How the Watch has become a solver of minor inconveniences. By Alvin Soon

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

How the Watch has become a solver of minor inconveniences.

My Reading Room

Consider this a three-year review. I’ve been there from the Apple Watch since it was first unveiled, from attending the keynote in Cupertino to wearing every iteration of the Watch’s three generations.

In that time, I’ve completely changed my mind about the Watch. In 2015, I dismissed the Watch, but today, it’s a device that I’m loath to part with. What’s changed?

Speed and usability, for one thing. The first Watch was a public beta more than anything, a curio for adventurous early adopters. It was too sluggish for everyday use, and launching apps was an exercise in patience. watchOS versions 1 and 2 were young, undefined, and still trying to find themselves.

The foundations, however, were there for Apple to build on. It was a good size and shape, and the craftsmanship was impressive for a mass manufactured product. The strap change system was genius.

The market seemed to like it. By the end of the first Watch’s run, Apple dominated more than half of the global smartwatch market, and had become the number two watch brand in the world when it came to sales — leapfrogging established names like Omega and Patek Philippe.

But for skeptics like me, the Watch Series 2 with watchOS 3 was the first Watch I could comfortably recommend. Arriving a year and a half after the original, the new dualcore SP2 system-on-chip was finally responsive, and could confidently run apps without choking. Series 2 was when the light dawned on me and I started converting to my smartwatch religion.

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This year’s Series 3 has all but cemented the Watch’s place in my life. The Watch is fast enough to do everything I wish, and I’ve grown used to it as a solver of minor inconveniences.

For one, I love the assurance and quietude of taptic notifications. It’s a relief to know that missed phone calls and messages are a relic of the past, even if my iPhone is tucked away in a corner of my bag. It’s also a joy to have the iPhone on silent and still know when my notifications come in. Granted, it can be a chore when my chatterbox friends decide to open a gossip floodgate, but I still prefer gentle taps on the wrist to a constantly pinging phone.

The Watch has also become a health advisor, of sorts. I’ve come to enjoy closing my activity rings for the day — it appeals to the slight OCD in me. I’ve also entrusted the Watch to remind me to stand every hour — FYI, sitting too long has been considered the new smoking. watchOS 4 is smarter at notifying me when to move more (before dinner) and what to do (a brisk six-minute walk) to help me get my rings in before the day.

And of course, I’ve enabled the new feature that notifies you if you’re having abnormally high heart rates when sedentary. I may not have been positive about the Watch’s slow start, but I’ve always been bullish about its potential for health monitoring.

It’s for these reasons that I’ve changed my mind about the Apple Watch, and have come to enjoy wearing it everyday instead of scratching my head over its raison d’être. If I had to give it up, I’d seriously miss the ways it reduces everyday friction in my life.

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