• My Apple Watch try-on experience

    I had my appointment to try on the Apple Watch yesterday, and was accompanied by the developer of Tappd That, Greg Fiumara.

    We were let in just as the store opened. The Apple employees were their usual friendly selves.

    After checking-in at the door, I was sent to a show table where all the watches were displayed under glass. My initial thoughts were that the sport model is too toy-like in appearance for my tastes. This does not mean others wouldn’t or shouldn’t like it, but as someone who wears a stainless steel, sapphire face, link-band watch every day, it was not going to work for me.

    I was only there for a few seconds before I was taken to the second table where the actual try on experience occurred. The employee had the watches I had favorited in the Apple Store app on his screen and he pulled out the first two.

    The first one I tried was the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport band. It was incredibly light. I couldn’t feel it at all. I also couldn’t feel the haptic feedback. I thought maybe it was because the band was too loose, so I tightened it all the way. Still couldn’t feel it. I didn’t spend much time with it as I’d already decided that it wasn’t for me.

    Next, I tried on the 42mm Stainless Steel with Milanese Loop. This is the watch that I had pre-ordered. It also felt light, but a bit more weighty than the sport. The band is comfortable and holds it’s connection well. The employee emphasized that it has a tiny magnet holding it together, but it certainly felt strong enough. Strong enough that he initially had trouble separating it from the band. I was able to feel the haptic tap with this model, but it is incredibly light. Way lighter than a vibrating phone in my pocket. It certainly will not be obvious to anyone else when you get a notification. I’m almost worried I won’t be able to feel it.

    Finally, I tried the 42mm Stainless Steel Case Case with Link Bracelet. This was the weightiest of all, and the closest in style to what I currently wear. It is also my favorite of all the ones I tried on, but the second favorite in the store. The Space Black version of the same watch is the best looking, but they didn’t have it available in the store to try on. If money was no object and it didn’t have a ship date in July, I would likely change my order.

    My appointment was over quite quickly as I didn’t really have any questions, I knew exactly what I wanted to see, and the watches you try on do not have functioning software. We then spent some time playing with the demo watches that are bolted to the tables that do have the software running. Initially, it is a little weird trying to figure out which buttons you push and when, but I think this will disappear after a few hours of regular use. I was unable to pair my phone with the watch to test out some third party apps because a lot of the features were disabled.

    Observations

    • I had read that the employees were having a hard time finding the right place to put their phone to unlock the hidden drawer. My guy had the same issue.
    • I heard multiple employees stumbling over the verbage, e.g. “scroll wheel” instead of “digital crown”, and correct themselves.
    • The employees seemed incredibly excited about the watch for themselves. I honestly couldn’t tell if they were serious or just being a salesman.
    • The colors in person are much lighter than on the website. I was leaning towards the regular aluminum but in real life it is too light. The space gray aluminum which looked too black on the website is much better in person.
    • Even the heaviest Apple Watch is lighter than my current watch.
    • Although all the appointments for the day were taken, walk-ins were able to be seen either due to noshows or people like myself who didn’t need all 15 minutes.
    • The employee would initially put each watch on my wrist for me, then say I could adjust it as I wanted. That was weird. I don’t know if this is to prevent accidental droppages, to avoid people having trouble getting them on, or to make you feel like you’re being taken care of like at a high end store, but I don’t remember ever shopping for watches at a high end store and having the clerk put them on. Usually, they just hand them to you with what almost seems deliberate nonchalance.
    • If you already wear an “adult businessman’s watch”, I don’t think you’ll be able to tolerate the Sport model.
    • The “edition” verbage led to at least two encounters of an employee showing a customer an Edition model when they wanted a Sport.
    • The functional watches have certain lock-outs, so I wasn’t able to pair my phone and try out some of the third party apps.
    • The sport model is “Space Grey” while the regular model is “Space Black”.
    • The developer with me and the Apple employee, along with myself, were all wearing regular, link-band chronograph watches.

