Apple Watch: The First 24 Hours

By Patrick Moorhead - April 24, 2015
I’ve been using the Apple Watch for about 24 hours now and I wanted to share my top 10 quick learnings that I had with the device. I attended both of Apple’s Watch launch events and got to use Apple Watch, but nothing beats loading your own apps and data to get a better look at the the experience. So here we go…
  1. Superior watch experience: I have used 12 wearables in the last two years and by far the Apple Watch has the best watch experience. It’s feels very high quality, not plasticky, and is very responsive with relevant apps. 24 hours isn’t enough to make a complete verdict, but so far it’s clearly the best.
  2. Two press capability: In addition to simple touch, you can press firmly on the display to get a second level touch. Apple calls this Force Touch. I get haptic feedback on the front of the watch, too, delivered by Apple’s Taptic Engine. This literally adds a second dimension to the UI that comes in handy in many instances. Think of it as a double click, right click on the mouse, or “Command” plus mouse click.
  3. Tiny icons easy to touch: When I first saw the app icons on Watch, inside what Apple calls the Home Screen, I thought it was kind of funny as they looked so small. I wondered how on earth could that be accurate. So far, I have yet to mis-hit an app, which blew me away, frankly. There is a lot of precision and logic that is going on there, a lot of engineering black magic. This UI works, works well and that’s a big deal as I think everyone in the smartwatch industry was looking for an appropriate UI to see and interact with, many apps.
  4. App load time: Most all of the apps are very responsive when you click on them. Some of them have lag, though. Weather and Stocks, oddly enough as they are Apple apps were slow at loading data, presumably as they are getting real-time data. First-time loading an app was a bit slow, too. I am assuming this is a temporary thing until Watch, iPhone and Apple’s datacenters are totally optimized.
  5. Tier 1 apps: Many of the most popular iOS apps are available… now. These are apps like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, ESPN, CNN, Uber, multiple airlines, Amazon, etc. Other app stores that have been out a lot longer still don’t have these apps. 
    Apple Watch (Credit: Patrick Moorhead, Moor Insights & Strategy)Apple Watch (Credit: Patrick Moorhead, Moor Insights & Strategy)
  6. Syncing: Watch does not sync with iCloud or directly connect to the web, it syncs with your iPhone, which then syncs with iCloud and the web. Even while on WiFi, if your phone is off, Watch data won’t sync. Keep that in mind as you separate the two. Watch will work without the iPhone with Activity, Music and Exercise apps, though, in case you want to exercise and not bring your phone.
  7. Readable: I am very nearsighted, but when I have my contacs in, I’m “that guy” reading the menu two feet away from my face in a restaurant. Watch enables text size increase and bold text. Outside of a few circumstances, I could read everything on the Apple Watch display with text at the largest size, of course.
  8. Good security: The first time you put on Apple Watch during the day, you are asked to put in a 4 digit password. This way, someone just can’t take your watch as you’re sleeping and invade your privacy. Also, if you want to use Apple Pay, you need to authorize Apple Watch and your credit cards. Apple Watch has its own secure element, which is great, as this enables the high level of security.
  9. Good privacy: When you move Apple Watch toward your face, you see information. When you move Apple Watch away, it goes dark. When notifications come in, unlike other phones, the screen doesn’t light up so the person you are sitting next to isn’t distracted and reading your notifications. You get a gentle tap from the Taptic Engine, letting you know a notification is coming in. That’s something none of the other smartwatch makers get yet. If you do want alarm bells to go off when a notification comes in, you can customize that per notification type. So you can be “that guy”. 🙂
  10. Reserve Power: If you are on a plane and won’t be heavily using your watch, there is Reserve Power mode where Watch’s time works and nothing else. This will last for days I am told.
So there we have it, my quick thoughts on the first 24 hours with the Apple Watch. From everything I’ve experienced, Apple Watch is light years ahead of all the other multi-use smartwatches I have used.  24 hours isn’t enough for a total run-through, so I’ll check back in a week. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.