Apple Watch 30 First Impressions

Hey y’all, I got my first Apple Watch ever for Christmas this year! It’s the SE version, which debuted this past September, in 40mm (the smaller size), Space Gray Aluminum, Black Sport Band, GPS (not cellular). This post is simply a list of my first impressions of the watch during my very first day of using it. I tried to be brief!

For #mobilecomputing, I now have a wearable; it doesn’t get much more mobile than that, eh?


  1. The sport band is far more comfortable than I expected. Its smooth and soft, not stiff or sticky.
  2. Though the 40mm seems a bit small for my tastes, I have no problem using it. Bigger would just be nicer.
  3. The overall quality, fit/finish/feel is top notch.


  1. Using the watch – getting into, out of, and switching apps – works well and makes sense to me now that I’ve actually started using it.
  2. The crown as volume knob is as useful and nice as I expected.
  3. The Now Playing app, especially within the workout app, is very handy. Love it.
  4. The speaker is loud and clear.
  5. Text messages, glances, and quick replies are fun, convenient, and cool. Notifications in general are nice.
  6. The number of watch faces and complications is surprisingly robust and almost overwhelming at first. Love the many options. They’re both fun and functional. Love having multiple watch faces for distinct situations.
  7. Love the Reminders app on the watch.
  8. Love email triage.
  9. Voice Memo app sync with phone is great.
  10. Maps navigation is nice and handy.
  11. Love having Apple Music and Podcasts on the watch.
  12. Love doing a workout with Music and Airpods and not having my big iPhone stuffed in my pocket.
  13. Fitness tracking and workouts and activity rings and badges so far are super great and motivating, tons of useful metrics and very customizable.
  14. Month view in calendar app with list view is awesome.
  15. Remote shutter and camera viewfinder work well, not a gimmick!
  16. Raise to wake and tap to wake work very reliably.
  17. Watch performance is smooth, quick, fluid, nice, not choppy or sketchy.
  18. The plethora of apps and options in the Watch app on the iPhone is staggering.
  19. Battery level indicator of Watch and Airpods and Airpods case appear on both watch and iPhone – nice!
  20. Watch is like a remote control for iPhone or iPad.
  21. Love that activity rings from watch appear on iPhone in a widget!
  22. It’s much nicer, and super convenient, talking to my watch instead of my phone for Siri. It seems more natural or fitting. It’s also just way cooler to hear Siri talk back from the watch. I’m using this feature to capture quick reminders.
  23. First try with Apple Pay on watch at Best Buy worked perfectly.
  24. Charge dock with nightstand mode is nice.
  25. Theater mode is nice.
  26. Summary of watch in first 12 hours: nice, healthy, convenient, useful.
  27. Key apps/features I wanna see come to watch: Apple Notes app, FaceTime app with front camera, and video player despite small size.

What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Time For A Watch Upgrade

After years of iterative updates and advancements, Apple’s smartwatch – finally – has won me over. It’s about time! (Pun intended.) Apple Watch seems better than ever now. So my plan is to wrest the Timex Ironman’s grip from my wrist and strap on a wearable computer from Apple. Dumbwatch, “Bye.” Smartwatch, “Hi.”

In the past, I sometimes thought of Apple Watch as superfluous and not ancillary. Sure, it was neat, maybe even nice, but not necessary. Yet Apple has evolved the watch over time, improving features in two main areas: fitness and smartness. So now I see the watch as helpful enough to use in my daily life.

Along with all the advancements, the introduction of the Apple Watch SE at a lower price point in particular compels me to buy further into Apple’s ecosystem. Plus, the adage, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is apt here. The Apple Watch will be an excellent addition to my iPhone and AirPods. The synergy is smart.

For example, the idea that I can simply dial in the volume on my AirPods by rotating the Digital Crown on Apple Watch – it’s a physical volume knob! Love it!

Or, I’m driving down the road with my hands on the wheel at 10 and 2 and can respond to texts hands free with Siri.

Working all day at my sit/stand desk, Apple Watch will remind me – with a tap on my wrist – to get up off my butt and will track my progress away from being sedentary.

Apple Pay, which I like on my iPhone, can be more easily used via Apple Watch. No need to pull the wallet or the phone out at the register.

The Camera Remote feature will let me use the back camera on the iPhone (the better one) to take selfies or group shots using the watch as a viewfinder and as a shutter button!

These examples are small but solid aids to my modern daily life that Apple Watch can bring. And they represent much more.

