Who could have seen this coming? Remember the iPhone’s launch in 2007? Critics howled that iPhone didn’t have 3G, didn’t have a hardware keyboard, the battery wouldn’t power that large screen for long, blah, blah, blah.
Buyers gonna buy, haters gonna hate. Every year since then iPhones have improved measurably and now amount to the power of a MacBook that fits in your pocket. Oh, and it’s a phone. What about Apple Watch? Those same critics lambasted Watch for being too little too late, under powered and with no value proposition (something many customers don’t care much about, apparently). Watch was doomed. Yet, 15-million or so have been sold, and Watch revenue is close to the industry leader, Rolex. What does that say?
Apple Watch Series 2 became an early holiday gift and replaced the Watch Series 0 which performed admirably once it married watchOS 3.0. To be fair, Watch takes a bit more effort to personalize and customize than iPhone because there are more elements of consideration despite the diminutive size.
Here’s what I do to setup and make Watch a functional powerhouse that leaves most of my other watches in the collection box.
It’s A Phone – Yes, Watch doubles up as the iPhone’s wrist-bound sidekick, where you can make calls and receive calls. Just make sure the speaker is turned up. When people ask why you’re talking into your wrist, tell them your meds are on backorder.
Apps Suck – Press the Crown button and all the app icons appear. Since iPhone apps with Watch apps automatically install those Watch apps you’ll end up with plenty of icons. Prune, prune, prune. Open the Watch app and delete those that are stupid. Goodbye, Fantastical. No, no, no Apple Store. Adios BBC and CNN News. Instagram? Meh. Facebook? Bah. Twitter? Humbug. Watch gets better when you get disciplined and don’t clutter it up with crapola apps, of which there are many.
Good Apps – Your mileage may vary, but here are the non-Apple apps that work best for me. Cardiogram, Countdowns, Dark Sky, Dictionary, Due, HeartWatch, iTranslate, Just Press Record, OfficeTime, PCalc, Pedometer, Spark, Storm Shield, theScore (or, ESPN), Things, Wunderground. Getting the right apps requires experimentation. Take the time. It’s worth it. And, focus on apps that have Complications.
Complications – All the apps in my list have Complications which fit into specific slots in various Watch faces. Again, trial and error is your friend, but I figured out that Complications are the best thing going in Watch. I set up five Watch faces but the first three are the Modular faces because they can hold five Complications each. Each Modular face gets a different color. Switching from one face to another is a tap and swipe from the side of the Watch’s screen. Boom. More Complications. My 4th face is Mickey Mouse and the last one I use is the Nike+ Digital face with exercise tracking.
The Dock – Other than Complications, the best thing Apple Watch Series 0 had going for it was Glances, which are replaced by The Dock, but it doesn’t work as well as Glances did, although much faster. Glances required a swipe up, whereas Dock requires a tap, then a touch to get to an app that resides in memory. It’s fast, so not much of an issue, but it’s an extra step. Here’s what I use in Dock, and in order: PCalc, Phone, Messages, Pedometer, Heart Rate, Alarms, Stopwatch, Timer, and Underground. Apple lets you use 10 apps in the Dock, but I keep one open for experimentation.
Notifications – This is one of Watch’s strong points, but as with apps and Complications, it requires some trial and error. Most iPhone apps with a Watch app install Notifications to match. That’s not good. Prune the apps, and prune the Notifications, otherwise Watch will buzz incessantly. Sorry. There’s no way around it. Prune. One by one, check each app to see what Notifications you want and need. Be disciplined, my friend. And stay thirsty.
In the end, what you get is a Watch that works for you and your needs, with an easy way to bounce from Watch face to Watch face to get access to different Complications, and with a bit of app and Notification pruning, it won’t bug you to do death.