    Metrics

    Finally, I know that as Apple people we are not supposed to be able the numbers, but here is how my current watch compares to what I ordered:

      Citizen Apple
    Shape round square
    Height 43mm 42mm
    Width 43mm 36mm
    Depth 11mm 10.5 mm
    Mass 141 grams 83 grams
    Volume 16 ml 16 ml
    Case stainless steel stainless steel
    Crystal sapphire sapphire
    WR depth 660 feet 3 feet

    Final thoughts

    Before seeing them, I thought the Sport model would be a reasonable purchase for someone more on the nerdy side, who might get some benefit out of it and has the money to waste, but after seeing it in person, the relatively negative reviews, and no clear compelling use-case for normals, I don’t think I will be recommending this to anyone if they ask.

    At the same time, as an hardcore nerd, who already has a killer use case planned, wears a watch daily, and has more money than sense, I’m looking forward to getting it.

    I’m also looking forward to trying Tappd That on my watch at my local dive bar.

  • Prepping for the Apple Watch

    My friend Greg is working hard to get his Untappd client, Tappd That, ready for the Apple Watch launch. I’m looking forward to using it and seeing if I get yelled at less for logging my beers that way than when I take out my phone to do it at the bar.

  • Dictating on Mac from iPhone

    I think that dictating on the iPhone is amazing. For example, this was dictated in a crowded bar at 9 PM on Friday evening1. It was really loud in here with the band and all:

    For some reason, dictating to the Mac in a quiet office room doesn’t work well at all. So if I ever have something I do want to dictate, I will do so on the iPhone and then transfer it.

    At the request of others, here is a video of how I do so using the apps Drafts and Command–C.

    1. Yes. I’m a nerd. I go to a bar to write blog posts.

  • My Apple Watch questions

    The second Apple Watch event is today. I’m personally excited about the watch because I am a fanboy, I am a stock holder, and I enjoyed the wrist notifications when using the Pebble, but hated everything else about it. I will be getting one, but I have a few outstanding questions.

    How waterproof/resistant is it?

    One of the promises of so-called smart watches if their ability to track activity, including exercise. Most of my sports are done on the water: sailing and stand up paddleboarding. I don’t plan on swimming or diving with it, but I’m not going wear a watch that will die the first time I fall overboard.

    What is the battery life?

    This is one of the big questions everyone has. Seems to be “a day” use will be gotten from each charge with 5 hours of active use. That is a bit annoying, but current science and physics likely limits any more than that. I think a better question is…

    How fast does it recharge?

    Since the battery is small due to size constraints, perhaps it will be able to charge rapidly, i.e. the reverse of how slow the iPad charges? This would allow one to wear the watch 24 hours a day except for a short time (20 minutes?) when showering. The last rumors I heard say 2 hours. That’ll be disappointing if so, because any sleep monitoring functions or alarm functions will be useless.

    Can you use any watch band on any watch?

    It was implied from the unveiling that the bands were quickly and easily interchangable, leading many to assume you could buy a low end watch and a higher end band, but on Apple’s site, only certain watches appear to be available for certain levels of watches. Some have speculated that only certain bands will be available for certain watches and that you will not be able to buy the higher level bands separately. Does this mean one band cannot work on a different level watch? That seems ridiculous as you would have to have different mechanisms, increasing complexity. I’d expect this behaviour from any other company, but not Apple. Will you just not be able to buy certain bands with certain watches right from the start, but you can always buy an additional band at any level? This seems the most likely to me. Someone suggested that maybe you’d have to show your watch that you were buying the band for, in order to prove you are able to buy that level of watch. This seems ridiculous to me. Way too much manual effort and elitism involved.

    Price

    This is going to be a first generation device and I assume a better one that I will want more will come out every year, so it is unlikely that I will spend much more than the minimum entry price. At this time, this means that although I will hate giving up on a sapphire face, I will get the Sport with the blue band. If money was no object, I would choose the steel with Milanese band, and then get a blue sport band for sailing (if it is more waterproof than reported). I do not think it is realistic that a Steel band with Milanese loop and extra blue sport band will be available for less than $700, so I will be out of luck.