Being a tech nerd, the smart stuff of Apple Watch is easy for me to gush over. Yet it’s the health and fitness part of the watch that will be truly valuable.

I’ve posted about this before, saying that if Apple Watch grew stronger with overwhelming wellness advancements, then I’d buy the watch. Well it’s smart enough and strong enough now.

Since I have persistent tinnitus and mild hearing loss, the Noise app sounds great to me. It debuted in WatchOS 6. And it gained improvements in WatchOS 7.

The Activty app is now the Fitness app. And Fitness+ launched this week. Close those rings!

The Heart Rate app tracks real-time cardio rhythm and alerts to irregularity. Since I’m over 4 decades old and heart disease runs in my family, this is important.

Reaching my early 40’s, my body is slowly succumbing to years of sedentary office work and natural aging. Slower metabolism, longer recovery times, reduced energy, etc. I think Apple’s fitness tracking will give me vital stats and motivation to stay in good shape.

Okay, I need to burn calories to shed fat off my belly. #thestruggleisreal

Of all that the watch is designed to do, I think the fact that it’s wearable – small, convenient, always with you – is its greatest strength and the epitome of mobile computing, which Apple excels at.

So at long last, the Apple Watch has won me over. My dumb-watch is about to get a serious upgrade. That’s smart.

What About You?

Since I’ll be late to the Apple Watch game, let me ask you about it.

  • What do you like most about your Apple Watch?
  • Is it more about the smart computery stuff, like iMessage notifications, or is it more about the fitness tracking for you?
  • Do you wear a FitBit instead of an Apple Watch? Would you recommend a FitBit with an iPhone for someone looking for health and wellness features?
  • Is Sleep Tracking important to you?
  • Is your wrist sporting a “dumb” watch?
  • Are your wrists…naked!?

Thanks for your feedback below!

What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Apple Watch Not So Ancillary

This week, Apple announced its latest steps in mobile computing, yet it omitted its greatest mobile device of all: the iPhone. Nor were there new laptops, particularly their forthcoming ARM based version. For now, Apple’s advances in portable gadgets focused on the Apple Watch and iPad, which are not as ancillary to mobile computing as Apple would have you believe.

The example shown by Apple, which established mobile computing in 2010, indicates that there are four mobile devices worth having: laptop, smartphone, tablet, and smartwatch. Interestingly, in 2010, the lineup was almost the same save one: laptop (MacBook), smartphone (iPhone), tablet (iPad), and mp3 player (iPod).

In a reality distortion field, you need four mobile devices. But in reality, mobile computing excels with only two devices for you: laptop and smartphone.

I’ve reasoned before how the laptop and smartphone squeezed the tablet out from between them. Basically, laptops are still better than tablets at computery “truck” level tasks. And smartphones are still greater at tablety “car” level things. 

The smartwatch, though, is objectively much better at certain “bike” level tasks than your smartphone or laptop. So it could be the device, small as it is, that finds space between your iPhone and Macbook.

The Apple Watch has sensors that the other devices lack. And its form factor, tied to your wrist, gathers data about your body in ways your other mobile computing devices never could. In fact, with this week’s unveiling, Apple showed it continues to expand its smartwatch capabilities utilizing yet more sensors.

The watch is unique enough that marketing it becomes easier than it is for iPad. Apple’s tablet is too similar to its smartphone and even its laptop to be distinguished. The iPad is really just another version of both, an iteration of the form factor of a computer.

Apple Watch, on the other hand (pun accepted), thinks different indeed.

Here’s how the marketing goes:

  • Macbook – your portable computer.
  • iPhone – your phone/music player/communicator.
  • Apple Watch – your wellness partner.

You see, each gadget is distinct enough to focus on specific use cases.

The Apple Watch has increasingly become about wellness (health or fitness) above all else. It’s an area of everyone’s life that can use computational power.

The iPad just makes sedentary couch surfing easier, an antithesis to mental and physical wellness. But if you have an Apple Watch, your rings will tell you it’s time to quit watching Apple TV+ on your tablet and get moving. So that kind of works. Apple could even market it well:

“Less Movie. More Moving.”

Despite the utility of Apple Watch, I still think it’s not as ancillary to mobile computing as Apple markets. Generally, for wellness, you neither need a fitness band nor a gym membership. Just wear a good pair of shoes and get moving.

