I skipped the first Apple Watch. I missed the benefits of customizable watch faces, the importance of complications, and the appeal of swappable bands. I read how Apple Watch was slow, the screen was dim, but battery life was OK. I learned you could get Apple Watch wet even if you shouldn’t take it for a swim. And I listened to nerds worry about meeting fitness goals for the first time.
The first Apple Watch never made it onto my wrist because it couldn’t replace the watches I was already wearing.
- My mechanical watch that lasts all day
- My diving watch that goes for a swim
- My GPS watch that tracks marathons
In order to wear Apple Watch it needed to last into the night, survive a mile swim, and record a three hour marathon. Apple Watch Series 2 promises to do all three.
Day Zero: Setup
My first day with Apple Watch was September 19th, 2016.
I bought the last Series 2 for sale in my State; Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Woven Nylon Strap. Even if I had a choice, space gray with a nylon strap looks good on me.
I got the 38 mm case. It may not get the same battery life as the 42 mm case, but it fits my wrist better.
I am left handed. I wear Apple Watch on my right wrist, with the Digital Crown on the right side.
After bringing Apple Watch home, I paired it to my phone and left it to charge overnight. Configuring Apple Watch through the built-in app on the iPhone is elegant, but I wish I could configure it though the Web instead. Apple please free the watch from the phone the same way you freed the phone from the Mac.
At least I didn’t have to launch iTunes.
Day One: Run
On the second day I took my Apple Watch for a seven mile run. I left my iPhone at home.
GPS tracking began the minute I started my Outdoor Workout. No need to wait for my watch to find a satellite. Apple Watch relies on the iPhone for location services. It knows where my iPhone is, and my iPhone knows where I am with the help of GPS, WiFi, and cellular triangulation.
If I leave my iPhone at home, Apple Watch uses built-in GPS to pick up my location from where my iPhone left off. If I take my iPhone with me, Apple Watch uses my iPhone’s built-in GPS to conserve battery life. I don’t want to wait for my watch, but I don’t want to run with my iPhone; with Apple Watch Series 2 I don’t have to.
Apple Watch waits for me. My workout pauses when I do. If I am running and I stop for a traffic, Apple Watch pauses my workout until I begin again. No more feeling around for the pause button at every intersection. Auto Pause may not be as precise as pushing a button, but it makes recording my workout easier.
At the end of a workout Apple Watch shows me my total distance, total time, active/total calories, and average pace. Depending on the workout Apple Watch also records my average heart rate, mapped route, and the weather. Viewing this information on the watch is useful, but the real value comes from dissecting my splits and mapped route on the iPhone’s Activity app. I wish Apple made this information available on the web, with a better filter for comparing similar workouts.
I run with my Apple Watch almost every day.
Day Six: Swim
On the sixth day I took my Apple Watch for a mile swim. Apple Watch Series 2 is water resistant down to fifty meters. Back and forth across the pond; Apple Watch recorded every stroke.
Every time Apple Watch leaves the surface of the water the built-in GPS finds my location and updates my position. Strokes that keep Apple Watch submerged prevent the GPS from working. Apple Watch continues to estimate my position until the next time it breaks the surface of the water. In the open water, where the pool length is unknown , I let Apple Watch see the sky at the end of each turn.
Apple Watch drys off easy; even the nylon strap. At the end of a water workout Apple Watch prompts you to “turn Digital Crown to unlock and eject water.” The sound of the vibrating speaker ejects water trapped inside the speaker hole. You can lock the screen to prevent accidental taps and eject water at any time. Something I try to remember when I take Apple Watch in the shower.
I never want to take my Apple Watch off.
Day Thirteen: Marathon
On the thirteenth day I put Apple Watch to the test. Would the battery in the 38 mm model hold up recording a three hour marathon?
Apple Watch is on my wrist by 6:00 a.m. every morning. After a one hour run and being strapped to my wrist all day, Apple Watch has about 20% battery life left when I come home at 6:00 p.m. each night. In my mind it should be able to survive a three hour marathon, but I put it in Power Saving Mode disabling the built-in heart rate sensor just in case.
Three hours, six minutes, and forty-five seconds later Apple Watch helped me cross the finish line with 22% battery life to space. Apple Watch did a great job displaying my current time, distance, and average pace throughout the race.. More accurate that my old GPS watch, Apple Watch helped me maintain the pace I needed to finish strong.
After returning to my car, Apple Watch automatically synced my marathon stats back to my iPhone’s Activity app. No other watch makes it so easy to analyze my splits and trace my route, after the race. I wish Apple Watch recorded the elevation along every mile, and offered a better way to share workout data with friends. But Apple Watch is still in its infancy.
With each baby step I am becoming an Apple Watch believer.
Day Thirty: Conclusion
Apple Watch Series 2 has replaced my mechanical watch, my diving watch, and my GPS watch; it lasts all day, goes swimming, and tracks marathons. Helping me track my life is all I really want my watch to do. But Apple Watch is so much more than just a timepiece:
- Stylish customizable watch faces, and swappable straps
- Intelligent voice dictation
- Real-time notifications and apps
Apple Watch is more than a watch, it is my first wearable computer. A digital companion that goes everywhere I go; keeping track of me.