Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Experience with Apple Watch


I am an early adopter, even more so when technology can help me with some of my MS related challenges.

On April 25, soon after the watches showed up in Apple stores, I tried one out. With the Apple Watch mounted on my relatively useless left hand I could operate the controls with my slightly less useless right hand. I ordered my watch online later that evening. Apple indicated that I should expect delivery in June.

The watch arrived at my house, via UPS, on June 3rd. I would have 14 days to evaluate the watch before the window for returns expired. I won’t need 14 days.

I Told Myself It Was about Safety


My official, number one reason for ordering the Apple Watch was safety. As I move around my house during the day, especially when I use my Sure Hands lift system to transfer from wheelchair to toilet, I need to be certain I can obtain emergency help if my phone is out of reach. I had researched several home emergency services, which typically required a pendant around my neck or some similar, dedicated device. I didn’t like the idea of a wearable device that I might only use once in a blue moon.

The Apple Watch does the job, although I had to create a work-around. When I said “Hey Siri, call 911,” I got a message stating that this feature is only supported on the iPhone, not on the watch. I called my local police department and asked if there was a ten digit phone number I could dial that would get me into the local 911 system. There is, and I programmed that as one of my favorites. I can call that number by saying, “Hey Siri, call emergency.” The only drawback is that the people who answer the phone won’t get 911 location data on my call. I’ll need to tell them my address. I decided that is something I could live with, but I emailed Apple asking them “what the hell?”

Note: Apple responded to my request in a positive way. Read about that here.

The Watch Provides More Than Emergency Communication


As my disease progresses, I find it increasingly difficult to operate my iPhone 6+. It takes significant effort to get the phone out of my wheelchair pouch, open it up, and manipulate it. With the Apple Watch, I twist my left wrist, and the watch turns on. The home screen gives me time, date, day of the week, outside temperature, battery charge, sunset, and alarm features, all at a single glance without my right hand becoming involved. I can invoke Siri to place a phone call or a text. I can read notifications from Messenger, Email, or other programs I specify. All of this with the twist of a wrist.

By using my right hand to push on the screen or on one of two buttons, I can do so much more, including answering phone calls. With a swipe I can access things like my heart rate, ESPN, music player controls, mapping program, and more. By pressing the home button I have access to apps such as weather, calendar, music, email, photos, etc. There are also a ton of activity monitoring features, none of which I care about other than heart rate.

Can I Justify the $400 Expense?

I’m in a unique position. I have difficulty operating an iPhone, but I can operate an Apple Watch. Because I live in this functional middle ground, the watch is an ideal companion to my iPhone. For healthy people, it’s more difficult to justify an Apple Watch unless you take advantage of the activity features. I’m glad Apple came out with this product, because it has made my daily life easier and made my day-to-day existence safer. And yes, it has temporarily satisfied my hunger for new technology, at least until the next great gizmo comes out.

If you’re wondering whether an Apple Watch is for you, go to an Apple Store and take it for a test drive. If you have questions about this device, or you’re an expert and have advice for me, write me at email@EnjoyingTheRide.com.

This is Mitch, signing out at 4:31 PM on Tuesday, June 9, 64°, 82% battery.

10 comments:

  1. Are you now dictating your blog to your Apple Watch? I can't justify the cost, but I am so so jealous.

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    1. No, LOL. The watch is good, but not that good.

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  2. Useful innovation that is not just cool! I love it. So glad it makes life a bit more doable.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Mrs. Reed

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  3. I'll bet the guru's at Apple never though about the disabled community and the inherent usefulness of the watch for us. Great explanation of why it works for you, so important to feel safe and have some sense of control as we lose abilities.

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    1. Apple is usually good about these things. The iPhones and iPads have more accessibility features than their competitors. But I think they dropped the ball on the Apple watch 911 issue

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  4. I'm dying to know what Apple has to say about this; let us know when you hear from them, will you? Meanwhile--great information--I had been wondering about this. Thanks!

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  5. Hey Mitch, the watch isn't water resistant, is it? Just wondering because I'm still able to drag my sorry ass into a shower, although the feat is becoming more death-defying with every passing hour. Like you, I'm resistant to one of those pendant things, but an iWatch that I could wear in the shower might be just the ticket. Just got the iPhone 6 last week, what a huge improvement over my old 4s. Can't really move my right wrist on my own, so I'd have to use my left hand to move the wrist and activate the watch, I guess. Anyway, just thinking out loud here on your blog… Also would love to know if Apple gets back to you…

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    1. Marc, the watch is officially water resistant. You can cook, wash your hands, or go out in the rain according to the Apple website. However, when I spoke to an Apple representative he said he is a swimmer, and he doesn't take his watch off when he goes swimming. So I think the website is overly conservative about the watch's water resistance. I still haven't heard back from Apple regarding the 911 issue.

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