If you don’t want to exercise, don’t buy an Apple Watch.
From a pure utility stand point, there’s very little the watch can do that your phone can’t. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you think about it, everything your phone can do, a laptop can do as well. That doesn’t make either of those gadgets less important.
It’s amazing how conscious I’ve become over my sedentary lifestyle. Sarah made a joke the other day, “Do you need to take your watch for a walk?” In a lot of ways, that’s an accurate portrayal of how the watch has changed my behaviors. I now go for much longer walks and try to elevate my heart rate as much as possible. Running to my car in the parking lot. A jog around the block. They are all just the tiniest attempts at completing my three activity rings. Thus far, the watch’s gamification has worked in ways my original fitbit never really did. 10,000 steps is a very linear, and somewhat arbitrary, goal. Elevate your heart rate for 30 minutes, walk a bunch, and stand up once every hour at least twelve times a day. That’s the watch’s goal for me… and I’m trying to stick to it.
If you’re looking for another place to have apps, keep looking. The Apple Watch isn’t a compelling app platform. I would argue that it doesn’t need to be. The Apple Watch isn’t a smaller iPhone in the way that the iPad is a bigger iPhone. It’s much different. It’s a secondary device. Secondary in that it’s not essential in almost every regard. Is paying for groceries with your watch more useful than pulling out your phone? Marginally so. When I read about people struggling with the watch, it almost seems it’s because they view it as another place to play with apps. I think that is so incredibly short sighted. The watch sucks at apps, and I almost never use the app screen.
I don’t want to be misunderstood, there are novel ideas within the watch. Using it as a boarding pass for my most recent trip to California was one. Where my phone is usually right inside my pocket, I could put it in a bag and completely forget about it. That kind of liberation is oddly refreshing. I get a buzz, move my wrist up, glance, and put it back down. I’m not fumbling with getting my phone out of my pocket while carrying my luggage through the terminal. There are other little ideas that are perfectly executed and suited for the watch. World clocks and timers are two other great examples. It’s the other concepts that seem, well, stupid. Maps on a watch? Viewing Instagram? None of those ideas seem remotely appealing to me.
I think that’s why I like the Apple Watch so much. It does what I need and nothing more. It’s the most elegant activity tracker that doubles as a watch and notification screen for my phone. As a person who absolutely loathes notifications on an iPhone, that’s a huge accomplishment. I never swipe down on my phone because all of that information, everything from the weather to sports scores, is all on my wrist.
Time will only tell if these newly found habits stick, but I’m optimistic they will. It’s been fun and enlightening having something keep me a little more honest about how lazy I am. Everything else has been a bonus.