For mobile computing, all you really need is a laptop and a smartphone. And it seems Apple is saving the best for last in 2020, as they’re said to be planning new iPhone and Macbook releases later this year.

Until then, we’ll wait to see what changes to mobile computing may be coming. Will Apple further iterate the lineup? Or will it enthrall with a gadget revolution? Like this week’s announcements, I think the former.

What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Three Things To Buy Apple Watch

Apple makes a nice ecosystem of gadgets, but the Apple Watch is one that I haven’t been compelled to buy. I just don’t find it that interesting or necessary. But there are three things that would likely cause me to wear Apple’s Wrist Computer.

Always On Display

This one is super simple. Just keep the watch-face display always on. Because that’s what watches have been able to do since forever.

When it comes to fashion, Apple Watch looks like a blank canvas on your arm with its solid black face. Plain. Bland. Boring. Worse, since it’s a tech device, it looks dead or off, like wearing the watch is a waste of time!1 It’s just bad in my chronographical opinion.

And when it comes to function, the Watch-o-Apple should be like, you know, an actual watch! The number one feature and function of a watch, something I’ve worn since I was a kid, is to show you the time simply by looking at it.

You’ll note that I didn’t mention raising your arm to look at the watch. As I sit and type this post with my arm resting on the table, I just look at my wristwatch and see the time and date without moving my arm or hand at all. The display is constantly present in time!

And speaking from experience, when I owned a Moto 360 Android Wear Smartwatch, I know how annoying it is to raise your arm or rotate your wrist in order to make the display turn on. After being accustomed to years of a simple glance giving me knowledge of the time, these additional required gestures are a step backward. This doesn’t seem so smart.

What about this feature killing the battery? I think by now Apple has the engineering resources to solve this, making ample battery life and an always on display just work.

There’s something to be said about simple watches just working. The only watch certified to work on the Moon by NASA is the Omega Speedmaster Professional, a mechanical watch.

In a timely piece2, John Gruber, a long time Apple blogger at Daring Fireball, commenting on an Atlantic story about the enduring functionality of the “Moonwatch” watch said this:

This is, to me, exactly the appeal of mechanical watches.

I’m not asking for Apple to make the Apple Watch certifiable by NASA for Lunar excursions. I’m only asking for the display to remain on all-the-time. Simple.

Overwhelming Health Features

As of now, the health features of Apple Watch have started to make me think I might want one on my wrist all the time. Naturally as I age, health is a growing priority.

If Apple Watch continues to grow its health feature focus, adding new capabilities for monitoring health or improving ones it already has, that would compel me further to consider not just wanting the watch but needing one.

Key areas where Apple Watch could aid my health now are:

  1. The tap to stand reminder, because I sit at a desk computer all day long for my job.
  2. The new Noise level detection app, because I have Tinnitus and am careful to protect my hearing.
  3. The active heart monitor because heart disease runs in my family, and my sedentary desk job doesn’t help.
  4. Sleep tracking…I’m not sure about this one, but it adds to the pile.

On top of that, the overall fitness tracking is an attractive set of features. And now Apple has improved those with Activity Trends, so you can track your fitness levels over time.

If Apple keeps ramping up these health and fitness features, it may be in my best interest, that of self-preservation, to buy one.

FaceTime Calling

This feature would require the addition of a front facing camera in the watch, like the ones found on iPhone. Its sole purpose would be for impromptu or quick and casual FaceTime calls from favorites in your contacts.

It’s futuristic and compelling to think that simply raising your wrist up and looking at your watch could answer or initiate a hands-free FaceTime video call with someone. This is what I call the Dick Tracy watch feature.

In fact, the phone calling feature (and the walkie-talkie app), without the video part, is already a realization of the Dick Tracy watch 2-way radio dream come true. All that’s missing is the FaceTime camera.

If Apple finds a way to squeeze the camera into the watch-face – I believe they can and likely already have a working prototype – then this feature alone would probably be the signal to strap this communicator to my arm.

It’s A Matter Of Chronology

These three things together would most certainly open my wallet wide to buy Apple Watch. But just one of the above features could be enough to push me over the edge.

Until such a time, I bide my time with my good ole fashioned Timex dumb-watch that always shows me the ”when” of now in the-moment-that-is-this. I don’t need to flick my wrist, raise my arm, tap my watch, or perform any other overt gesture. I just glance; there’s the date and time. That’s the bottom line.

