My Apple Watch Series 2 Experience

appl-wtch1Last Friday, I finally put on the new Apple Watch Series 2 and I wanted to share my experiences with you. Over the last few years I have been relying on the Internet to make purchasing decisions. I like the ability to bypass the marketing gimmickry and get to read about the real experiences that others have. I recently used this to buy a new car, a Mazda CX-5, and upgrade my camera equipment. Reading the online experiences of others helps me tremendously with my buying decision. Marketers have realized the potential of marketing through blog posts and have begun to heavily seed consumer sites and blogging platforms to sell their wares so I have to be careful about whose experiences I rely on.

Because of this I have really appreciated the posts by individuals that post their experiences for the fun it, or just to vent about their experience. Their apparent lack of attachment to monetary recompense for writing or videotaping their experience with a product gives me an opportunity to see a better and truer representation of the product I am looking to buy.

When I started considering the new Apple Watch there was no commentary from regular people because, obviously, the watch had just recently been made available for purchase.

Today, I want to “pay back” the product experience work of others with a post of my own.

In 1976, I acquired a red LED Microsonic watch. I worked answering the telephone switchboard at a hotel in Guadalajara. As a minor, I wasn’t supposed to be working, but I spoke English and the hotel manager needed an English speaker desperately. I worked out an arrangement where I was paid cash and the watch he was wearing the first day I met with him. I worked on-and-off as my other obligations permitted and eventually I earned the much coveted watch.

It was a silver and a very heavy contraption that overwhelmed my wrist in weight and size. It had a solid red screen and one button. You pressed the button so that the time would glow in red. It went through batteries, which were expensive, like water but I was hooked on watches. From that moment on I started to collect watches with gadgets on them.

I soon realized that water-proofing was a serious necessity and the reliance on batteries was not a good thing. I eventually saved enough money to buy a Citizen LCD watch with many functions. I continued to evolve into much pricier Citizen watches with many cooler functions eventually ending up with a Titanium encased solar-powered watch. When my business finally “made it,” I purchased a Rolex and sported it for a while as a status symbol. As much as I liked and coveted a Rolex for many years, the fact was that a Rolex is a status symbol but not as functional as electronic watches. I continued to use electronic watches like the Luminox and the Suunto and kept the Rolex for special outings.

Although I use an Apple iPhone and an Apple iPad, the Apple Watch had a significant draw back for me – it was not water resistant. I was also concerned about battery life. When the Series 2 was announced as a water resistant watch I knew it was time to try out the Apple Watch.

Last Friday I unpacked it and started to wear it.

I have been an Apple enthusiast since I bought my first iPod generation 5 in 2005. Although I had been intrigued by Apple computers since I first worked on an Apple II, ultimately it was the IBM and Unix computers where I learned most of my computing knowledge on. Because of that, transitioning to Apple computers was not worth it to me because they were “closed” and not compatible with the rest of the computing world, especially after the Lisa and Macintosh hit the market place.

Even today I perform much of my work on Windows machines because business software is difficult to find on Apple computers. However, the iPod gave me a glimpse into integrated services that was the future and I liked the fact that I could carry music with me. When the iPhone came out, I had to have one and from there I have been using Apple smartphones and tablets as my personal companions.

Because Apple promised that the Apple Watch Series 2 was water resistant I decided to purchase one, a 42 mm steel sport edition. I kept looking at the local stores and online but they kept telling me that it wouldn’t be available until late October or early November, even the Apple website. However, I just kept going to the Apple site every night before I went to bed and clicked “buy” and followed that with “availability” until I finally got lucky on Thursday night (29th) and clicked on the buy button.

I say I got lucky because it appears that the watches are still severely backordered. Apparently, and this was somewhat unofficially confirmed by the Apple employee that delivered my watch to me, late at night, after the store closes they update their inventory of products at the stores. I got lucky in that the inventory had been updated just as I was placing my order. If you are looking for an Apple Watch Series 2 you might want to try the website route late at night to speed up your purchase.

Typically Apple, I soon received an email confirming my order and telling me when I could pick it up at the store. Also, typically Apple, I received email and text confirmations and alerts letting me know that my watch was ready to be picked up. I also received a barcode pass to add to my iPhone making the pickup process much easier. When I arrived at the Apple store, it was packed with shoppers looking for the iPhone 7 and the watches. Since I live in Orlando, the local Apple stores are typically overrun with foreigners during new product releases looking to buy Apple products to take back home before they become available at their home country stores. This is especially true for Brazilians because they pay one of the highest prices for Apple iPhones in Brazil.