    I might be willing to go double the price of the entry level to get my primary choice, so ultimately the price question will have a lot to do with my choice. I would be willing to pay $150 more for a sapphire face, so if the Steel is $500, I might go for that. I’d be willing to pay $200 more for the Milanese loop, so if that is all it costs and you can buy it separately, I would get the Sport and blue the Milanese loop additionally for a total of $550.

    Update: Sport with blue band plus Milanese loop bought as an accessory: $550. =)

  • 3.9.2015 event predictions

    • Wrong: Will be only about the Apple WatchHBO NowResearch Kit
    • Will spend a lot of time with devs showing their apps1
    • Wrong: Will not announce any other major or minor hardware productsApple TVNew Macbook/Air
    • Correct: Will give firm launch dates in the US
    • Correct: Will give firm pricing information on all models
    • Correct: Will not give firm waterproof information
    • Wrong: Will not give firm battery data informationHere
    • Wrong: Will not give firm information about band/watch combination options or if able to separately buy different level bandsHere.
    1. I’ll define “a lot” as three or more developers on stage.

  • Using labels for alarms with Siri

    When you create an alarm in iOS1, it is given the default label Alarm. I find it useful to change this for two reasons. First, it reminds me why I set the alarm in the first place. This may not be confusing if the alarm is waking me up in the morning, but I might also set multiple alarms during the day for different tasks. These levels remind me what I need to do next:

    • push wash into dryer
    • check on sump pump progress
    • verify boy cleaned his room

    This is easily done with Siri: Set an alarm for 54 minutes labeled 'put wash in the dryer'.

    .

    The other benefit of labeling alarms is that you can edit them by their label using Siri: Change the alarm labeled 'wake up call' to 530am.

    1. iOS 8 as if this post.

  • What is our purpose?

    With insurance companies determining what treatments are allowed, patients self-diagnosing on Google, and non-practicing surgeons being the most popular source of professional medical advice, I think the only reason physicians still exist is so there is someone to sue when it all falls apart.

    …and to prescribe “medical” marijuana in states that don’t have the balls to legalized it completely.

  • Dealing with the devil

    Boy (aged 8): Do you like meat better than rice?
    Me: Yes.
    Boy: I’ll trade you my meat for your rice?
    Me: Deal.

    I’m not sure he’s mine, but I’m going to keep him anyway.

  • I do not miss voice mail

    From the New Tech City podcast:

    Voicemail is a default archive of your life. You would miss it if it were gone

    Voice mail is terrible. It’s just another form of spam. I hate it. I also hate phone calls. I’d decline to answer a phone call from someone (everyone) I didn’t want to talk to, and then I’d immediately have another message from them that I needed to deal with.

    You said “you would miss [voice mail] if it were gone”. Wrong. Absolutely wrong. And I know.

    A few years ago I was at my carrier’s store dealing with something and when they finished they asked if there was anything else they could help me with. Without really thinking, I said “yes, get rid of my voice mail account”. She looked shocked, and perhaps a bit concerned about my sanity. She didn’t know if it was possible to do but got on the phone with corporate. I myself didn’t think it was going to be possible, either because of a technical issue, or just a lack of knowledge from the low level tech support I’m use to getting, but only a few minutes I was told I no longer had a voice mail account.

    It’s been amazing. If you call me, my phone will just ring and ring like an old land line. If I decline your call, you get cut off. It is one less inbox I have to check. One less “to do” list cluttering up my already too cluttered life. My life is so much more peaceful.

    If only I could get rid of my USPS address.

  • Shopping cycle

    1. Search internet for reviews of certain product I need.
    2. Based on reviews and my specific need, determine product I want.
    3. Check if product is on Amazon.
    4. If so, victory. Fin.
    5. If not, go to company’s website.
    6. Struggle through a horribly designed check out process, declining to create an account and sign up for their newsletter.
    7. Two weeks later, use PaperKarma to unsubscribe from their snail mail magazine.
    8. Hate myself for ordering something not from Amazon.