I have traditionally been a fan of Apple stuff, but lately I’ve found myself becoming less and less enamoured with their current offerings. Whether it be the lacklustre MacBook Pro, with zero USB-A connectors and complete lack of an SD card slot, or the omission of a 3.5mm audio jack on the latest iPhones, they have just been making a load of anti-consumer moves that are simply rubbing me up the wrong way. I’ve always been a fan of the mid-2012, pre-retina MacBook pro, due to their ease of access for replacing parts, and ample I/O festooned along the left side of the case, as well as the really awesome little battery indicator that made an appearance in those models. And, don’t get me started on the apparent demise of MagSafe…
So, as you may be able to tell, I’ve become a little disenfranchised with Apple of late. It’s rapidly coming up to phone replacement time for me, so I decided to make a choice I didn’t think I would make. I decided to look at what Android handsets had to offer. Honestly, both the Google Pixel and the Samsung S8 / S8+ seem much more suitable for me than the recent incarnations of the iPhone. Despite this, I am however making the choice to stay with Apple for the time being. Why am I doing so, you ask? The Apple Watch. Since it’s first announcement, I have been at the forefront of derision for this puny little device. I have been among the throng of people that have suggested the utter pointlessness of having something on your wrist that is literally a more incongruous duplicate of what’s inches away in your pocket. I have recently been trying to make improvements in my fitness and overall productivity and suddenly this little thing starts to make heaps more sense. So, with this in mind, I felt like it would be worth going through why I have decided to go and get one, if only to look back and see if it actually fulfilled on my idealised plans.
Fitness – FitList
In recent months, I have started making regular visits to the gym and doing set workouts. I have been using the FitList app for iPhone to set and perform my workouts and monitor reps and weights. This simple little app is great because it does exactly what it says on the tin. However, I do have some issues with it. Having it on your phone means that if you want to register a workout, it has to be within arms reach, and since you are moving around a lot, it’s not really feasible to keep it in your pocket. The combination of this and having to carefully carry your phone everywhere you go is a tad on the awkward side. FitList have made a fantastic looking little app for the Apple Watch, and having all of this on your wrist would simply remove the burden and let me just get on with exercising.
Swimming – Swim IO
My favourite kind of exercise has always been swimming. So, imagine my happiness when I found out my gym membership included unlimited access to an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Like my workouts, I have started visiting the pool regularly and I’m trying to track it with my iPhone. For this I’m using the really cool little iPhone app, SwimIO, which simply keeps track of the pool you’re swimming in, the number of lengths you do each session and works out your burned calories. In theory, this works great if you fill it all in after the session, however I have clean forgotten to do it a couple of times until hours later. The lack of water-resistance on the first iteration of the Apple watch made it much less attractive to me, as I knew that if I were to partake in more exercise, it would be swimming-based, however the ‘swim-proof’ designation of the Series 2 has sweetened the deal for me. In addition to the fact that SwimIO will import swims from the workout app, it seems like a large win-win for the Apple watch on this front as well.
Weather Complication – Dark Sky
Ever since I first found it when it was Forecast.io, I have been a big proponent of the weather app / website combo that is Dark Sky. In addition to offering really accurate, hyper-local weather forecasting for the coming days, they have the killer feature of tapping into the Met Office precipitation radar and telling you whether it’s likely to rain within the next hour and how much. This has always been a really awesome feature to me, as I can plan when to take an trips out of the office in order to avoid getting wet. This is great, but once again I find that I’m sorely under-utilising this feature due to it being hidden away within an app on my phone. Were this to live on a watch that I could quickly check while walking, I would likely find it much more useful, as well as just being able to take a quick glance at the weather for the rest of the day. The thing that I find the most intriguing is having the app send a notification to the watch warning of impending rain. I have a feeling this would become aggravating after a while, but I still fancy giving it a shot. I have always found the Dark Sky app one of the more compelling reasons to shell out for the Apple Watch.
Productivity – Todoist
There’s a lot of stuff to get done, and I have a terrible memory, so over the last year or two I’ve been employing task managers to help me get things done. I have until recently been using OmniFocus, however the lack of cross platform support or web app support for this app has been a killer for my workflow, as I have been tethered to an Apple device while wanting to check things off my list or add things. My work computer is a MacBook, but my main workhorse at home is a PC, so this is limitation is a real hinderance. To get around this, I’ve recently been trying to come across to Todoist. It also has its weaknesses, but overall the transition has been fairly smooth. I know the Apple watch has an app for Todoist, so I really just want to have a list of things I have to get done on my wrist so I can easily check while going somewhere and tick them off.
Telling the Time
I know this is a simple one, but it’s really important as far as I’m concerned. I have a very nice analogue watch, but unfortunately it took a nose-dive off of my wrist some months ago and despite my repeated trips to the watch repairer, nobody has been able to actually fix it properly, making me unkeen to wear it for fear of damaging it further. My phone serves to tell me the time, but every now and then I gaze longingly wishing there are a timepiece there once more. Although the Apple watch is definitely a stupidly expensive way to accomplish this, it will tell the time and do a load of other useful things. I do really enjoy the tick of an analogue watch, but I’m willing to give the Apple Watch a shot.