I was in and out in about 20 minutes carrying my new watch.

I had also recently purchased the iPhone 7, and like the smartphone, the Apple Watch’s packaging is losing some of its luster. The box is still nice, like the normal Apple boxes but the plastic cable holders have now been replaced with cardboard on both the phone and the watch. I have also noticed that as new generations of products are released from Apple it seems like the extras have been disappearing. For example, my iPod had a nice leather slip cover and my first iPhone had a nice cleaning cloth that I still use to clean the screen of my phone. Obviously these little extras have given way to controlling the price of each new generation of Apple products. Not disappointing but I noticed it, nonetheless.

The Apple Watch was easy to set up through my iPhone. I was wearing it about 15 minutes after I opened it. What was not clear to me, or I possibly missed it, was that it syncs APPS over time and so I initially thought my watch had very few settings that I could use to configure it. To be honest, I was initially disappointed because I thought it had no APPS or cool features to play with. The iPhone watch APP only showed my watch initially and no way to change the settings. The watch itself didn’t seem to have very many settings to play with.

Later in the evening, when I had more time to play with it, I went back into the iPhone watch APP and discovered that it had been updated and several features for my watch were now there. The same with my watch, several APPS and settings were now available to me. Apparently, it takes a while to synch the two together, but I didn’t see any indications of this on either device.

One thing that tripped me up originally is that the watch does not like you to use a simple pin, like 1234 and although it warns you about it, the screen makes it seem like you can just ignore the warning and move on. Yes, I know about security and the need to use secure passwords but I have never lost a watch nor a wallet so I feel secure in using a simple password. As a matter of fact, I added a password because it was required for the credit card payments APP.

Regardless, I thought my watch had frozen the first time it got stuck on the simple password alert because it wouldn’t ignore it and it didn’t seem to let me change it so I forced it to reset itself. On the second attempt, I realized that the security message just would not let you go on with a simple password regardless of the message on the screen. I was forced to enter a more secure password and I was able to complete the setup.

I like the watch and especially the ability to personalize the widgets on it. I hadn’t been able to do that with any watch before. My initial battery charge, over the weekend, gave me more than 24 hours of charge time. However, yesterday, I started the day with a 60% charge and by about noon, I was down to less than 20%. By 3:00 pm, I got the first warning that the battery was at 10%.

I think that what is happening is that I am left-handed and I wear my watch on my left-hand. Since I work on a computer all day, I am constantly moving my left-hand all over the place. I’ve noticed that my watch seems to be on almost every time I glance at it. I believe it is more hand activity related, rather than general activity because I went hiking this weekend and drove about 500 miles constantly looking at my watch and playing with it and the charge seemed steady throughout the day.

The difference on Monday morning is my work-related activities during the day. It looks like rather than charging my watch every other night, I will be charging it every night.

So far I am happy with my Apple Watch. It feels comfortable and it is actually smaller than the Suunto Core I was wearing before. I am enjoying the health activity monitor the most. My wife wears a Fitbit and we’ve been having a friendly competition over the “steps” we each walked each day.

Prior to the watch, she was beating me every day because I seldom took my phone with me while I was in the office, although I walked back-and-forth as part of my routine. The watch now tracks every step I take and it shows on our friendly competition results.

The watch annoys me by constantly reminding me to breathe, get up off the chair and do some walking. I guess that’s a good thing but it remains annoying nonetheless because I really don’t like to be told what do, especially by an electronic device.

I am still concerned about the battery life. One of the features I looked for in a watch previously was the ability to go “off grid” for camping trips without worrying about charging the contraption. I like my Suunto because I can change the battery with a common battery I can buy in any convenience store. Changing the battery on the Suunto does not compromise the waterproofing integrity of the watch and I do not have to pay to have a professional change it.

My Apple Watch has the liability that I cannot take it on overnight camping trips without worrying about where I am going to charge it. It is what it is and it really isn’t Apple’s fault. Until battery technology matures more it is something we need to live with.

As for reading the watch at night, bright sunlight or while doing activities like driving it easy to use and read. The APPS are a preference thing so everyone will have their own opinions about them. For me, I’m happy with the APPS it came with. I also added the Nike app to track my jogging experiences whenever I decide to start doing that again.

I hope you have enjoyed this unofficial review of the Apple Watch Series II. Depending on the feed back I receive, I may do more reviews on recent purchases. I am a gadget-driven individual and thus I have many gadgets I use each day.

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