Earlier this week, I did the unthinkable: I dropped a tech product I use every day and shattered the screen. Fortunately, the product in question was my Apple Watch and not my iPhone or computer.
I have often wondered if having an Apple Watch is really worth the investment for me. For one thing, they’re unattractive; they are definitely tech devices rather than fashion accessories and dressing one up is akin to putting lipstick on a pig. This is why I find myself looking longingly at mechanical watches every few months—sometimes, I just want something pretty to wear on my wrist.
I’ve been known to skip wearing my Apple Watch from time to time, and there was a month at the beginning of the year when I had an eczema flair on my wrist and the only thing I could do to clear it was to go watch-free.1 I’m still rocking my Series 3 from nearly two years ago and I haven’t felt the impulse to upgrade to the latest and greatest, which is not my typical tech M.O.
The only apps I launch on my watch are the timer and Pedometer++. I almost always start a timer using Siri instead of manually finding the app, and I only enter Pedometer++ if I want a mid-walk step count update.2 Because I don’t fiddle with my watch throughout the day to launch apps, I didn’t think I would miss having it on my wrist. I’ve been surprised to learn, however, that I apparently glance at and interact with my Apple Watch far more frequently than I realized.
As you might expect, I use it as a readily-accessible way to check the time, day of the week, and date. Yes, I have to check the date multiple times a day. No, I don’t anticipate that I will ever be better at remembering. In the days before smart watches, I always favored timepieces with date dials on them and now, I always have a date-related complication on my screen.
More than that, though, I most often use my watch as a media playback controller. I listen to around 20 hours of podcasts and audiobooks every week as I play games, do chores, take walks, and ride the bus around the city. When I’m doing things around the apartment, I’ll often just carry my phone with me and listen over the speakers rather than putting in AirPods.3 It’s so easy to pause playback and fast forward or rewind from the watch, and adjusting the volume to match the task at hand using the crown of the watch is so convenient.
I’ve always been strict about notifications on my phone and allow very few apps to send them to me. Even the usual notification suspects like Mail, Slack, and various social media platforms aren’t allowed to disturb me under any circumstances. Since I keep the notification noise so low, I love receiving them on my Apple Watch. This way, I know right away when my husband texts me to let me know he’s on his way home or if my mom is trying to get in touch.
I also miss being able to use the Siri watch face to glance and see what time each evening’s sunset will occur and whether or not my mom’s favorite sports team, the Colorado Rockies, are playing (and get quick score updates when they are).
None of my uses for the Apple Watch are revolutionary, but they do make my life easier in small ways. I’m glad I bought AppleCare+ and will have a replacement watch on my wrist in the next few days.4
Because I know people will bring it up: I clean my watch every night. This isn’t a hygiene issue, it’s an autoimmune issue. ↩
There are technical reasons why step counts aren’t updated in real time. I tried to find a blog post where David Smith, the developer of Pedometer++, talks about the limitations but I think he may have done so on his podcast instead. ↩
I don’t listen to things using my watch’s speakers because I can keep my phone at a consistant distance from my head and the watch’s speakers aren’t designed for good audio quality. ↩
You’ll notice that I don’t mention fitness tracking here, but that’s a blog post for another day. ↩