A Month With Apple Watch

Since getting my first Apple Watch on December 24, 2020, I’ve worn it every single day for a solid month; this post is a review of my experience. How does the watch fit my lifestyle, or how has my life adapted to a smartwatch on my wrist? And might Apple Watch be a good match for your daily mobile living?

A Fitting Watch

First and foremost, Apple Watch is about fitness.

Health and wellness are the biggest reasons I finally decided to adopt Apple’s smartwatch and adapt my life to it. And I’m so glad I did!

I’ve used the watch every day to track my steps, stair flights, calories, exercise minutes, miles, pace, and workouts. I’ve closed all three of my rings everyday for a 30 day streak!

The accelerometer and built-in GPS tracking work together like a pedometer to record your steps and movements. The heart sensor continuously monitors your heartbeats. All these log the quantity and frequency of activity. And together, algorithms are used to smartly distinguish the quality of your activities.

Oh, the metrics! Once you get movin’ with Apple Watch, you can nerd out with the myriad of metadata about your ambulation. Much of the data is viewable right on the watch; it’s all nicely organized. And you can take a total dive in the data via the Fitness and Health apps on your iPhone.

Thankfully, all data between the watch and the phone just works. Apple, developing the software and hardware together, makes the sync process invisible, seamless, and reliable. When you record a workout, you can be sure it will appear on your phone; it won’t get lost.

Fantastic Fitness

I have not tried Apple’s new Fitness+ service, although it looks great. I’ve simply used Apple Watch as designed right out of the box, embracing 3 different workouts in 30 days: Walking, Running, and Strength Training. I’m very eager to add Cycling.

The watch has truly helped me improve my fitness and cardio level. I’ve seen a real change in my lung capacity and heart health:

  • I breath easier while running.
  • I can run at a set pace while staying in my target heart zone.
  • My resting heart rate has decreased.
  • My peak heart rate requires more vigorous exercise to attain it.
  • My heart rate at the low end of my comfort zone takes more work to reach.

All this indicates my heart has become more efficient. I’m on my way to reaching my goal of improved cardiovascular health for life.

I flippin’ love my Apple Watch!

How has the watch actually helped me; I could exercise without it? Read on.

Metrics And Motivation

Apple Watch doesn’t just passively record your whereabouts like some benign surveillance system. It actively works with you, helping you workout or simply get up and going.

Throughout the day, the watch will notify you with messages of motivation and encouragement. Short and positively worded, – no judgment! – the watch will let you know how you did, how you’re doing, and that you can do even better. It really is like a mini-coach by your side. And somehow, it feels like the watch itself, not Siri, is the one cheering you on.

And yes, there are awards, spinning shiny metallic and colorful badges of recognition for your athletic achievements. They’re great! Earn and view them on Apple Watch and on iPhone. See what you’ve won, and see what else you can aim for. Goals!

As mentioned, another reason the watch makes a difference is its ability to track, collect, and present a myriad of health metrics.

Having instant, live, and continuous feedback of my immediate and average progress lets me know what’s working and what isn’t. It also allows me to adjust my exercise daily as needed.

One day, I can run for distance, and the next for time, and the next for burned calories. I can record 2 or 3 short fast runs, and then I can track 5 or 6 brisk walks or slow jogs.

With the live heart-rate monitor, I check how fast my heart is beating during a run so I can adjust my speed and stay within my target zone. I can also easily glance down during a run and check my current pace or just let the watch vibrate and beep a sound into my AirPods to alert me.

Wearable Wonder

And oh, those AirPods with Apple Watch! Coolest computer combo ever?

I all-caps LOVE using AirPods with the watch during exercise. While the Fitness app is open on the watch, all I do is lift my arm, swipe left, and the Now Playing app fills the screen so I can control basic audio playback.

Listening to songs or podcasts makes running more enjoyable. Best of all, I leave my iPhone behind; no need to run with my pocket weighed down by a bouncing phablet. Apple Watch stores all my audio on-device for immediate playback. It just works.

Notifications And Siri

Since Apple Watch excels at fitness, what about its other features?

To me, the most useful at-a-glance on-hand capability, notifications, shines on the watch. The slight vibration, the “ding” sound, alerting me to a text message or a reminder is fabulous. Super practical and also more discreet than unpacking a phablet from your pocket.

Speaking to Siri simply by raising the watch up is awesome. It’s not just cool-tech-demo awesome, it’s actually very useful. The speed, ease, accuracy, and simplicity of summoning Siri for assistance is wonderful. I get Siri to take reminders this way often.

Daily Life Apps

Apple Watch has many other features; they add up to an all-around balanced smartwatch experience.

A few apps I use daily are: Weather, Music, Podcasts, Now Playing, Reminders, Messages, and Mail. I don’t use Apple Books or Voice Memos but I see good potential there. I have not tried any Sleep Tracking features. I do like the calming Breathe app. The Flashlight feature has come in handy in a pinch.

Also, I’m not bothered in the least that my version, the Apple Watch SE, does not have an Always-On display. To my surprise, I kind of prefer it.

Whenever audio or video is playing, whether it’s the YouTube app on my iPhone or the Podcasts app on my Apple Watch, I love using the digital crown (dial) to adjust the volume!

Another standout feature is the Phone app. It is flippin’ awesome to make and receive calls right on my wrist with Apple Watch. That’s not hyperbole. One place it’s most useful is while driving in the car.

Raise the wrist, tell Siri to call my wife, done! Next thing I know, I’m talking to my wife, loud and clear, with my watch. Dick Tracy life is super fun. (Can’t wait for the eventual FaceTime on Apple Watch!)

Of course, it’s very cool and useful that you can use Apple Watch as a remote viewfinder and shutter for your iPhone’s camera. I don’t use this much, but it’s there when I need it.

The few times I’ve eaten out at a restaurant in the past month, I’ve loved using the Tip Calculator on the watch. It’s done so very well.

Finally, there’s Apple Pay via the Wallet app. LOVE it!

Every time I can pay at a register with Apple Pay, my watch is right there, ready to make the transaction. It works easily, quickly, fluidly, and feels so natural on a wristwatch. It’s a joy, and it really beats pulling out my big phone (or physical wallet and card).

All these apps and features are just a tap away in what are called, “Complications.” I have found a lot of fun in customizing the many watch faces on Apple Watch. There’s a huge number of faces with many layouts, buttons, choices, and colors; I feel more than satisfied. Much time can be enjoyed by trying new layouts; I’ve even created a few for certain times or situations that are a swipe away.

If you like rearranging widgets and apps on your iPhone screens to perfection, then you’ll enjoy customizing Apple Watch faces.

That sums up my first 30 days of living with Apple Watch. I love having it on me everyday. And I’m looking forward to progress in fitness over the coming months so I will be able to view my cardiovascular health Trends.

The best thing about Apple Watch: it helps me watch my fitness. It’s what I need to be less sedentary and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. I foresee wearing Apple’s wearable for the rest of my life.