Do you wear an Apple Watch? If not, what would change that? Share your thoughts below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. If that counts as a pun, then score: One!
  2. See what I did there?

Apple Watch Keeps Eye On Your Ears

When Apple held their WWDC 2019 keynote last week, I tuned in for news on iPhone and iPad software. But it’s good to take note of all the things Apple is doing because of their ecosystem. Growth in one area affects growth in other areas. So I learned about new features in watchOS. And I’ve never considered owning an Apple Watch until now.

I still wear a dumb-watch

The things I like most from Apple’s WWDC announcements pertain to iPhone and iPad because those are the only Apple devices I own.1 But I’ve had an eye on AirPods for a long time. And with their new improvements, I think it’s only a matter of time before I pick some up at my local Best Buy and put them in my ears.

When it comes to the Apple Watch though, I have always thought of it as superfluous. To me, it does not do anything that my iPhone or iPad can’t do. In fact, I kind of deride Apple Watch sometimes – and to be fair, all smartwatches – because it can’t even keep the display always-on like traditional watches.2

That’s why I’ve never really been interested in buying an Apple Watch. But a particular announcement at WWDC started to make me consider, for the first time, maybe, possibly, owning one after all.

Now hear this

Apple revealed a new app for their Watch. It’s called the Noise app. This surprised me; so far, I like what I hear!

A little back story is in order. In January this year, I finally got my hearing checked because I’ve suffered from Tinnitus for a while and last year it became worse. After seeing the audio specialist, it turns out that I have some mild hearing loss too.

So I wrote about it in a post and even tweeted at Tim Cook3, asking Apple to make a new product called, “HearPods.” They would be like AirPods but with added hearing aid technology!

I had learned through my doctor visit about devices like ReSound and how advanced modern hearing aids have become, using Bluetooth technology and apps for your phone. So I figured AirPods combined with hearing aid tech would be a perfect fit for Apple and for hearing loss sufferers.

So when Apple announced the new Noise app for Apple Watch, I was all ears.4 It monitors – without recording or saving any audio – your environment for sound, likely utilizing some magical microphones with amazing algorithms. It will measure the noise level and do a few things to help protect your hearing from damage:

  1. It gives you a “live” or “real-time” visual indicator of the noise level. So you can see if it’s too loud.
  2. It will “tap” your wrist with haptic vibration feedback, warning you to the excessive noise.
  3. It will send a notification/warning to your phone, recording the duration and danger level of the noise, so you can see it and be advised, which will allow you to take necessary actions or precautions.

Besides the usual places you might find noise pollution, I imagine the Noise app would be handy (and fun) for telling – or better, showing – my 5 sons they’re being too noisy in the house! Believe me, with 5 young boys living in a small house, the noise levels get, uh, challenging.

From Apple’s press release:

Maintenance of hearing health positively impacts the quality of life and studies have shown that hearing loss has been associated with cognitive decline.2 With the optimal position of Apple Watch on the wrist, the Noise app helps users understand the sound levels in environments such as concerts and sporting events that could negatively impact hearing. As the sound levels change, the app’s decibel meter moves in real time. The watch can send a notification if the decibel level reaches 90 decibels, which can begin to impact hearing after four hours per week of exposure at this level, according to the World Health Organization.

As Apple has improved the health and fitness capabilities of Apple Watch over the years, I’m slowly starting to think I might want to own one for myself.

A pedometer, a heart monitor, and a decibel meter are at least three unique hardware features with capabilities that my iPhone and iPad can’t do, which make the Apple Watch less superfluous and more compelling.

Sure, if I want great fitness features, I could spend less and enjoy a FitBit of some kind. But I prefer Apple stuff over third-party stuff because of their commitments to security, privacy, simplicity, and quality in the Apple ecosystem.

Will I end up with an Apple device on my wrist? Or in my ears? It sounds like a good possibility to me.

What do you think about the new Noise app? Do you already enjoy an Apple Watch or would you consider buying one? Let me hear what you have to say in the comments below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. I once owned the 2009 white plastic MacBook because of Mountain Lion. It was nice. I even switched from Lightroom to Aperture (R.I.P.) with it.
  2. I owned the Moto 360 Android Wear smartwatch for a while and wore it everyday. It really bugged me how it could not consistently show me the time when I simply raised my wrist up to see it. I grew up with wristwatches always showing the time. That’s the best feature of a watch to me.
  3. I hope I did not break Twitter etiquette protocol.
  4. Pun totally intended!