Living with the Apple Watch

The Watch In Detail

My buddy Seth thought it would be valuable to extend my series on the watch, with a more critical eye.  Essentially, what is good, what is bad, and what sucks.

I won’t try to convince you to  buy the Apple Watch; nothing it offers is so fantastic as to necessarily justify the price.  That said, if I lost mine I’d buy another the next day.

Clock Faces

The watch face is beautiful, with the clarity you’d expect from a Retina display.  The information you want can be customized as can colors, etc.

On the other hand,  independent programmers cannot (yet?) write custom clock faces.


Apple watch apps should, ideally, be extensions of existing apps, rather than stand alone.  A prime example of this is the weather app: want to know the temperature? Glance.  Want to know more details? Lightly tap to get the day’s forecast. Want all the details? A harder press will open the app on your iPhone.

I’ve had a hard time finding third-party apps that I care about.  Most don’t give enough information or they force you too quickly to open your phone,

On the other hand, the built-in apps work beautifully, and having Sound-Hound that, uh,  handy, is actually surprisingly useful.

Killer App?

While I can’t identify a universally agreed upon killer-app, I can tell you that the clock face I use has my next appointment displayed.  Touch it and I get the entire day, and then more touches let me see the month, etc.

This is phenomenally useful.

I also love that I can see what an alarm is for, and silence it from my wrist.

Surprisingly, the ability to answer phone calls and then hand off to the phone once you dig it out of your pocket, is terrific as well.


Siri is better and more convenient than ever.  Turn your wrist and say “Hey Siri” then ask your question.  Often you’ll get the answer, but annoyingly much of the time the answer is on your phone (which kind of defeats the purpose).

There is handoff to make that transition easier, but you still have to dig your phone out of your pocket.


Speaking of which, Handoff is much improved. To handoff from the watch to your phone is a snap.  Whatever app you are in appears as a small icon on the lock screen.  Flip that up and now you are on your phone

Looking at the time

Apple has done an almost magical job of allowing you to look at the watch and have the screen spring to life.. Unless you are lying down.  That said you can always touch the crown to bring up the face if all else fails.

There is no need to flick your wrist, just turn it to see the time and hey! Presto! It is there as it should be.

Flip Up, Down and Sideways

Notifications are easily found by pulling down from the top.  Apps are found by pulling up from the bottom.  Details by sliding right or left.  It takes some getting used to but it works well

If you are on the app screen (which also works surprisingly well) you can overcome the fat-finger problem by approximately centering the app you want and then turning the crown, which opens the app


Coming soon… Apple Watch vs. Pebble


About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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