Back to the Apple Watch for a Week

The Apple Watch sometimes creates more noise and rarely clarifies the signal.

As I mentioned in my iPad Productivity Report, I attended a conference for a couple days recently, and I think I finally figured out the Apple Watch as part of that conference. But first, some much needed context:

I have not worn my Apple Watch since some time in early November. However, a few of my coworkers were talking about how much they love their watches, and it spurred me to pull it back out and give it a go for a week. It took most of the first day updating it, but then we were off to the races.

Two immediate things I noticed:

  1. Holy shit, you really don’t miss any notifications with this watch.
  2. Holy shit, I get a lot of notifications throughout the day.

As the week went on I felt like I just didn’t get the appeal of the Apple Watch over my many other watches — for one it doesn’t look nearly as good, but mostly it wasn’t doing anything for me. And then I went to the conference I mentioned above, and during that conference I remembered just why I love the Apple Watch.

Now, take a breath for a moment, because as I type this I am not wearing my Apple Watch.

Ok, so I loved the exact thing which drives me crazy on a day to day basis: I wasn’t missing notifications. Which is really nifty for times when you are out of your routine of the day. For me, my iPhone is always on my desk and thus I never miss anything and can easily shun my iPhone if I need focus. In addition, I work on an iPad so many of the same notifications I get on my iPhone come through on my iPad as I work — I just have no reason to miss things in a normal day. So in my case, the Apple Watch amplifies the noise already coming at me, without helping with clarify signal at all.

In other words: it’s mostly fucking annoying during a normal day, like someone constantly nagging you about something you are already well aware of.

However, when I am out of my routine — driving, at a conference, what have you — the Apple Watch amplifies the Signal so that it can cut through all the Noise. And that’s very valuable, which is the same thing that bothers me at my desk.

Thus the Apple Watch has one primary purpose for me: bugging me about stuff I’ve told it/iPhone I want to be bugged about. Which is handy if you are going to be in a situation where your attention is being pulled in ways it is not normally pulled.

This is the first time I really felt glad to have the Apple Watch on my wrist. Even still, I won’t be switching back to it, and I even doubt I will be using it when I travel or attend conferences. The simple reason is joy. I don’t derive joy from the Apple Watch — there’s certainly utility, but there’s a lack of joy. Whereas, when I look at one of my traditional watches on my wrist, I get joy from looking at them. Perhaps a memory of my grandfather if I wear his watch, or just the joy of a finally crafted device, with well designed faces and complications, right there.

I hold no ill will towards the Apple Watch, but by the same token I now know exactly the times when I might want it — and those times are few and far between.

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