design choice wise is email notifications via the watch. Instead of sending you one email at a time it will wait until two or three emails came in via one notification. Such a subtle design choice that actually makes a subtle difference throughout your day. It's a design choice that actually is so well executed you don't even think about how it has saved you time in your day because you don't always have to look down at your wrist when an email comes in. This was a minor problem with owning and wearing a pebble smart watch.

I don't download as many apps as I once did. That is likely because I was just bored and I wanted something, to do. Although, this could also just be app fatigue.

The Activity feature

When I wear the watch I feel like I am letting the watch down and myself down by not getting up and going to go do something when I get a activity notification to stand up and move around for a bit. I would say this feature alone has made me more productive in the office. The watch actually knows the difference between sitting and standing. Which is great!

Another nice subtle feature that is well thought out is the distance tracker. Say you are in a mall and you set the watch to track your walk throughout the mall. What typically happens is that you forget to turn the activity tracking feature off when you get into your car. Which would lead to skewed results of how far you actually walked for that excursion. The watch is smart enough to know when you are in your car and not running at 30-65mph.

The simple fact that I can go golfing and not pull out my phone is simply game changing for me as I am more engaged with fellow golfers instead of staring/glancing at my phone during a meeting. And besides the watch will tell you your yardage from the hole. All the while also tracking how much you are actually walking.

The Quality of the cheapest model

Did you know that the flight recorder black boxes that are found in every commercial airliner are made from 5052-H32 aluminum? And those are designed to withstand a plane crash. The Apple watch is made out of 7000 series aluminum and is used in only extreme cases of strength/weight optimizations.

Interestingly enough, 7000 series aluminum is very hard to machine due to being so much harder than 6000. I am personally amazed that Apple is producing a mass market product intricately machined out of a 7000 alloy and only charging $300 (It was originally $400) for the device. That is simply unbelievable, a true display of their design and manufacturing excellence.

How waterproof is it?

The Hammer & Knife test

The bottom line is something you wear on your wrist all day is possible to pick up a scratch or two over time—but it looks as if Apple has done a lot of work with the screen and waterproofing to ensure your new purchase will last.

My person experience is that you should not get the stainless steel version of the watch. Sadly, the stainless steel version of the watch will have all sorts of scuffs after prolong use of wearing. I highly recommend you go with the Space Gray version of the watch. The watch looks exactly the way it did the first day I put it on. There has been times where I walked into something that the watch crashed heavily into and my mind always goes to that place, "This is the one watch crash that will give it, it's first blemish!" But I will wait a few seconds and to my surprise... no damage or scuffs.

Our Favorite Apple Watch Apps

Cheatsheet is for the little things you never remember: hotel rooms, license plates, luggage combination, ID numbers. Write them down in Cheatsheet and then refer to them anytime in the Today Widget or paste them anywhere with the Custom Keyboard. No more fumbling to unlock your phone and find your notes app; Cheatsheet is as easy as pulling down Notification Center, pulling up the keyboard, or glancing at your Apple Watch.

HeartWatch. View & get notified about heart rate data captured on your watch. you’d think Apple built the $2.99 app itself. As an everyday app, it continually monitors your heart rate, providing stats like your average, maximum, and minimum heart rate via easy-to-interpret visuals. As a workout app, it also keeps track of your heart rate zones, such as warmups, fat burning, fitness building, and high intensity. You can use it to track your sleeping heart rate, too.

Not being able to watch feature films and TV on your wrist isn't a disappointment. But tiny seconds of video seem well-suited to wrist-based viewing. Vine enables you to take in featured and favorite Vines right on your watch. This is a little bit of a time waster but some times you need a distraction and what better way than to look at your watch rather than your phone?

Slack's popularity as a team communications tool is undeniable, but you wouldn't want to scroll through the entire feed on your wrist. The app therefore wisely limits itself to direct messages and mentions, which you can reply to using succinct pre-defined answers, Emoji, or voice input by way of Siri. I highly recommend it!

Golf-centric GPS watches are great, but what do you do with them after leaving the links? With the free Golfshot app, you don’t have to change your wristwear when you’re done with the back nine. Relaying your iPhone’s GPS data to the Apple Watch, Golfshot provides real-time data to the green, without having to whip out your smartphone. It also provides flyover previews and helps you keep track of your score. Too bad it doesn’t help your short game. It will also make a great talking point with your clients on why they should get one.