For the past few years, I've been explaining why I hate the Apple Watch so much.
It lasts a day, I've said, which means having to recharge it on a daily basis. I hate that.
The screen is so small, you have to squint constantly, and the tiny ants moving around the screen (e.g., the apps that turn in a circle) are hard to see.
The design is a little too precious, like a piece of fine jewelry when what I really want is something more rugged and able to withstand some abuse. I like the Casio G-Shock brand and Fossil watches that are big and clunky enough to handle my life choices.
And, that band! It's so thin and dainty. It looks like something only a Gen Z would love. Apple offers really expensive versions of the Watch. Rolex anyone?
It just seems like too much.
I've tested every previous version, and the latest model, the Series 4, is not a dramatic leap forward. It's the same style, uses roughly the same beehive interface, and has many carry-over features. I'm not exactly on board yet, and it might take me a while to really accept that Apple has designed a useful device.
I still have a lot of doubts.
I'm not a believer.
After using the Series 4 for two weeks, and not just as a "test" or a review but as my primary gadget (I'm using the cellular version that doesn't even require that I use my phone), I can say that I'm starting to warm up to it a little. I might even say I like it.
Here's how that all transpired.
First, I know all of these features I'm going to mention existed previously. Don't bother writing in. Maybe it has slowly become a love-hate relationship now, because I already used the best features before and mostly hated them. Maybe it's more of a cumulative effect, the fact that Apple has addressed some of my primary concerns. That definitely helps. Maybe I've even made peace with the daily charging routine.
One of my concerns is that the watch face is too small for the apps. But after using the watch constantly, and adjusting to some of the new interface features, I slowly started accepting that I can use Siri for most of my common tasks, such as texting and making calls. I don't need to use any of the apps that require screen clicks and swipes. (As a reviewer, it's too easy to assume you need to use all features.) I know this was possible before, but I've adjusted to the fact that the benefits slightly outweigh the annoyances.
I started making way more calls from the watch itself. I always felt awkward talking to people with my wrist. It's not so bad after you realize it works much better than holding your phone in front of you with the speakerphone turned on. And, honestly, now that more people are using a watch to make calls, it doesn't seem quite so weird.
I also like the new home screen. I can see at a glance how many steps I've taken that day, check the battery level, the temperature, and control a timer. I still think the text is too small, but I can see that people with better eyesight than mine might like the new interface. And I found a workaround in that I wait for full-screen notifications and rely on Siri.
Just because the watch doesn't look rugged doesn't mean it's frail. I used the watch on multiple runs and bike rides, in the shower, and several other outdoor activities and it's not like the watch broke in half or came disconnected from the band. It's still alive and kicking.
It used to annoy me that the watch would tell me to get up and move around. I've adjusted to the reality that gadgets are becoming nanny-minders.
It really hit me, though, on a recent hike. I've normally used a smartwatch that counts my steps, but in using the Appel Watch, I found that the coaching actually seems smarter. The Watch reminded me a few times--just walk another ten minutes, you can do it. I liked how the device seemed to be connecting more to my daily routine, which made me want to keep using it. It's a gadget that now seems more relevant and personal.
Sometimes, you make a small step forward, and that puts a gadget into a different category. Again, I don't love it. I prefer a more rugged watch that lasts all year. I hate charging things constantly. I'm still squinting. Maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel, though. I am even accepting the notifications and constant chirping on the device now.
I'll keep testing it. In a few weeks, I'll let you know if it is still winning me over.