3 YEARS WITH THE AP­PLE WATCH

How the Watch has be­come a solver of mi­nor in­con­ve­niences.

HWM (Malaysia) - - GEAR - By Alvin Soon

Con­sider this a three-year re­view. I’ve been there from the Ap­ple Watch since it was first un­veiled, from at­tend­ing the keynote in Cu­per­tino to wear­ing ev­ery it­er­a­tion of the Watch’s three gen­er­a­tions.

In that time, I’ve com­pletely changed my mind about the Watch. In 2015, I dis­missed the Watch, but today, it’s a de­vice that I’m loath to part with. What’s changed?

Speed and us­abil­ity, for one thing. The first Watch was a pub­lic beta more than any­thing, a cu­rio for ad­ven­tur­ous early adopters. It was too slug­gish for ev­ery­day use, and launch­ing apps was an ex­er­cise in pa­tience. watchOS ver­sions 1 and 2 were young, un­de­fined, and still try­ing to find them­selves.

The foun­da­tions, how­ever, were there for Ap­ple to build on. It was a good size and shape, and the crafts­man­ship was im­pres­sive for a mass man­u­fac­tured prod­uct. The strap change sys­tem was ge­nius.

The mar­ket seemed to like it. By the end of the first Watch’s run, Ap­ple dom­i­nated more than half of the global smart­watch mar­ket, and had be­come the num­ber two watch brand in the world when it came to sales — leapfrog­ging estab­lished names like Omega and Patek Philippe.

But for skep­tics like me, the Watch Se­ries 2 with watchOS 3 was the first Watch I could com­fort­ably rec­om­mend. Ar­riv­ing a year and a half af­ter the orig­i­nal, the new du­al­core SP2 sys­tem-on-chip was fi­nally re­spon­sive, and could con­fi­dently run apps with­out chok­ing. Se­ries 2 was when the light dawned on me and I started con­vert­ing to my smart­watch religion.

This year’s Se­ries 3 has all but ce­mented the Watch’s place in my life. The Watch is fast enough to do ev­ery­thing I wish, and I’ve grown used to it as a solver of mi­nor in­con­ve­niences.

For one, I love the as­sur­ance and qui­etude of tap­tic no­ti­fi­ca­tions. It’s a re­lief to know that missed phone calls and mes­sages are a relic of the past, even if my iPhone is tucked away in a cor­ner of my bag. It’s also a joy to have the iPhone on silent and still know when my no­ti­fi­ca­tions come in. Granted, it can be a chore when my chat­ter­box friends de­cide to open a gos­sip flood­gate, but I still pre­fer gen­tle taps on the wrist to a con­stantly ping­ing phone.

The Watch has also be­come a health ad­vi­sor, of sorts. I’ve come to en­joy clos­ing my ac­tiv­ity rings for the day — it ap­peals to the slight OCD in me. I’ve also en­trusted the Watch to re­mind me to stand ev­ery hour — FYI, sit­ting too long has been con­sid­ered the new smok­ing. watchOS 4 is smarter at no­ti­fy­ing me when to move more (be­fore din­ner) and what to do (a brisk six-minute walk) to help me get my rings in be­fore the day.

And of course, I’ve en­abled the new fea­ture that no­ti­fies you if you’re hav­ing ab­nor­mally high heart rates when seden­tary. I may not have been pos­i­tive about the Watch’s slow start, but I’ve al­ways been bullish about its po­ten­tial for health mon­i­tor­ing.

It’s for these rea­sons that I’ve changed my mind about the Ap­ple Watch, and have come to en­joy wear­ing it ev­ery­day in­stead of scratch­ing my head over its rai­son d’être. If I had to give it up, I’d se­ri­ously miss the ways it re­duces ev­ery­day fric­tion in my life.

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